Bull Shoals Caverns

Bull Shoals Caverns and Mountain Village 1890

Useful Information

Location: 1011 C. S. Woods Boulevard, Bull Shoals, AR 72619.
From Hwy 62/412, take Hwy 178 to Bull Shoals, Arkansas. Four blocks off Hwy 178 at town center.
(36.379490, -92.584117)
Open: 15-MAR to JUN Wen-Sun 10-17.
JUL daily 9-18.
AUG to OCT Wen-Sun 10-17.
NOV to Thanksgiving Fri-Sun 10-16.
Last tour departs 45 minutes prior to closing.
Fee: Adults USD 17, Children (5-11) USD 8.75, Children (0-4) free, Seniors (65+) USD 9, AAA Members USD 9.
Plus tax.
Classification: SpeleologyKarst cave Ordovician limestone
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension: T=15 °C.
Guided tours: D=45 min. self guided.
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Address: Bull Shoals Caverns, PO Box 444, 1011 C. S. Woods Boulevard, Bull Shoals, AR 72619, Tel. +1-501-445-7177. E-mail:
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.


300 BC oldest remains in the cave dated.
American Civil War Confederate soldiers use the cave for harvesting saltpeter.
during Prohibition moonshiners used the cave as a hideout for their stills.
World War II used as refrigerator for whiskey and food storage by neighbors.
1958 opened as a show cave.


The caves main claim to fame is that it is a level concrete pathway throughout. The cave was a natural shelter for the native Americans with evidence of a habitation site in the Rotunda. The underground trout stream is crossed by a firm steel bridge as the two underground rivers, crossed by similar bridges. Speleothems abound and the tour ends at an underground waterfall.

Text by Tony Oldham (2004). With kind permission.

The sign outside Bull Shoals Caverns tells "This cavern ... contains, as verified by professional speleologists, every formation that is found in any cave in the United States." While there are actually no professional speleologists, the whole testimony lacks both sense and truth. Cave formations are actually found in great abundance, and there is a 470 pages thick book named Cave Minerals of the World which lists thousands of different speleothems. This easily makes clear that there is no way, this small cave can contain all of them. Especially as conditions which are required by some prevent the formation of others. But on the other hand, what's the point? It will actually not change the cave itself if you know how many kinds of speleothems it contains. The quality and beauty of the speleothems is probably of much bigger interest.

Both Tony Oldham and we were astonished by the naivety with which the cave is advertised. They actually praise the quality of the concrete path and the number of different speleothems. But the cave has numerous interesting peculiarities which make a visit worthwhile. The small cave has actually several interesting speleothems, like some fine Speleothemboxwork and Speleothemcave pearls.

The cave is located on a peninsula in an artificial lake called Bull Shoals Lake and in the middle of the town Bull Shoals, after which it is obviously named. While it is rare to find caves in cities, the lake is even more astonishing. The existence of caves requires karst, which actually equals to underground drainage through cave systems. To build a dam in such an area generally does not result in a lake, as the water tends to flow through the caves and avoid the dam.

The cave also has an exceptional inhabitant, a salamander which seems to be a guest, not a native in the cave. Its colour is bright orange with black dots, if it lived continuously underground the Biologytroglomorphy would have caused the loss of colour and eyes.