Bridal Cave

Bear Cave - Thunder Mountain Park


Useful Information

photography
Bill Moulder, Bridal Cave Guide, 1973, U.S.A.. Public Domain.
photography
Bill Moulder, Bridal Cave Guide, 1973, U.S.A.. Public Domain.
Location: North of Camdenton, Missouri on Highway 5, Lake Road 5-88. Accessible also by boat on the Lake of the Ozark's.
(38.023678, -92.791539)
Open: DEC to FEB daily 9-16.
MAR to MAY daily 9-17.
JUN to AUG daily 9-18.
SEP to NOV daily 9-17.
[2010]
Fee: Adults USD 15, Children (5-12) USD 7.
Groups (15+): Adults USD 10, Children (5-12) USD 5.
Discovery Tour: Groups only (15+) Adults USD 10, Children (5-12) USD 5.
[2010]
Classification: SpeleologyKarst cave
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension: T=16 °C.
Guided tours: D=60 min.
Discovery Tour: D=120 min.
Photography:  
Accessibility:  
Bibliography:  
Address: Bridal Cave, 526 Bridal cave rd, Camdenton, MO 65020, Tel. +1-573-346-2676, E-mail: contact
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.

History

1948 cave opened to the public.
JUN-1949 first couple married in the cave.

Description

photography
Bridal Cave, U.S.A.. Public Domain.
photography
Bridal Cave, U.S.A.. Public Domain.

Bridal Cave is located at the shore of the artificial Lake Ozark and has its own Jetty. It is possible to reach the cave either on road or by boat from Camdenton.

Conwee, the son of an Osage chief, desired to marry the daughter of the chief of the opposing tribe. He kidnapped her for this reason, but it seems, she was not happy with marrying him and committed suicide. But because of these events her companion met Conwee's brother Prince Buffalo. Some time later the two were the first to be wed in Bridal Chapel in the cave.

This Osage Native American legend tells of the legendary Indian Wedding ceremony held in the cave in the early 1800's, which is the origin of the name Bridal Cave. However, there is only a legende and there is no proof this actually happened. The first documented marriage in the cave happened in June 1949, just one year after the cave was opened to the public. Today Bridal Cave holds the world record of over 3000 underground weddings [2022].

We read: "Bridal Cave contains more onyx formations per square foot than any other show cave". A pretty typical comment for the area, but actually only of historic interest. What was named cave onyx is simply calcite, the typical formations of caves like stalactites, stalagmites and flowstone. And while this cave offers an abundance of speleothems, we actually doubt there is any way to make such a hotlist and if it was, there are lots of other candidates for the top ten. So actually this is advertising, and typical for the Ozarks and the time in which many of the show caves were created and the so-called Cave Wars. It was one of seven show caves opened in the 1940s and only two including Bridal Cave are still open. So there was a hard competition between the caves and marketing phrases became obviously somewhat hectic.

Nearby Bear Cave (also Neongwah Bear Cave) is not developed and used for wild tours, so called Discovery Tours or Lantern Tours. The tours are made with lanterns and are less cave trekking and more educational and historic tours.