Every summer, as a part of the ongoing training for the Bridal Cave & Thunder Mountain Park tour guide staff, the crew gets to go into the undeveloped sections of the cave. This takes them across Mystery Lake, which is visible on the regular cave tour, into the Spirit Lake section. This is a full day for the group. Two hours of prep time are necessary to get ready for the trip, hauling in the rope ladders and boats needed for the journey. After that, the trek itself lasts about four hours.
River Wise experienced the trip to Spirit Lake for his very first time this year. "Going across Mystery Lake was an absolutely amazing experience! Getting to see the crystal clear water in Spirit Lake was truly a once in a lifetime experience."
Just imagine it... paddling in a lake 40-feet wide and 140-feet long, half a mile underground, to see the big hidden lake. Spirit Lake itself is 80 feet wide and 600-feet long! Did you have any idea that was hidden inside our magnificent cave? Less than 500 people have ever been in the section of Bridal Cave that our team explores each year.
It's not an easy adventure, but everyone that takes it knows that the experience is definitely worth the effort. It is not uncommon for several participants to drop out partway through the tour due to the difficulty involved. The crew must climb 60-foot ladders, paddle boats, free-climb about 20-feet, plus do lots of crawling through the smaller spaces. There is no light past Mystery Lake, so headlamps are used to explore these undeveloped sections. Of the 17 that started the trip this year, 14 were able to complete it.
Joel Jones was the trip leader this time around, and it was his third time taking this magical journey. "Even though it was my third time across Mystery Lake, I am always in awe of the pure spectacle of Paradise Island. Somehow I have been privileged enough to share the experience with others by leading this expedition."
Paradise Island is the name given to the rooms inside the cave that are located between Mystery Lake and Spirit Lake. It may take some work to get to, but it's an unbelievable and memorable sight for those that make it. There are things to see in the darker, unexplored sections of the cave that aren't found towards the front where it is open to the public.
The photos and videos in today's blog are just a sample of what the staff at Bridal Cave & Thunder Mountain Park got to experience on this very special tour. If you'd like to find out more about their adventure, come on out to America's most scenic cave tour and ask them all about it. The staff is always excited to share the stories from this once in a lifetime experience with our visitors.
When you're ready to take your own much more relaxed walk through this gorgeous cave, our family friendly Lake of the Ozarks attraction is open daily at 9 am. Tours leave every few minutes all day long and last about an hour. It's a wonderful time for people of all ages and pure Family Fun... As It Should Be!
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526 Bridal Cave Road
Camdenton, MO 65020