To truly grasp the beauty of the Blanchard Springs Caverns you have to see them in person. With four different trails to choose from and all tours led by knowledgeable Forest Service guides it is truly a site to behold. The guides will take you through passages carved by water, an underground river and the world’s largest flowstone. If you are visiting in the summer it is a great way to get out of the heat, the temperature stays at a comfortable 58F all year round. Often called a “living cave” because of it changing and growing all the time, visit annually and you will see the differences.
The Dripstone Trail
The Dripstone trail is open year round and the tour runs roughly an hour and covers almost half a mile, be warned though it is very humid in the caves. There are plenty calcite formation in the limestone caves from the massive flowstones and stalagmites to the hollow soda straw formations. You will also catch sight of a salamander or two and plenty of crickets. The upper level of the cave system has two rooms for you to see. First is the cathedral room, the room is HUGE! It has enough room for 3 football fields and then some. The other room, the coral room is filled with pure white calcite formations that took thousands of years to form. Here is a video tour of the cathedral room to whet your appetite.
The Discovery Trail
The Discovery Trail is another tour that you can check out. This one is a little longer and there are over 700 stairs on this tour so it’s not for the faint of heart. The Discovery Trail covers the lower portion of the caverns and you’ll take the same route as the early cave explorers did, you can even see campsites from their expeditions. You will be able to see the underground springs that helped create the formations in the caves.
The Wild Cave Tour
The last tour for you to check out is the Wild Cave Tour, here you will be able to see the undeveloped sections in the middle level. There are a couple of requirements for this tour, you must be in good physical condition and you need to have a good pair of hiking boots on with good tread. Not having boots means not getting on the tour so come prepared. This tour is roughly 5 hours long so pack a lunch and plan to be gone for the day. There are steep slopes to climb, low ceilings and crawling on hands and knees to get to the next part of the tour. You are provided with a hard hat, lights, gloves and knee pads for the tour and participation is limited to no more than 12 people in a group so book early.
While the caverns are truly a sight to behold, you are also surrounded by the Ozark National Forest with lots more for you to experience.