Thursday, November 12, 2015

Explore Thunder Mountain Park

The most scenic cave tour in Missouri is surrounded by the natural beauty of Thunder Mountain Park.  This incredible Lake of the Ozarks attraction covers hundreds of acres.  It spreads over more than a mile of Lake of the Ozraks shoreline, a mile of highway frontage along Old Missouri Route 5, and all the acreage in between.  That is a lot of nature to be explored!


Establishing the park


Thunder Mountain Park was established in 1950 in order to protect the caves within it.  The amazing colors and incredible onyx formations inside of Bridal Cave are all formed by minerals from rain water that seeps into the ground. This is a process called deposition.  Preserving the natural state of the park above the cave prevents any changes to the surface area, which could have a detrimental impact on the deposition process.  Protecting the surface area protects the water quality, which in turn protects the cave.    
Aerial view of Thunder Mountain before 1950


A unique, rural attraction



Bridal Cave is just one of many caves inside of Thunder Mountain Park.  There are actually 11 caves here, including Bear Cave, which is found along a half-mile lakeside nature trail.  This trail offers unique rock outcroppings and spectacular lake views.  You can arrange to take a flashlight tour of Bear Cave as a part of our 2-hour educational field trip tour. (This is by reservation only for groups of 15 or more.)      

One very unique fact about this family attraction at the Lake of the Ozarks is that it is within a very rural setting.  Many of the local attractions at the Lake are surrounded my mini-golf courses, shopping malls, and restaurants.  When you visit Thunder Mountain Park, you are likely to pass houses with children playing in the yard and riding bikes instead of those other touristy things.  





Once inside the park area, you may catch glimpses of an abundance of wildlife.  Sightings are often reported of whitetail deer, bald eagles, turkeys, red foxes, squirrels, and groundhogs.  It is very accurate to describe a trip here as a back to nature experience that is reminiscent of the Ozark Mountains as they were decades ago. 

Thunder Mountain Park is full of complex plant and animal communities.  It contains glades and savannas. Depending on which part of the park that you are in, you will experience a variety of sights.  The south side gets the most sunlight, so it gets green the fastest in the spring, but dries up the quickest in the summer.  The north side gets the least sun exposure, so it stays moist much longer.  If you make your way down to the hollow, the temperatures will be just a bit cooler than elsewhere in the park.  These differences attribute to the particular plants and animals that choose to live in different sections of the park.




So much to explore


Thunder Mountain Park is a great day outdoors that can be visited many times for a wonderful day full of nature fun.  Its includes:


  • Bridal Cave tours
  • an underground wedding chapel
  • a lakeside wedding pavilion
  • a boat dock where you can feed the fish (no fishing allowed)
  • a lakeside picnic pavilion with seating for up to 80
  • a scenic lookout over the Big Niangua Arm of the Lake of the Ozarks
  • a working sluice where you can pan for gemstones
  • a souvenir shop
  • an extensive rock and mineral shop

  
In the center of Thunder Mountain Park is the Thunder Mountain Conservation Area.  This spot is operated by the Missouri Department of Conservation and includes: 

  • a visitors center
  • 3/4-mile nature trail
  • archery lanes
  • picnic facilities
  • a 100-foot tall fire tower, with a viewing platform at 80-feet  
Thunder Mountain Conservation Area 

The future


Plans are well-underway for improvements and additions to the park.  These include:
  • additional landscaping
  • new park benches
  • new picnic tables
  • a waterfall
  • a botanical garden

Thunder Mountain Park is already a spectacular place to explore.  The work that is currently being done on this amazing Lake of the Ozarks attraction is turning it into an even more incredible place to spend an eventful day.  Visit us soon to enjoy all that our park has to offer, and please come back often.  With all of the wildlife, natural beauty, and seasonal changes that the Lake area has to offer, you are sure to have a different adventure every time that you visit.  

      


One of America's most scenic 
cave tours.

Visit us at www.BridalCave.com
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526 Bridal Cave Road
Camdenton, MO 65020
(573) 346-2676


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