Located 30 miles north of Branson off of Highway 65, Smallin Civil War Cave is the first documented cave in the Ozarks by Henry Rowe Schoolcraft who wrote about it in his journal from 1818. The cave also served as a shelter for a period of time for a young Cherokee Indian boy and his family that got lost during the Trail of Tears. The young boy later became a local surgeon by the name of Dr. Silas Scruggs Stacey after receiving his medical training while serving in the Civil War as a Union soldier or shortly thereafter. There is also strong evidence that the cave was used during the Civil War for war-related activities, possibly as an arsenal for weapons.
The cave is open year-round and operates 7 days a week, offering visitors their choice of several different types of guided tours. The most popular tour is the Smallin Cave One Hour Guided Tour that takes visitors through the cave on a paved path with inclines and ramps only, making it wheelchair and stroller accessible. The tour requires visitors to walk about ½ mile. The guide will cover such topics as the history, folklore and geology of the cave. There will also be opportunities to see the Bristly Cave Crayfish, the endangered Blind Cave Salamander and several other species. The cost of this tour is $15.95 per adult, $8.95 per child and free for children 3 and under.
Also offered are Off Trail Wild Tours, which last 2 hours and requires around a mile of mostly off-trail walking. To participate in this tour, visitors must be ages 12 and up, be able to walk on rugged terrain and at least knee-deep water around 54 degrees, schedule in advance and have a minimum of 4 people. The cost of this tour is $50 per adult and $10 for equipment rental, which includes a helmet and headlamp.
Lasting around 2 hours, Historic Civil War Tours are also available on Saturday evenings during October and must be scheduled and paid for in advance. On this tour, guides dressed in Civil War themed clothing will tell stories around a campfire while visitors eat dinner consisting of beans, cornbread, and fried taters. Afterwards, there will be a cave tour by lantern light. The cost of this tour is $29.95 per person, including the meal.
Only during November and December on Saturday evenings, Civil War Christmas Tours are offered. This tour lasts around 1 ½ hours and includes Christmas lights, Civil War Christmas stories with piping hot cocoa around a campfire and a cave tour by lantern light. The cost of this tour is $19.95 per adult and $12.95 per child. Call ahead to make reservations! On every tour, guests will be enchanted by the rich history, magnificent beauty and unique animals of this landmark! Call to schedule your tour today!