Meramec Caverns

Useful Information

Location: Meramec State Park. 30 minutes south of St. Louis. Take I-44 West exit 233 Stanton, then south on Hwy W.
Open: JAN to FEB daily 9-16.
MAR daily 9-17.
APR daily 9-18.
MAY to JUN daily 9-19.
JUL to Labor Day daily 8:30-19:30.
Labor Day to SEP daily 9-18.
OCT daily 9-17.
NOV to DEC daily 9-16.
Closed Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Fee: Adults USD 15, Children (5-11) USD 8, Children (0-4) free.
Groups (15+):
Classification: SpeleologyKarst Cave cave system
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension: L=7,321 m, VR=9 m, T=14 °C.
Guided tours: D=80 min., L=2,400 m.
V=200,000/a [2000] V=150,000/a [2005]
Accessibility: wheelchair accessible
Address: Meramec Caverns, PO Box 948, Stanton, MO 63079, Tel. +1-573-468-3166. 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.


local tribes if Indians used the cave as shelter.
1722 discovered by Jacques Renault, a French miner, who mined for saltpeter for the manufacture of gunpowder.
1862-1864 during the Civil War gun powder manufacturing was at it height at the cave. The Union forces set up power kilns and leaching vats as well as an underground railway station.
1864 the Quantrill Irregulars, under the command of General Price, of the Confederate Army captured the gun powder mill and plant.
1870s used by Jesse James as hideout.
1893 used by local people when a dance floor and receational facilities were built in a large chamber near the entrance.
1933 Lester B. Dill discovered the seven upper levels of the Caverns.
1935 opened to the public by Lester B. Dill.
1946 ceremony in the cave to honor veterans of the armed forces.


Meramec Caverns is famous for an infamous inhabitant, Jesse James. He and his band used the cavern in the early 1870s as a hideout for men and horses. They are thought to have hidden in this cave for three days after the Gad's Hill train robbery. A funny episode happened in the 1950s, when an 102 years old man visited the cave, who claimed to be Jesse James.

The most famous formation in the cave, the Stage Curtain, is located in the chamber called Theater. It is a so-called drapery or frozen waterfall, measuring 21 m high, 18 m wide and 11 m thick and estimated to be 70 million years old. It is said to be the largest single cave formation in the world, which is obviously not true. Onyx Mountain is another huge formation, a group of stalagmites which is almost 10 m high and has a circumference of 150 m.

A huge chamber of the cave called Ballroom is used for public and private events since the end of the 19th century. It is huge enough for 2,000 chairs and a stage. Every year several public events like the World's only underground bodybuilding contest Caveman take place. For the rest of the year, the ballroom is available for rent for private or public events. A notable event happened in 1946, after the end of World War II a ceremony was held in the cave to honor veterans of the armed forces. The governor of Missouri was a guest and Kate Smith sang "God Bless America". The song was recorded and is still played on the cave tours. While we can not offer this recording, you have to go to Meramec for this, this is the 21st century, and you can find a version from the movie This is the Army on youTube, see link below.