SW Missouri Caves-The Ozarks Underground
The Ozark region is known for its caves. Below our feet, the Ozark Mountains are made of highly porous limestone and dolomite rock, honeycombed with sinkholes, tunnels and springs. And, of course, caves.
Some of the caves are important for their stone formations; others have become famous for fossil remains and artifacts. Still others have the distinction of being hideouts for Civil War troops or for outlaws on the run.
Many caves are on private land and not accessible, but there are several Missouri show caves around the area that you can tour. If you're looking for things to do in Springfield, MO, or things to do in Branson, MO, grab your jacket (caves tend to be chilly) and head out to see what's underground.
Springfield Area Caves
Smallin/Civil War Cave Legend says Civil War Union troops hid spare ammunition and artillery here. Said to have the largest opening of all known Missouri caves. Guided walking tour, or guided off-trail slog through cold cave water. 3575 N Smallin Rd, Ozark. 417-551-4545.
Fantastic Caverns Known as America's only ride-through cave --perfect for young kids, seniors, or those who can't manage the walk. Discovered by a farmer's dog and first explored by a group of women cavers in 1867. 4872 N. Farm Rd 125, Springfield. 417-833-2010
Crystal Cave Family-owned. Five miles from Springfield. First opened in 1893, with some evidence of Indian use before that. Dirt and stone paths; owner Loyd Richard will be your guide. 7225 E. Crystal Cave Ln. 417-833-7225
Branson, Missouri Caves
Marvel Cave The most well-known cave in the Branson region, and part of Silver Dollar City. The one-hour guided cave tour is included in the Silver Dollar City admission fee.
Talking Rocks Cavern Filled with thousands of crystal formations. Just minutes west of Silver Dollar City in Branson West. 423 Fairy Cave Ln. 417-272-3366.