It’s finally Fall! Fall is by far my favorite season because of the beautiful colors of the leaves, cooler temperatures, and holidays like Thanksgiving and Halloween. Unfortunately I live in Houston, which means I don’t get to experience any beautiful colors or cooler temperatures.
Last year, we made up for the lack of Autumn in Texas by traveling to Arkansas over the Thanksgiving holiday. Northern Arkansas, where we have family to visit, is the perfect place to experience all the best things about Fall. To get the full effect of the season, we traveled to the heart of the Ozarks, to Blanchard Springs Caverns.
Blanchard Springs Caverns is located in St. Francis National Forest, which provides some beautiful views year round and especially during Fall. The caverns themselves span for over 8 miles, and tourists can go on 2 guided tours during different times of year. The Discovery Trail is only open during the summer, so we went on the Dripstone Trail.
The Dripstone Trail is about 0.5 miles of guided tour through the caves. This tour is short in distance but provides some spectacular views inside the caverns. The tour explores the Cathedral Room, which is a gigantic underground room full of Stalagmites and Stalactites and is quite a site to behold. It’s hard to imagine how gigantic the underground cave is until you see it in person.
Another somewhat unexpected feature of the caves in the bats. Bats hibernate in the cave, and there are mountains of bat guano that the tour guide so helpfully points out. It seems pretty gross, but it’s also very interesting.
Once outside the caves, there are several short and easy hikes around the forest, including one that allows you to see the natural water spring emerge from the mountain.
The spring becomes a small river that is dammed up to form a calm lake. Some very old buildings add to the charm of the area.
There was some wildlife around, including a Bald Eagle!
- Ease of access: Not so easy… it’s in the middle of the Ozarks so it’s kind of far away from everything and it’s quite a winding drive through the mountains to get there
- Price – Affordable. Entry fee for the tour is not expensive.
- Clothes: The caverns are actually in the 50-60 degree range year round, so pants and a jacket are recommended even if you visit in the summer. As I was visiting in late November, it was actually cold outside so I wore a coat. Comfortable walking shoes are also recommended.
- Crowds: It was not crowded at all when we went even though it was Thanksgiving weekend. I’d imagine it does not get crowded usually.
- Recommend: If you find yourself in the Ozarks, yes! It’s very cool to see the caverns and of course the beautiful Ozarks.
I hope you enjoyed reading! Have you ever been to Blanchard Springs Caverns? Let us know in the comments!