in the Branson, Missouri area.
Hi my name is Donald Raether and if you're reading this about caves on my website at branson-ozark-mountain-country you also know me as "Rancher Don".
Are you aware that over 5,000 caves have been recorded in Missouri and many of them are in the Branson and the Ozark Mountain Country. If there are 5,000 recorded caves in Missouri you can bet there are at least that many unrecorded or maybe more.
Caves on private land go unrecorded for many reasons and I list some
There are probably more caves that have never been discovered than
those that have because.
The Osage Indians discovered the Marble or Marvel cave in the early
1500s before the white
man came into the Ozark Mountain Country. Rumer has it a
was chasing a wounded bear and it fell into the verticle shaft into the
cave and the hunter came back later with friends and ropes and went
down to investigate. The glory hole or the hole that was just under the
surface when the surface collapsed opening the cave is said to be 204
feet high and is called the Cathedral room. Tunnels lead off far
I was reading something the other day about Jesse James and his gang were using some of the Missouri caves as hideouts or to hide treasure. They probably worked good for that especially in the hot summer.
I am surely no cave expert or whatever such a person would be called but I believe I read the reason there are so many caves in the Branson, Missouti area is because the area had large diposits of soluable limestone when the earth was formed. Over the years this material desolved from water filtering into the material and when it desolved it ran downhill like water and settled into basins deep in the caverns leaving a cave above. Some of these underground pools or lakes are hundreds of feet deep.
Partial listing of Branson area caves.
I am going to list several caves in this section and on my website you can follow the links to more information however when I submit this article to article directories they don't like links so I will have to disarm them. However my website is listed at the bottom in the resourse box and you can follow it to my site and much more information all about caves and everything to do with Branson.
These caves should be open for tours.
1. Crystal Cave- It gives tours daily and offers glimpses of unique roct formations along with underground springs and Indian markings on the walls.
2. Marvel Cave- Originally called Marble cave as early explorers thought there was marble in the cave but that was not the case all they found was about a million tons of bat manure which was extracted and sold. This is probably the most famous cave in the area because of it's size, formation and the fact that the Herschend family built Silver Dollar City on top of the cave and give tours daily. You must be in good shape to take the tour as there is about 600 steps on the way out.
3.Fantastic Caverns-This cave is the only one that actually has a riding tour where you are taken on a wagon caravan pulled by a jeep through the cave. This is a very nice cave to visit.
4. Talking rocks Cavern- On this cave tour you will see interesting mineral and rock formations and actuall you can hear noises made by the rocks in the lower elevations.
5. Cosmic Caverns-This cave has a bottomless lake that actual have fish and other creatures living in the water.
This would indicate to me that it must be connected underwater with a above ground lake or river.
Caves along the Ozark National Scenic Waterways.
There are hundreds of caves within the Ozark Scenic Riverways
are accessable near roads and others only accessable via boat and then
sometimes some distance to walk from the river. If you can access the
link above you can read all about many of them from the Missouri
Department of Conservation .
and Karst by U.S. National Park Service
ROUND SPRING CAVERN- The National Park Service conducts lantern tours for the public. These somewhat strenuous "underground hikes" are limited to the first 15 people. Wear sturdy shoes and bring a jacket or sweater, as it is cool in the cave. Tours are offered daily, at 10:00 and 2:00, during the summer months. Tickets are $5.00 for adults, $2.50 for children. Tickets go on sale 30 minutes before each tour and there are no reservations.
School groups may make special arrangements by calling 573-323-4236, ext 236. Please try to schedule your school visit outside of the summer months. (May or Sept)
Devils Well - Located off Route KK near Akers, this unusual karst window allows a look at the earth's plumbing. Devils Well was formed when the roof of a huge cavern, containing an underground lake, collapsed. The result was large sinkhole, with an opening in the bottom through which you can view the lake. The water level is about 100 feet below the platform, and the lake may be as much as 80 feet deep. (it can fluctuate 8 to 10 feet depending on the weather.)
A "spiral staircase" has been built to allow viewing. The road is very steep and rough, it is not recommended for trailers or motorhomes. There is no admission fee for Devils Well and the area is open every day, all day.
Jam Up Cave - Located on the Jacks Fork River between Rymers and Blue Spring. Jam Up is a spectacular cave, but can only be reached by boat. The high entrance is about 80 feet high and 100 feet wide.(Note the size of the mature trees in the photo.) Much of the cave is filled with water, and there is a small underground waterfall. There is a natural skylight that provides some light to the inside. Ceiling breakdowns have occurred in the recent past, so caution is warranted. (Of course, caution is warranted in any cave!)
Jam Up Cave is located within the Jacks Fork Natural Area.
Missouri's "Natural Areas" program recognizes areas of great natural beauty or importance. This three mile stretch of the Jacks Fork River is home to four species of crayfish that are found only in the Ozarks and nine species of fish that are also limited to the Ozarks. There are many rare plants on the bluffs, some of which are "left-overs" from the ice ages. When the climate warmed, they survived in the cool wet niches among the bluffs and caves while their species became extinct elsewhere in Missouri. (Collecting any plants is prohibited by the National Park Service to preserve such rarities for your enjoyment.)