Year of 2017

Blanchard Springs Caverns in Arkansas

Most photos of the caverns in the Ozark-St. Francis National Forest depict the stalagmites and stalactites of the underground portion, as two of the three caverns are open to the public for tours. But this nighttime photo—aided by a long exposure and some artificial light—highlights the variety of scenery visitors to the area will enjoy. The caverns, known for years to locals as ‘Half-Mile Cave,’ have been open for guided tours since 1973. There are three distinct levels to the caverns that are still intact. The upper two levels have opened up, thanks to years of erosion, and are now deep valleys on the approach to the remaining caverns.

Blanchard Springs Caverns is a cave system located in the Ozark–St. Francis National Forest in Stone County in northern Arkansas, 2 miles off Highway 14 a short distance north of Mountain View. Blanchard Springs Caverns is a three-level cave system, two of which are open for guided tours. The Dripstone Trail runs through the uppermost level of caverns for about a half-mile and opened in 1973. The Discovery Trail opened in 1977 and loops through a 1.2-mile section of the cavern, descending to the lower level of the cave, 366 feet underground, as well as to the Natural Entrance, about 70 feet below ground at that point, following the stream bed of the springs that created the cavern. This trail includes the Rimstone Dams, which create pools along the stream bed, and the Ghost Room with its huge white flowstone. Also offered is a “Wild Cave” tour which allows access to undeveloped parts of the cave to more adventurous visitors. It follows the upstream section of the cave in the lower levels, continuing beyond where the Discovery Trail ends.
Address: Blanchard Caverns, Mountain View, AR 72560