Today, we have officially been on the road for a week! We arrived in Fifty-Six, AR., the home of Blanchard Springs Caverns on Thursday evening. Yesterday we went to the caverns and today we are headed out to the Folk Center State Park, which I will do a post about soon. The caverns really are something you have to see to appreciate and words just can’t do them justice, but I took a few photos that may just let you see a fraction of how gorgeous it is. We took the Dripstone Tour, which is about an hour long and shows you some of the most beautiful sites the caverns have to offer.
Our original plan had been to stay at the campgrounds right there at the caverns, but because we made a little pit stop in Tupelo, MS., the birthplace of Elvis, the campground was full by the time we arrived. So, we were directed to a place called Gunner Pool Campground that is a few miles up the road and about three miles down a gravel road. The gravel made our van filthy and invaded our boxes of stuff, and the campground seemed to be bare bones with only vault toilets. However, the more that we have stayed here the more we have loved it. Yes, there are only vault toilets, but there is access to water for your needs and there is a creek if you just need to clean off. Some of the campsites are better than others, but ours is located (you guessed it) right by one of the restrooms and water with a decent gravel pad. There is an 8.5 mile round trip hiking trail you can take and it is full of beautiful sites.
The real winner at this campground though is the secluded swimming hole. If you go down a short trail by the sites on the lower level, you will find a beautiful swimming hole with no sand or dirt, just thousands of smooth rocks. The water is crystal clear and the whole beach is nestled under a big rock bluff. It really is gorgeous an the boys loved taking a dip, although it was pretty darn chilly right now.
Blanchard Springs offers three different cavern tours, the Discovery, Driptsone and Wild Cave Tours. Rates for these tours start at $10 per person and go up to $75 for the 4-5 hour Wild Cave Tour. There is also access to a short walking trail down to the natural mouth of the cavern, a swimming area and campground on site. Gunner Pool Campground is available on a first come first serve basis and is $7 per night for camping and $3 per day for day use on the honor system.