Bluff Dweller's Cave

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Bluff Dweller's Cave
Map showing the location of Bluff Dweller's Cave
Map showing the location of Bluff Dweller's Cave
Location McDonald County, Missouri, United States
Coordinates 36°31′08″N 94°29′13″W / 36.51883°N 94.48699°W / 36.51883; -94.48699Coordinates: 36°31′08″N 94°29′13″W / 36.51883°N 94.48699°W / 36.51883; -94.48699
Length over 4,000 feet (1,200 m)
Discovery 1925
Geology Karst cave, Saint Joe Limestone
Entrances 2
Access March - October
9:00 am to 5:00 pm

Bluff Dweller's Cave is a show cave located in Noel, Missouri. It was developed by channels of water flowing through joints in the St. Joe Limestone during the Paleozoic Era.[1] The cave's passages total over 4,000 ft in length, with one entrance beneath a limestone outcropping of the bluff and a second entrance later discovered about 60 yards away under the rubble from a landslide.


The cave was formed during an active period, when the ground water table was at the height of the cave, and great amounts of water flew through the cave. The impressive river passages of the cave were formed. The Ozark uplift continued and so the cave became dry. The formation of speleothems started, and the cave was accessible to prehistoric man. Later, continuing erosion by tremors and weathering, caused the collapse of the entrance section.[1]

Only 50% of the cave is developed, the remaining areas preserved for wildlife. The cave has several recognized speleothems, like cave corals and the dam in a rimstone pool which is 2.5 cm thick, 30 cm high and 22.8 meters long, one of the largest in the state.


The cave was found and explored in 1925 by the owner of the property, Arthur Browning and two surveyors employed by the highway department, Bob Ford and Bryan Gilmore. Excavation began in 1927. During excavation, substantial artifacts were discovered, including arrowheads, grinding stones, tools made of bone and skeletal remains of the early native American inhabitants,[2] that date back to as early as 5000 B.C. Public tours began in 1927 and after over 80 years the cave is still owned and operated by the Browning family.[3]