Cosmic Cavern in North, Arkansas - Atlas Obscura

Cosmic Cavern

North, Arkansas

The warmest cave in the Ozarks features two seemingly bottomless lakes. 

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Cosmic Cavern has known many names: Moore’s Cave, Mystery Cave, Maple Springs Cave, and Johnson Cave, to name a few. Stumbled upon in an attempt to mine lead, the cave was instead mined for calcite. (Model T Ford gear shifts were made of calcite from Cosmic Cavern.)

The cave contains many unique features, including the longest known soda straw in the Ozark Mountains, at nin feet long. One of the two bottomless lakes is the largest cave lake in the Ozarks. A cave diver attempted to find the bottom by throwing his air tank down a crevasse and shimmying further. While he survived the attempt, he did not manage to find the bottom, and no more cave dives were permitted.

But what makes the cave so unique is the secret area discovered in 1993 via dynamite. A hole in the cave suggested another room behind the end. This hypothesis was correct; the new chamber held untouched features and an additional bottomless lake. This makes a great comparison between what man’s effect on the cave ecosystem looks like. The first part of the cave is covered in soot, invasive algae, and broken formations.  The new chamber is pristine, with some features completely transparent.

Know Before You Go

Check the website for open hours and admission information.

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June 15, 2023

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