Dripstone Trail

The Dripstone Trail Tour travels through two huge rooms filled with an incredible variety and number of crystalline formations - sparkling flowstone, towering columns, and delicate soda straws.

photo: In the crawl. Photo by USFS.

Type: Backcountry, Nature Trail
Length: 0.40 miles
Loop Trail? No
Allowed Uses: Caving
Heritage and History
Pedestrian - Walking/Hiking/Running
Wildlife Observation
Agency: USDA Forest Service
Entry Fee? $10.00
Parking Fee? No

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Directions

Location: Blanchard Caverns, Ozark Mountains near Fifty-Six, AR
State(s): Arkansas
Counties: Stone
Latitude: 35.96442
Longitude
: -92.1794

Blanchard Spring Caverns are located under the hills in Ozark Mountains. The trail is accessed through the Blanchard Visitor Center.

Description

The Dripstone Trail tours are available year-round. The time you should allow for this tour is 1 hour. On this tour you will experience a constant 58 degrees F (so bring a sweater or light jacket) and know that the humidity is close to 100 percent. This trail is accessible to strollers and wheelchairs with strong assistance. This tour covers 4/10 of a mile in an hour. It is an easy walk with two seating areas along the trail for you to rest should you need to. There are only 50 stair steps to be negotiated on the entire tour but for those that can not manage them, there are alternate trails that can be used, bypassing some formations. In this section of the cave bats are rare so don’t worry about running into them.

The Dripstone Trail Tour travels through two huge rooms filled with an incredible variety and number of crystalline formations - sparkling flowstone, towering columns, and delicate soda straws. There are tiny cave creatures such as salamanders and crickets for you to see. You will be able to see nearly every type of calcite formation found in limestone caves. This includes delicate, hollow soda straws to massive flowstones and stalagmites. You will be touring the two major rooms in the upper level of the cavern system. The cathedral Room is long enough to hold three football fields and still have space left over. There are many snow-white formations of pure calcite (or calcium carbonate) in the Coral Room. You are walking through an area that was laid down in an ancient sea more than 350 million years ago. These beautiful formations have taken years to be made, no one knows for sure how long it has taken but may be thousands, hundreds of thousands or millions of years for the dripping water to deposit the calcite and other minerals into these fabulous formations. A vast amount of dripstone is found in this portion of the Caverns for two reasons. First, this section is higher than the other, allowing air-chemistry changes which cause the dripstone to form, and second, this portion is older than lower areas, giving the features more time to develop.

Additional Details

Width: 48 inches.
Primary Surface: Asphalt
Secondary Surface: Bituminous treatment
Concrete

Average Grade: 5%
Elevation Low Point: Not Available
Elevation High Point: Not Available
Elevation Gain (cumulative): Not Available

Year Designated:
1978

Contact Information

For more information and current conditions, contact the trail manager (listed below). For questions, suggestions, and corrections to information listed on the website, contact American Trails.

Jim McCoy
District Ranger
Ozark-St. Francis National Forest
1001 East Main Street
Mountain View , AR 72560
(870) 269-3228
jrmccoy@fs.fed.us

Information Contact:
Tracy Farley
Ozark-St. Francis National Forest
Ozark-St. Francis National Forest
605 W. Main St.
Russellville , AR 72801
(501) 964-7231
tfarley@fs.fed.us

 

Photos

In the crawl. Photo by USFS.

In the crawl. Photo by USFS.

Ghost Room. Photo by USFS.

Ghost Room. Photo by USFS.

 

Battleship. Photo by USFS.

Battleship. Photo by USFS.

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