The Smallin Civil War Cave, Springfield Missouri

Cave entrance was hidden during the Civil War era. Could this be where wepons were stored before the Battle of Wilsons Creek?

Summer is the best time to see a cave. The cave temperature is a cool escape from a sultry summer day. Rainy days won’t stop your tour in the cave state. Enjoy a fun and fascinating excursion deep into Civil War history and discover the modern day science in this living cave.

The Tour
Smallin Cave One-Hour Guided Tour
Adults $15.95, Children ages 4-12 $8.95, 3 and under free
The tour takes approximately one hour. The one half mile walk has inclines and ramps but no stairs.

Your guide will show and tell about the history, folklore, and geology of Smallin Cave. Guests will have the opportunity to spot the rare Bristly Cave Crayfish an endangered Blind Cave Salamanders, or harmless bat.

Smallin walkwaySmallin Cave was the first documented cave in the Ozarks. In 1818, Henry Rowe Schoolcraft wrote a great deal about the Smallin cave in his journal. Schoolcraft was a notable explorer in the United States. Smallin Cave was home to Osage Indians, and it is likely that Cherokee Indians also lived here.

Smallin Cave is teaming with unusual and endangered life. You can find blind cave salamanders, bristly cave crayfish and the occasional bat. Church groups, school groups, and local families have used this cave for social activities, fruit and vegetable cellar, and clay gathering to chink their log cabins and to make pottery.

Strong evidence suggests Smallin Cave was used for union activities. There was a Union encampment on the Finley river, very close to the town of Ozark; according to the stories, many skirmishes occurred between local Confederate sympathizers and the occupying troops.

Some folks say ammunition and artillery were stored in Smallin Cave. The occupying Union troops supposedly did this to amass lots and lots of artillery equipment for the planned battle of Wilson’s Creek, 12 miles to the west.

Smallin Cave mining for goldFor the kids –  call in advance to arrange for fossils and gems mining opportunity for the kids. Climb through the crawl fort before seeing the cave. (There is no crawling in the cave.)

smallin fort


Special Fall Civil War Tour – Smallin Civil War Cave offers a Civil War Tour September through November on Friday & Saturday evenings.

Gather around the campfire at 7:00 pm Friday and Saturday evenings for a meal of ham and beans, cornbread, and fried potatoes. Listen to stories about Civil War in the Ozarks, Smallin Cave’s part in the war, and even a spooky story or two about the Baldknobbers. After dinner, guests are led to the cave by lantern light.

The $29.95 price includes tour and meal. Reserve by Friday before noon to save your spot and your meal. Call of Email for more information 417-551-4545. Check on line for Christmas programs and group tours.

Getting There – Smallin Civil War Cave
3575 North Smallin Road, Ozark, Missouri 65721 phone: 417-551-4545
Email – [email protected]
Smallin Civil War Cave is located 6 miles south of Springfield, MO and only 30 miles north of Branson, MO off highway 65.

Where to stay A Green Hilton Garden Inn Springfield Missouri Branson, is only 37 miles away. While we were at Hilton Garden Inn, I met a couple of travelers who were enjoying Silver Dollar City and the Hamner Barber Theater, avoiding Branson’s bumper-to-bumper traffic, and staying at the Hilton Garden Inn in Springfield. They were actually spending less time and gas by using the Branson Map – 2013, the color-coded alternate routes.

Civil War Link – Visit Wilson’s Creek. Read more on Striped Pot Civil War Battle of Wilson’s Creek, Springfield Missouri Wilson’s Creek was the site of the first major battle west of the Mississippi River. General Nathaniel Lyon was killed, the first Union general to die in combat. There were more than 2,300 Union casualties and 1,100 Confederates lost.

A beautiful site. Excellent for hiking, bicycling, horseback riding. Bring a picnic and spend the day.

For more Springfield informationSpringfield Tourist Information Center:  3315 E. Battlefield Road, Springfield, MO 65804. Downtown Visitor Information Center: 815 E. Saint Louis St., Suite 100, Springfield, MO 65806. (800) 678-8767 or (417) 881-5300 – fax (417) 881-2231, Email.