Meramec Caverns is the largest cave in Missouri that conducts guided tours by trained rangers. Located in Stanton, Missouri in the LaJolla Natural Park, the Caverns are rich in history, as well as beauty. The cave was discovered by a miner looking for gold in the 18th century, but he found saltpeter instead, a mineral used in the manufacture of gunpowder. That led to the cave being used during the Civil War as a gun powder mill by the Union. Legends have it that Jesse James also used the caverns on a number of occasions as a hideout in the early 1870's.
Meramec Caverns has been a sightseers delight since 1933 when it was first opened to the public. Travelers on Route 66 did not have a hard time finding it because the owner, Lester B. Dill, used a unique way of advertising. Along Route 66 he would make an offer to farmers whose barns were in need of a paint job. His offer was that he would paint the barn if the farmer would also allowed him to paint the roof with an advertisement directing travelers to come to his Meramec Caverns. He was also the inventor of the bumper sticker and anyone who visited his Caverns got a bumper sticker. Those bumper stickers promoted Meramec Caverns all across America.
Today concrete paved trails allow visitors to explore 1 1/4 miles of the caverns and the spectacular formations made by thousand of years of water and mineral deposits. The Stage Curtain, America's number one cave scene, is an extraordinary mineral deposit which measures 70 feet high, 60 feet wide and 35 feet thick and is the backdrop to a light and music show given during the cave tour. Meramec Caverns is open daily, except Thanksgiving and Christmas. Admission is charged.
Other amenities include a restaurant located inside the Caverns, the Meramec Caverns Motel, canoeing and riverboat rides on the Meramec River, and camping at the Meramec Caverns' LaJolla Natural Park/Campground. See website for more information on lodging, for the current seasonal hours and for current tour rates.
1135 Highway W
Stanton, MO 63080
(Interstate 44, Exit 230)