Water comes to mind for most people thinking about cooling off on a hot summer day. But my mind usually turns to caves. If you’re looking for a little respite from the heat, as well as a mini getaway, try taking a trip to one of Arkansas’s show caves.
In the underground, you’ll find a cool environment. Inside temperatures vary from cave to cave, but usually range in the 50s to 60s. All of the Arkansas tour caves are “living.” This means the formations, which result when minerals are deposited by dripping water, are still changing. The caves are wet and frequently muddy.
These limestone caves contain subterranean lakes and streams, mazes, crystals, fossils, blind trout and salamanders, stalagmites, stalactites, flowstone, helictite, cave bacon and more. While spotlighting the beauty of nature, some give lessons in geology and others provide lessons in history or legends and ghost tales.
Arkansas show caves offer guided, lighted walking tours, some tours more strenuous than others. A few also offer wild caving for the more adventurous souls.
Check out a cave near you:
Blanchard Springs Caverns
Operated by the U.S. Forest Service – offers two guided tours on trails that lead visitors through massive caverns filled with ever-changing formations. Also offering Wild Cave tour for the physically fit. Located in Mountain View.
Bull Shoals Caverns
Offers 45-50 minute tours through magnificent caverns formed 350 million years ago. Located in Bull Shoals.
The site of the Ozarks’ largest underground lake, offers a one-hour guided tour through subterranean rooms and across an underground bridge; gemstone panning. Located on Arkansas Highway 21 N., Berryville.
Features guided tours of two spectacular caverns, Mystic and Crystal Dome. 28 foot “pipe organ” Located 8 miles south of Harrison in Marble Falls.
Radio headphones guide you through the cave as you pass amazing formations of stalactites and stalagmites. Easy access ramps take you to this Arkansas cave, and a non-strenuous trail leads you through it. Located six miles east of Eureka Springs, Arkansas, and is open daily all year.
Old Spanish Treasure Cave
Legends of hidden treasure fill this cavern along with beautiful formations. Take a guided tour of this well-lit cavern. Gift shop and gem stone panning also available. 14290 N. Hwy 59, Sulphur Springs, AR, 479-787-6508.
Located on a secluded site used by the Indians hundreds of years before the first European settlers came to the area. Every effort has been made to leave the caverns and ground in their natural state. Offers 40-minute tour; gemstone panning. Located in War Eagle near Rogers on Beaver Lake.