We took a quick trip to Mountain View, Arkansas over the weekend to see the Blanchard Springs Caverns. This was a great trip full of new experiences. There was no set agenda when we arrived except for seeing the caverns but we found that there was a lot more to do in this area. The Ozark-St. Francis National Forests are filled with amazing views and recreation opportunities.
Blanchard Springs Caverns
Our first stop on the trip was Blanchard Springs Caverns in the Ozark National Forest. There are four different tours available of this cave but some were not available due to an estimated half million bats hibernating in the lower caves. We were able to see the Dripstone Trail – a one-hour tour that covers nearly half a mile of caverns. The tour was incredible! We were able to see many beautiful natural formations and learn about the history of the cave and it’s exploration.
The lighting inside the cave was well done and even provided information about the cave. Some lights were simply low heat bulbs to prevent algae growth while blue lighting was used to indicate entrances to other rooms. Those rooms weren’t accessible as part of the guided tour we were on.
We will definitely be going back for other tours once they are open again. I highly recommend checking out the Blanchard Springs Caverns if you have the opportunity. You can see more pictures from the tour on our Instagram. They don’t really have an advertising budget so if you know anyone who may be interested in seeing these amazing caverns, please share this post with them.
Mountain View, Arkansas Shops And Restaurants
It was about lunchtime when we left the caverns so we decided to drive into Mountain View which is about 20 minutes away. Here we had lunch at PJ’s Rainbow Cafe – a locally owned American restaurant. The food was great and the sweet tea was even better. We both left stuffed!
After lunch, we walked down the main stretch and visited a few of the shops. The shops in Mountain View, AR are nice, small boutiques where you can find boots, crafts, music, and more. This was a great place to walk around on a nice day and, if you’re lucky, you can find someone pickin’ and grinnin’ in the park. Visit the Mountain View Chamber of Commerce website for more information.
A Cabin With A View
We had reserved a cabin for the night from Hilltop Cabins on Airbnb. When we parked right next to an outhouse which has Melissa a bit concerned but she was fine once she realized that there are bathrooms in the cabins. Our cabin was a studio with an unobstructed view for miles in a quiet area and only a couple of minutes away from the main road in Mountain View.
After checking into our cabin and putting our bags down, we headed back to Blanchard Springs to see the springs and mirror lake area this time. The weather was perfect for an outside hike and we explored the area around the springs as were many other people. We saw a few nice waterfalls and the ruins of an old mill that was formerly used for ground corn and ginned cotton from 1900 to 1928. There is much more to see in this area and we will be returning to hike this area more once when we return to see the other caverns.
The Dulcimer Shoppe – McSpadden Mountain Dulcimers
Our trip wouldn’t have been complete without a visit to the Dulcimer Shoppe. The Dulcimer Shoppe is home to McSpadden Mountain Dulcimers where they have been handcrafting mountain dulcimers since 1962. As soon as we walked in, we could hear a small jam session with two people playing the Appalachian dulcimer. We listened and watched for a couple of songs before exploring the rest of the shop. While we were there, we were given information on upcoming events in the area and told about the Ozark Folk Center which sounded very interesting but was closed for the season. It does open next month so maybe we will catch it on our next trip to the area!
Visit The Ozarks
This was an incredible trip! It was a great opportunity to see the natural beauty of our national forests. We will be returning to see some things that we weren’t able to see on such a short trip and highly recommend a visit to anyone who’d like to experience nature or the laid-back atmosphere of a small town. You can see more pictures from our trip on our Instagram.