This Hidden Cave On Missouri’s Current River Might Be The State’s Best Hidden Gem

Imagine paddling through the cool waters of the Current River, surrounded by the lush greenery of the Ozarks. 

Just ahead, the mysterious entrance of Cave Spring beckons, a hidden gem tucked away on the river’s edge, promising adventure and a touch of the unknown.

Credit: Instagram: dustinleemartin

Don’t get me wrong, touring Onondaga Cave in Missouri is incredible and it’s hard to beat kayaking through the Crystal City Underground Cave…but Cave Spring might just be more unique than both.

Here’s why you need to visit, and everything to know before you do.

What is Cave Spring?

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Cave Spring, located between river miles 20 and 21 on the Current River, is not just a geographical feature but a portal into Missouri’s natural and cultural heritage. 

This spring is one of the top 20 largest in Missouri, discharging an impressive 32 million gallons of water daily into the river from its almost mystical cave mouth.

Credit: Instagram: dustinleemartin

The spring is housed within a spacious cave that can be accessed by a short paddle. 

Inside, you’ll find an air-filled chamber where the water emerges from a nearly vertical shaft, 140 feet deep. 

This site has been a favored spot for fishing and picnicking for generations and remains unspoiled by commercial development.

Why Visit Cave Spring?

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Cave Spring is a true adventurer’s delight. Its cool waters, consistently between 58-62 degrees, offer a refreshing escape from the summer heat. 

The spring and its cave are not only beautiful but also steeped in history. 

During an underwater survey, a Native American dugout canoe was discovered at the bottom of the spring, hinting at the area’s long-standing significance.

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The surrounding Ozark National Scenic Riverways enhance the spring’s allure, providing a pristine backdrop that’s perfect for kayaking, tubing, or simply relaxing by the water. 

Whether you’re a history buff, nature lover, or thrill-seeker, Cave Spring has something to enchant everyone.

How to Reach Cave Spring

Cave Spring is accessible in two adventurous ways: by water and by land. 

Most visitors prefer to reach it by floating down the Current River, starting the journey about 5 miles below Akers Ferry. 

This route allows you to embrace the serene beauty of the river and the excitement of arriving at the cave’s dramatic entrance by water.

Alternatively, for those who enjoy a good hike, the Devil’s Well trail offers a 9-mile round trip that connects to Cave Spring. 

The trail is a moderate challenge and features beautiful scenery including limestone glades, old shortleaf pines, and views of the river valley.

Directions to the Trailhead:

From Salem, drive south on Highway 19 into Shannon County.

Turn west onto Route KK and drive about three miles.

Follow the signs south onto a county gravel road leading to the parking area at Devil’s Well.

Explore the Area

While visiting Cave Spring, consider exploring nearby attractions such as Devil’s Well, a fascinating sinkhole over 200 feet deep with an underground lake visible from the surface. 

Just up the road is possibly the prettiest swimming hole in Missouri at Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park.

The area is also home to Wallace Well, another significant source feeding the waters of Cave Spring.

The Ozark National Scenic Riverways offers numerous opportunities for wildlife observation, photography, and simply enjoying the solitude and beauty of the Missouri Ozarks.

Final Note

Cave Spring is an unforgettable Missouri treasure waiting to be explored.

From its chillingly beautiful waters to its rich history and breathtaking natural surroundings, Cave Spring on the Current River is a destination that promises more than just a day out—it offers a journey into the heart of the Ozarks.

So grab your kayak or lace up your hiking boots, and get ready for an adventure like no other!