Missouri has gained the nickname "The Cave State". It has over 6,200 caves and about 100 more are found every year. Only Tennessee has more.
Over half of Missouri's caves are not mapped at this time and eighty percent of them are on private land.
Caving is not something to do on a lark. While it can be exciting and addictive you have to know what you're doing. If you've never been and would like to try it contact an area caving club or grottos about joining them for an expedition.
Some basic rules of cave safety are:
1. Never cave alone. A minimum of four people is ideal.
2. Each person should carry no less than four seperate light sources.
3. Inform a dependable person on the surface of you're itinerary. Let them know when you return.
4. Don't ever touch stalactites or stalagmites . Never leave litter behind.
There are three caves open on a permit basis. They are the Branson Cave, Lost Man Cave, and Bluff Cave. If you're an experience caver and are looking for someplace new to explore on your Ozarks vacation. Permits are available during the summer months only.
If you aren't ready to tackle a cave on your own. Why not visit the Round Springs Cavern. It's located near Eminence, Missouri on Highway 19 offer a lamp light guided tour of a beautiful cave so you'll get a taste for how it would be. Wear sturdy shoes and take a jacket. It costs $5 for adults, $2 for under 12. Tickets are for sale 30 minutes before each tour. Memorial Day-Labor Day. They only take 15 people at a time so get your tickets early.
Missouri and Federal Cave Laws
Ozark National Scenic Riverways Cave Use Rules and Regs
Find out about Ozark Caves
Get a Missouri Caving Permit
Find a Missouri Caving Club (Grotto)
Round Springs Caverns