Bull Shoals Caverns were carved out of solid limestone by water in a lengthy process that is ongoing. The caverns are still being cut and shaped to this day, and will continue to be as long as there is water to flow and limestone to dissolve. That’s why it’s known as a “living” cave. Any cave that is still in the process of being formed is referred to as a “living” cave.
Bull Shoals Caverns are living in other ways, too. They’re filled with life! Many small creatures, such as crickets, bats, and colorful salamanders call the caverns home. The underground river that flows through the caverns even has fish.
Animals aren’t the only ones who have called Bull Shoals Caverns home.
Carbon dating of soot from the cave ceiling demonstrates that native Americans were using it as shelter as far back as 300 BC! European settlers used the caverns’ uniform, cool temperatures as a kind of walk-in refrigerator for many years. Soldiers mined saltpeter from the caverns during the Civil War and moonshiners hid their illicit stills here during prohibition.
The caverns weren’t opened to the public for touring until 1958, shortly after the completion of Bull Shoals Dam. People were coming to enjoy the newly formed Bull Shoals Lake so it was natural to both protect and share the natural wonder of the caverns.
A visit to Bull Shoals Caverns introduces you to a world that is at both times part of and not at all like our own. Crystal and stone formations of such bizarre and intricate beauty reside here, formed drip by drip over millions of years. Stalagmite and stalactite forests, limestone draperies, soda straws, and many fascinating flowstone formations.
Tours of the caverns take 45 minutes and are conducted on a concrete path. You’ll see the underground river, pools, lake, and waterfall, along with myriad stone formations. Bull Shoals Caverns stay a constant 59 degrees Fahrenheit, so layers and closed shoes are your best bet for staying warm and comfortable during your tour.
Bull Shoals Caverns offers a gift shop and is right next to Mountain Village 1890. Mountain Village 1890 is a restored Ozarks town consisting of 9 main historic structures and numerous additional outbuildings. A bank, Doctor’s Office, Depot, steam engine, and more hailing from the 1890’s are here for your inspection and entertainment.
Any visit to the Bull Shoals area is not complete without a look at crystal clear Bull Shoals Lake and Dam, which was once the largest concrete structures in the world when completed in 1951.
Bull Shoals Caverns
1011 C. S. Woods Boulevard, Bull Shoals, AR 72619
Open March 21st through to Thanksgiving weekend.
Visit the Bull Shoals Caverns website for hours and other details.
Bull Shoals Caverns Lodging
No matter where you are during your Arkansas adventures, an Arkansas bed & breakfast inn is nearby. A stay at an Arkansas B&B is a comfortable experience with a warm breakfast, welcoming accommodations, and an insiderâ€™s knowledge of the area. Find your Arkansas accommodations now!