Beneath the lush forests, rocky mountains and running streams of Arkansas is another world, an underground world of limestone caverns. Here is a list of some of the best and most popular caves in Arkansas that you might want to explore.
The Arkansas caves on this list are all tourist attractions or show caves. In other words, they are commercial caves that you can pay to visit on a tour or with a guide.
Most of these caverns are located in the Ozark Mountains of North Arkansas in the Northwest and North Central regions.
NOTE: Not all of these caverns are open year round. Several close during the winter months. Always check the opening days and times on their websites before you go.
Here are the Best Caves in Arkansas to Visit!
Blanchard Springs Caverns
Blanchard Springs Caverns are probably the most well known of all the caves in Arkansas offering some of the best cave tours. The caverns are located in Stone County in the Ozark National Forest near the uniquely named town of Fifty Six. They are located approximately 2 miles off Highway 14.
Blanchard Springs Caverns is one of the most visited caves in Arkansas but it is one of the most beautiful caves in the United States.
It is also considered to be one of the most carefully developed caverns in the world. This is a living and growing cave system and every care has been taken ensure that it stays that way.
The most popular tour (and the one that I have been on) is the Dripstone Trail Tour. This tour is great for the whole family and is amazing! There are so many formations such as cave bacon and soda straws, as well as a HUGE cathedral room which is large enough to hold 3 football fields.
Blanchard Springs Caverns are, in a word, stunning!
There are two other tours, The Discovery Trail and the Wild Cave Tour both of which will require reservations.
Cosmic Cavern is located in the northwest Arkansas town of Berryville. It is the largest privately owned cave in the state. At 64 degrees year round it is also the warmest of the Arkansas caves.
Cosmic Cavern is known for its pristine beauty and two “bottomless” cave lakes one of which was discovered as recently as 1993 and made the national news.
The first of the two lakes, South Lake, has had trout in it for so many years that they have lost their color and gone blind. The cave also has many other unique formations such as a 9 foot long “soda straw.”
If you are feeling particularly adventurous Cosmic Cavern also offers an after hours “wild cave” tour which will require crawling and climbing but will take you to areas of the cave that the average tourist would not get to see.
Bull Shoals Caverns
Bull Shoals Caverns is located near Bull Shoals Lake and the White River in North Central Arkansas. It is considered by geologists to be one of the world’s oldest limestone caverns. Although old, this cave system is still alive and growing.
Bull Shoals Caverns features almost every known variety of underground formations and a small underground lake. Several different animal species live in the cave as well.
Onyx Cave Park
Onyx Cave Park is located in the unique town of Eureka Springs. It has been a tourist attraction since the 1890’s which makes this the oldest show cave in Arkansas.
They offer self-guided tours, visitors will be given head phones and allowed to explore on their own. The tours are also only about 30 minutes long. The various chambers and formations have fun names like the Witches Fireplace and the Friendly Dragon.
This is a good place to escape the heat in the summer as the temperature in the cave hovers around 58 degrees year-round.
Because the tour is so short it is also a fun place to go with children.
War Eagle Cavern
Located in Rogers, War Eagle Cavern offers tours of this lakeside underground cave system.
We recently took this tour and found it to be very interesting. One of the things that we enjoyed most is that this cave is situated right on Beaver Lake and has the only natural cave entrance in Arkansas.
You walk down a hill, alongside the lake, and straight into the cavern! Our guide was very informative and friendly. You walk through the cavern along a running stream as you learn about the history of the cave and perhaps even see some of the bat inhabitants.
Even though War Eagle Cavern doesn’t have the same large number of impressive formations as some of the other caves in Arkansas you will definitely enjoy learning about the history of these caverns.
In addition they have provided plenty of above ground fun for their guests. There is a maze, a gravity hut called the Moonshiners Mystery Shack, and panning for gemstones on their beautiful property.
Old Spanish Treasure Cave
Old Spanish Treasure Cave in Sulphur Springs, Arkansas is known for its history and legends of buried treasure. This is a tour not only about cave formations but also about the search for hidden treasure.
The tale is that a group of Spanish Conquistadors hid their treasure somewhere within the cavern. People actually started searching for it way back in the late 1800’s. Even though treasure has never been found the legend persists and the hunt continues.
The tour will take you through this maze cavern which has passages going every which way and leading to a variety of rooms.
Your guide will tell you about the formations you are seeing as well as the evidence that has been found regarding the legends and the ongoing search for treasure.
Blowing Cave in Cushman Arkansas is a privately owned cave that is not generally open to the public. However they do from time to time have “open houses” when you can go and see the caverns.
Be sure and follow their facebook page where they will post about the days and times that they are open.
They also lead private tours through the depths of the cave. You will need to make reservations and you will have to be able to climb, crawl, go through tight spaces, and wade through water.
This cave is particularly interesting because of its tales and legends about aliens and paranormal activity. There are stories that some of the passageways in this cave lead to a secret world that is inhabited by “the Blue People.”
Mystic Caverns often shows up on lists of caves in Arkansas. However, it is currently NOT open. I will try to keep this post updated regarding any potential reopening dates.
Feel free to comment to let me know if you hear anything!
Hurricane River Cave
Hurricane River Cave is another cave that you will often see on lists. However, it is currently CLOSED. It was sold to new owners and may potentially be reopened.
I will try to keep this post updated with any new information. Feel free to comment to let me know if anything changes!
Here is their facebook page that might have the most up to date information.
Tips About Visiting the Caves in Arkansas
The temperature of the caves stays about 59 degrees. They are a perfect place to warm up in the winter or to cool down in the summer. However, you might want to bring a jacket to wear while inside the Arkansas caverns even in the summer months.
Many of the tours involve quite a bit of walking and sometimes the walkways can be damp. Wear comfortable shoes with non-slip soles!
NOTE: As mentioned above – always check the website or facebook pages of the Arkansas caves that you might want to visit. Some are open year round while others are only open during the summer tourist season.
Many of the caves on this list are not accessible for those with mobility issues. Call to ask before you go.
Are There Wild Caves in Arkansas?
Yes, there are also wild caves in Arkansas. Some of these require a permit or a guide and some are gated in order to protect the spelunker from danger or to protect endangered species that live inside the caves.
Of course, you should never enter a wild cave without the right equipment and experience.
There are also many, many natural deep bluffs that you will encounter as you hike the beautiful state of Arkansas. Such as the one at the Moonshiners Cave Trail that was enclosed many years ago.
I hope that you enjoy visiting the commercial caves of Arkansas. There is something so special about experiencing the natural beauty and the magic of the world under the ground.
Enjoy the underground treasures of “The Natural State.”
Thanks for stopping by.
Karen and Emily