Cave Spring, Shannon County, 172.55 acres
With a spectacular river entrance at the base of the bluff, the nearly vertical shaft of water emerges within a small, air-filled room just inside the mouth of the cave emptying an estimated 32 million gallons of water into the Current River each day.
All of the water is coming from an extensive underground spring supply system fed by at least two large storage reservoirs, Devil's Well and Wallace Well. Devil's Well is a public use area owned by the Ozark National Scenic Riverways, National Park Service. Here visitors can descend a short distance into the mouth of a sinkhole and peer into the water-filled cavern below. The surface area of this underground reservoir is larger than a football field and these waters emerge at Cave Spring.
There is also a trail at Devil's Well which connects with Cave Spring and the Current River. This is a moderately difficult 4.6 mile long hike. Leaving the trailhead at Devil's Well this trail takes hikers across hillsides with several small limestone glades, down into moderately steep hollows, across intermittent streams and through a small grove of large, old shortleaf pine overlooking the river valley. At that point hikers follow the trail down to the Current River and mouth of Cave Spring. The return loop climbs back high on the bluff before leading down into Parker Hollow and back up to Devil's Well.
Thomas Hart Benton may be Missouri's most famous painter and depicted the scene at the entrance to Cave Spring in a painting he completed in 1963. Benton's love for America was celebrated in his landscapes of the country and its people. The link below includes an image of Benton's painting which has been reproduced with permission. Cave Spring is owned and managed by the L-A-D Foundation.
Cave Spring is located in Shannon County and may be reached either by river trail or by hiking trail.
- The spring and cave entrance can be reached by floating down the Current River, it is about 4.6 miles below Akers Ferry.
- You may also walk the Cave Spring Trail. The trailhead is located at Devils Well and reached by taking Highway 19 south from Salem into Shannon County then turning right (west) onto Route KK and going about three miles. At that point National Park Service (Ozark National Scenic Riverways) signs will indicate the turn left (south) onto a gravel road. It is about 1-1/2 miles to the trailhead parking.
The area surrounding Cave Spring is part of a larger area along Current River managed by the National Park Service through the Ozark National Scenic Riverways. A map of the area can be found at:https://www.nps.gov/ozar/planyourvisit/maps.htm. Or click here for a printable PDF of the Cave Spring area.