Blanchard Springs Caverns

Useful Information

Location: 24 km northwest of Mountain View, off Hwy 14. (35°57'49.26"N, 92°10'45.58"W)
Open: Visitor Information Center: All year daily 9:30-18.
Dripstone Trail Tour: All year daily 10:30, 12:30, 14:30, 16:30.
Discovery Trail Tour: Memorial Day to Labor Day daily 10-16:30.
Discovery in the Dark Headlamp Tour: All year Sat 12:30.
Wild Tour: All year daily 9:30, by reservation only.
Fee: Dripstone Trail Tour: Discovery Trail Tour: Discovery in the Dark Headlamp Tour: Adults USD 14, Children (6-15) USD 9, Children (0-5) free.
Groups (15+): Adults USD 11, Children (6-15) USD 7.
Wild Tour: Adults USD 85.
Discovery Trail Photo Tour: Adults USD 30.
Reservation fee per ticket USD 1.
Classification: SpeleologyKarst cave Late Ordovician through Early Mississippian limestones and shales.
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension: L=12,884 m, HD=60 m, A=30 m a.s.l., T=15 °C
Guided tours: Dripstone Trail Tour: D=60 min., L=804 m, VR=15 m, St=0.
Discovery Trail Tour: D=90 min., L=2,011 m, VR=60 m, St=686.
Discovery Trail Photo Tour: L=240 min, L=1,200 m, St=200, Min=7, Max=10.
Discovery in the Dark Headlamp Tour: D=60 min.
Wild Tour: D=4-6 h.
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: Dripstone Trail Tour: All stairs can be avoided, with assistants, call Visitor Information Center for info and reservation. Accessible to strollers.
Address: USDA Forest Service, 1001 E. Main, Mountain View, AR 72560, Tel. 1-888-757-2211, Fax: 1-870-757-2675.
Blanchard Springs Caverns, Visitor Information Center, Tel: 1-888-757-2246.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.


900 remains proof visits by the Bluff Dweller Indians.
1922 visited by someone leaving a graffitti saying "John 1922".
1955 first documented visit by Roger Bottoms.
1960 first professional exploration by Hugh Shell and Hail Bryant.
1971 exploration of the waterfilled passages by scuba divers.
07-JUL-1973 short cave tour opened to the public.
07-JUL-1977 long cave tour opened to the public.
01-JAN-2000 wild cave tour opened to the public.


Blanchard Springs Caverns are located in the Sylamore District of the Ozark National Forest, which offers camping, hiking, fishing and sightseeing opportunities. The cave was developed for tourism by Ozark National Forest in a carefully planned, ten-year project. It is still managed by the Ozark-St. Francis National Forests, which belongs to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The cave was explored in 43 expeditions over four years during the 1960s. The members of the team were Hugh Shell, Hail Bryant, Paul Buchanan, Charles Rogers, Mike Hill, Ronnie Sims, Robert Handford, and Billy Sneed. Paul Buchanan, editor of the Batesville Guard-Record, was the one who publicized their findings. The team discovered and surveyed 2,182 m of the cave and made more than 1,000 pictures.

The cave has some huge chabers and many speleothems, including soda straws, bacon formations and rimstone pools. Impressive is the spring which gave the cave its name: Blanchard Springs is a typical karst spring, where the cave river leaves the cave with a waterfall. However, the spring was named after John H. Blanchard who homesteaded 64 ha of land and built an undershot grist mill here. He was a young veteran, looking for a place in the peaceful Ozarks which could offer escape from the aftermath of the Civil War.

The cave offers four different tours. The Dripstone Trail Tour is the regular show cave tour for tourists. It shows about 800 m of cave passsages on well developed paths. It is even wheelchair accesible, with the assistance of two strong helpers for the few remaining steps. The Discovery Trail follows the path of the first explorers trough the natural entrance and along the cave stream. This tour is rather strenuous, more than two kilometers long and with some 700 steps, it is nevertheless a show cave tour on paved paths. The tour is offered daily in summer, in winter the Discovery in the Dark Headlamp Tour is offered instead, but only once on Saturdays. It uses only the last part of the Discovery Trail with the cave lights off. Visitors get helmets and headlamps and can experience the comletely different view of cave explorers.

The fourth tour is offered all year, but only on reservation. The Wild Cave Tour shows the undeveloped sections of the middle level of Blanchard Caverns. Coveralls, knee-pads, gloves and helmets with headlamps are provided. Bring clothes to change and sturdy boots or rubber boots. The tour takes five hours and requires climbing very steep slopes and crawl on hands and knees under low ceilings. Physical fitness is required, minimum of three and a maximum of twelve people, minimum age of ten years and kids must be accompanied.