Blanchard Springs Caverns are situated 15 miles northwest of Mountain View off Arkansas 14. It is approximately 160 miles from Memphis, Tennessee and 150 miles from Springfield, Missouri. The caverns are open Wednesday to Sunday from 9.30 am to 6pm and can be visited throughout the year.
Blanchard is a three-level system but only two levels are open to the public for guided tours. All tours begin at the Visitor Center, which is open from 9am and books, maps and other educational material are sold here too. The Discovery and Dripstone tours are limited to approximately 30 people, while the Wild Cave tour is restricted to just 12 people at a time.
The Dripstone Trail tour is available throughout the year and takes visitors down two hundred feet in an elevator to the Cathedral Room. The tour is not strenuous and takes an hour to walk two fifths of a mile but there are places to sit down along the way. Visitors will be able to see various calcite formations ranging from soda straws to massive flowstones and stalagmites.
The Discovery Trail tour will take visitors along the route taken by early explorers and where they dangled from ropes on homemade harness. An underground stream can be seen which eventually gushes from the Blanchard Springs. Two of the highlights of this tour are the enchanting Ghost Room and the Giant Flowstone, which is one of the largest to be found anywhere in the world.
The third tour is the Wild Cave, which takes visitors to under developed sections of the middle level. This requires visitors to have a reasonable level of fitness as this will involve some steep climbs and crawling on hands and knees. Hard hats, knee pads, gloves and other necessary items are provided and children aged 10 to 12 must be accompanied by an adult.
The Blanchard spring pours out of the mountainside and into a pond named Mirror Lake, which is stocked with rainbow trout and ideal for fishing. Sylamore Creek is a clear spring-fed stream that also provides opportunities for fishing with smallmouth bass to be found here. The creek meanders through the recreation area campsite paralleled by the 15 mile long Sylamore Creek Trail.
The Visitor Center is open from 9.30am each day and has exhibits about Blanchard Spring Caverns and life in the underground world. An audiovisual program is presented in the auditorium and shows visitors a little more about the geological history of the caverns. Pets are not allowed at the Visitor Center or the caverns but service animals and seeing-eye dogs are permitted in all areas.
There are 32 campsites at the Blanchard Springs Recreation Area with grills, tables, lantern poles and tent pads, but they do not have electrical hook-ups. Two group camps also feature here and are available by reservation only for a minimum of 8 and a maximum of 50 campers. The sites also have drinking water, RV sewage dump stations and restrooms with hot showers.
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