What to do in Onondaga Cave State Park

**All information provided by www.mostateparks.com**

The natural beauty that characterizes Missouri is more than skin deep. Missouri, the Cave State, has more than 5,500 caves, and some of the state's most scenic natural wonders lie beneath the surface – in caves. One Missouri cave stands out above the rest – Onondaga Cave in Onondaga Cave State Park.

Deep underground there is a world that nature has created using water to form deposits of tall stalagmites, dripping stalactites, active flowstones and many other colorful deposits. Onondaga Cave, a National Natural Landmark, and Cathedral Cave showcase these natural wonders, which can be viewed during cave tours.

There is also plenty of natural beauty to enjoy above ground at the park. Vilander Bluff Natural Area provides visitors with a panoramic view of the Meramec River. Come and take a hike through the Meramec River valley, canoe or fish in the Meramec River or enjoy a picnic lunch. Learn about the park's natural resources above and below the earth's surface through exhibits inside the visitor center.

The park's campground offers both basic and electric/water campsites, many of which are reservable.

Onondaga Cave State Park Campground InformationOnondaga Cave State Park campground offers basic and electric/water campsites, reservable sites and a special-use camping area. Electricity is available year-round. Hot showers and laundry facilities are available from April through October. A dump station for RVs is located next to the showerhouse. The campground also contains a playground and an amphitheater, where nature programs are presented during the on-season. Firewood may be purchased for $3 by the bundle at the wood lot in the campground from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.

For reservations, there is a required minimum stay for weekends and major holidays from May 15 through Sept. 15.

Special-Use Area InformationA special-use camping area is available for recognized youth groups. It is located about one mile from the main campground. This area has no electricity or water. The cost is $1 per person per night. Reservations can be made for this area through the park office by calling (573) 245-6576.

Recreation
Visitors to Onondaga Cave State Park can tour both Onondaga and Cathedral caves.

Onondaga Cave Tours (cave map) Trained guides lead visitors over electrically lighted paved walkways and provide information about geologic wonders such as the King's Canopy, the Twins, and other unusual speleothems. With an interesting history and a river flowing through the cave, Onondaga Cave is a spectacular registered National Natural Landmark.

Onondaga Cave tours leave from the visitor center and are available from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (last tour leaving at 4 p.m.) June through August and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. March through May and September through October. They are walking tours, just less than one mile long, and last about one hour and 15 minutes. The cave's temperature is 57ºF (13ºC) year-round, so, bring a jacket and comfortable shoes.

Tours are given every Saturday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. and Sunday at 10:30 a.m. Memorial Day through Labor Day and by special arrangement. Tours are given on Saturdays at 1 p.m. and Sundays at 10 a.m. during April, May, September and October. It is a lantern tour that lasts approximately two hours. The tour begins at the campground showerhouse and includes a short one-third mile walk up Deer Run Trail to the cave's entrance. The cave tour itself lasts about an hour and 30 minutes. The remaining time is spent traveling on the trail to and from the cave entrance. The cave temperature is 57ºF (13ºC). The tour is limited to the first 30 people. It is more strenuous than the Onondaga Cave tour and covers one and two-thirds miles round trip.

Fishing The word Meramec comes from an Indian word for catfish. The river and oxbow lake offer opportunities for fishing. Along with catfish, there are bluegill, crappie, drum and smallmouth bass. Gigging for hogsuckers is a popular activity on fall evenings. Fishing licenses and bait are not available at the park.

Boat Launch Onondaga Cave State Park maintains a canoe launch and boat ramp for the use of visitors who have their own craft. Canoe rental is not available within the park. Canoes or rafts may be rented from a number of liveries in the area. The nearest locations will be in Leasburg, Bourbon, Cuba and Steelville. The canoe launch is located in the picnic grounds downstream from the Meramec River bridge. The boat ramp is located upstream from the bridge.

Other Amenities This information is not available online at this time. Please call the park office at (573) 245-6576 to request this information.

Picnic Area/Playground A day-use area is available for picnics. The picnic area is located along the Meramec River with picnic tables and a charcoal grill at each site. The picnic shelter may also be used if it has not been previously reserved. The picnic shelter is located alongside the lake on the road to the campground. Water and electricity are available as well as charcoal grills for cooking and picnic tables. The picnic shelter may be reserved through the park office for $30 per day.

A new playground made of recycled plastic products was constructed in 2004 in the campground.

Swimming The Meramec River has a number of popular swimming holes. However, the river is not within the park and no lifeguard is on duty. All swimming is at your own risk

Location
7556 Hwy. HLeasburg, MO 65535

Climate
Missouri experiences four distinct seasons with an average yearly temperature of 54 degrees F. Summer temperatures reach 90 degrees F often and are plagued with high humidity levels. Nighttime lows during the summer dip slightly near 70 degrees. September brings cooler fall weather with less humidity. By October nights begin to cool significantly and the fall foliage changes to brilliant hues of orange, red and yellow. Winter months bring an average of 24 inches of snow and normal temperatures average between 20 and 45 degrees F. Spring is characterized by wet weather with temperatures reaching between 32 and 60 degrees F.

Address
7556 Hwy. H
Leasburg, MO 65535

Phone: 573-245-6576

  • Onondaga Cave State Park Travel Q&A

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