25 Things to Do in Rogers
#14: War Eagle Cavern
War Eagle Cavern features a beautiful natural entrance right along the shores of Beaver Lake. The cave is wheelchair and stroller friendly and great for all ages. Experience all that the Cavern has to offer with a morning or afternoon fun for all
War Eagle Cavern has only been open to the public since 1978, but the cave has been around far longer. According to staff, Indians inhabited the cave hundreds of years before the first settlers came to the area. The availability of fresh water from the underground spring that flows through the cave made this an ideal home for many families during the Great Depression as well.
Touring the Cavern
The tour starts by the gift shop, or trading post as they call it. A paved path along the bluffs of Beaver Lake with a spectacular view at Eagle Point, which is a 40 foot high lookout over the cove, leads you to the entrance of the cave. Once you make it to the opening of the cavern, you feel a sudden drop in temperature, which feels great on a warm, sunny day. The cave is about 58 degrees year-round.
Following the easy, wide open pathways along the edges of the stream flowing throughout the cavern, the guide will lead the way through huge rooms, explaining the incredible “domes” and other formations and relating entertaining stories of warriors, robbers, moonshiners, squatters and partiers who used the cavern over the years. Stalagmites, stalactites and Arkansas crystals that had been forming for millions of years are sites you won’t want to miss while visiting the cavern.
The half-mile tour includes an incredible view of the waterfall in the newly expanded rim stone dam room. The Crystal Hallway leads to Mirror Lake and the passages beyond. Just make sure you watch your head and don’t run into “headache rock”. If you are adventurous and want to go beyond Mirror Lake (where the public tour ends), you can sign up for a Wild Cavern Tour. This mildly strenuous tour is about three hours long. You will most likely get to see huge colonies of bats and climb through small passage ways, which means you will be muddy and wet.
War Eagle Cavern is home to over 75,000 bats! The two main species that inhabit the cave are the eastern pipestrelle bat and the gray bat. The most commonly seen bat is the small eastern pipestrelle. These small bats spend all year in the cavern, using the ceiling as a roost during the day in the summer months, and they hibernate in the cavern from November through March. The tiny little bats are harmless and are neat to see and watch.
The other common species is the gray bat. These bats are usually found further back in the cave. The gray bats use War Eagle Cavern as a maternity roost during the spring months. Over 30,000 females roost in single colony, nurturing their babies until they are old enough to fly around the first of July. This is why the spelunking tours aren’t offered until mid-summer.
Other War Eagle Fun
After exploring the cavern and hiking the trails, head back up to the trading post for gem panning. In the gift shop, you can buy a bag of dirt filled with treasures for kids (and kids at heart) to find using the War Eagle Mining Co. panning tools. You might find fools gold, amethyst, crystal points and 20 different types of gemstones.
If you’ve worked up an appetite, bring a picnic lunch to enjoy along a trail or at a picnic table. There’s also a Lost in the Woods Maze and a really unique gift shop if you’re looking for something to commemorate your trip. The newest addition at the Cavern is the Moonshiners’ Mystery Shack. Experience gravity gone wrong as water rolls uphill and people walk at strange angles.
Directions and Hours
War Eagle Cavern is located one-half mile off Highway 12, midway between Eureka Springs and Rogers. You can actually get there by boat or car! Click here for directions. War Eagle Cavern is open March 5th through Thanksgiving Weekend Monday through Sunday from 9:30am to 5pm with the last tour leaving at 4pm.