Blanchard Springs Caverns
AR Highway 14
Phone: (870) 757-2211 (Visitor Center)
Reservations: 1 (877) 444-6777 www.recreation.gov
Closest Towns: Calico Rock, Fifty-Six, Melbourne, Mountain View
Directions: From Mtn View, head North on Hwy 5/Hwy 14 for approx. 5.4 miles, then Turn Left/West onto Hwy 14. Travel West approx. 6.6 miles on Hwy 14 to the entrance sign on your right. Turn Right and follow the signs to the different facilities.
About Blanchard Springs Caverns
Blanchard Springs Caverns, located in Stone County near Mountain View, Arkansas, is often described as one the most beautiful caves in the United Staes. Owned and operated by the National Forest, this show cave has been carefully developed to help keep the caverns as close to natural conditions as possible. Extra care has also been given to help protect the cave's fragile environment.
This cave system consists of three levels, with portions of each level open to the public for guided tours. Visitors to Blanchard Springs Caverns will get to see numerous, well-preserved formations, such as stalactites, stalagmites, columns, flowstones, soda straws, cave coral and many others. Many animals also live within the caverns, including bats and cave salamanders, and you may get to see some of them on one of the tours.
Three tours are available to view the caves...
The Dripstone Tour is the easiest and most accessible of the three tours offered at Blanchard Springs Caverns, and is the most popular tour as well. This tours explores the upper most level of the caverns, and also has the most formations of any of the other sections of the cave. The tour is called Dripstone because the cave formations are formed by minerals deposited in the dripping water, and the numerous formations visible from the trail.
Highlights of the tour include the Cathedral Room, the Coral Room, a 70-foot column, 55-foot draperies, and a natural bridge. The Cathedral Room is long enough to hold three football fields, and still have space left over! Many snow-white formations of pure calcite, or calcium carbonate, decorate the Coral Room.
The length of this tour is approx. 4/10 of a mile, and takes about an hour to complete. This trail is accessible to wheelchairs and strollers, with assistance. There are only 50 stair steps along the trail, but for those that cannot manage or negotiate them, alternate trails are available, bypassing some of the formations. Temperature along the tour in this portion of the cave remains a constant 58 degrees year-round, with nearly 100% humidity, so a light jacket or sweater may be more comfortable. The tour is an easy walk with two seating areas located along the trail for those that need to rest. This tour is open to all ages, and is a great educational opportunity for the kids.
The Discovery Trail descends 366 feet into the earth, and is 1.2 miles long. The tour explores portions of the lower level of the caverns, is a bit more complex than the Dropstone Tour, and takes approx. 1 ½ hours to complete. There are nearly 700 steps along this route, and is NOT recommended for small children or those that have walking or health problems.
This portion of the cave was not discovered until 1963 by local cavers, and is the largest of the three sections. Along this tour, you will follow the routes of the early explorers, see the natural entrance where they descended from on ropes and homemade harness, and pass by their campsites from early expeditions. This tour does not have the number of formations as the upper levels, but does explore the underground stream running through the cave, which helps to create the caves, and eventually exits the caverns as Blanchard springs.
Wild Cave Tour
The final of the three tours offered at Blanchard Springs Caverns is the Wild Cave Tour. This tour explores undeveloped sections of the middle level. It lasts approx. 3-4 hours. In order to participate on this tour, visitors will need to be in good physical condition, wear sturdy boots, and be prepared to get dirty. You will be climbing very steep slopes, crawling on your hands and knees, pass underneath low ceilings, and travel through red clay. The tour ends at a formation called the Titans, a group of tall, missle-shaped columns.
Participants must wear sturdy boots with ankle support and aggressive tread, and bring street shoes for after the tour. Provided are coveralls, helmets, lights, gloves and kneepads. Participants will also receive a souvenir t-shirt.
The Wild Cave Tour is available by reservation only. Each tour is limited to a minimum of 3 people, and a maximum of 12 people. Participants must be at least 10 years old, and a responsible adult must accompany children 10 to 12 years old.
While you are visiting, be sure to check out the rest of the Blanchard Springs Recreation Area, offering swimming, camping, hiking and so much more.
Parks & Nature
Gear & Supplies
Towns & Cities