The state of Arkansas is generally split into two divides – the highlands in the northwest and the lowlands in the south eastern part – with seven distinct natural regions that include the Ozark Mountains, Ouachita Mountains and Arkansas River Valley. The city of Centerton is located in the heart of some of the most beautiful scenery that this northwest part of the state has to offer so not surprisingly it is a haven for those who enjoy outdoor pursuits and activities including caving – or spelunking as most Americans refer to it – in the many caves that nature has created in the region over the past millennia or more. This recreational pastime has grown in popularity over the past few decades and is now considered an extreme sport, due to the challenging nature of this activity which often involves individuals crawling into the cave systems nature has created, often deep underground. The challenges may vary from cave to cave but this is a specialized sport that requires individuals to use protective wear and equipment while they negotiate pitches, squeezes and even water while exploring subterranean spaces usually in rocky mountain areas. The skills used are similar to those used in mine exploration so this is a hobby that demands certain abilities and experience so it is definitely not for amateurs!
If you are in the Centerton area and want to explore some of the cave systems in the area there are a wide variety for you to choose from however, you do not have to be an experienced caver to find out more about what these ancient caverns have to offer as there are organized tours available too in some of the state parks that attract many visitors throughout the year. Beneath the surface of the Ozarks lies the underworld of limestone caves where an abundance of wonders await you from mazes and crystals to fossils and formations there are as many dazzling natural sights below ground as there are above it. Some caves also have lakes and rivers within them and running through them as well as cave critters like blind trout and salamander however most of them come with a story detailing the cave’s discovery with a local legend or ghost story thrown in for good measure.
The closest cave to Centerton that offers public tours is the War Eagle Cavern which is situated on a secluded site near Beaver Lake and it was used by Native American Indians for centuries, long before the early settlers arrived from Europe. Like all the caves in the area this is a ‘living’ cave which means the formations are still changing and every effort has been made to preserve the cavern and grounds exactly as nature intended. This tour is extremely interesting and informative and lasts approximately forty minutes while the Blanchard Springs Caverns – which are a bit further to get to – is operated by the US Forest Service and offers two guided tours through both of these massive caverns as well as a wild cave tour however the latter is for experienced cavers and those with high levels of physical fitness only.