The Ozark Caverns
Lake of the Ozarks
In the area surrounding the Lake of the Ozarks there are over 300 caves. Many of these caves are not considered tame. Meaning, their terrain makes exploring difficult. Of the tame caves in the area, the Ozark Caverns are the most popular. The Ozark Caverns are located in the Lake of the Ozarks State Park, in Linn Creek Missouri. Surrounded by hiking trails, beaches, and the lake itself, the caverns offer a unique experience to visitors.
Caves like the Ozark Caverns are formed by water dissolving rock over thousands of years. Other elements also play a role in the process such as; pressure form tectonic plates, organic acids, and digging.
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The Ozark Caverns at the Lake of the Ozarks
Many animals have sought refuge in the caverns. Some of them left claw marks that are visible during the tour. The caverns are home to four different species of salamanders. One of these is the blind grotto salamander. This type of salamander lives only in a cave environment. Along with 16 types of invertebrates, the cavern is also home to the most popular cave animal; bats. The Ozark Caverns is the habitat of four different species of bats. One is even named after the area, the Ozark big-eared bat.
The Ozark Caverns is open to visitors year round. The regular tour takes about an hour to complete and is a half mile long. In addition to the regular tour, for a limited time during summer (June – August 15th) two other types of tours are available. The first is the Children’s Tour, which is shorter in duration (about 30 – 45 minutes long) and is geared towards cave explorer’s ages 5 and up accompanied by parents. The other tour offered during the summer is the Speleology tour. Speleology is the study of caves and this tour offers a more in depth discover of the caverns lasting one to one and a half hours. The speleology tour is suggested for adults. During all the tours, electric lanterns are supplied. Comfortable clothing and shoes are recommended. The caverns maintain a temperature of 50 – 60 degrees year round making visiting possible even in the winter months.
One of the most popular parts of the tour is Angel Shower Falls. Because of the rock formation, the water appears to be flowing in a steady stream from the solid rock ceiling. Starting at the parking lot of the caverns is the Coakley Hollow Trail. This one mile trail leads visitors through a glade, Ozark spring branch, and a fen. It is a great way to view local wildflowers and will lead back to the parking lot.