Onondaga Cave State Park, Leasburg

4.6
#33 of 85 in Nature in Missouri
Onondaga Cave State Park is a Missouri state park located on the Meramec River approximately southeast of the village of Leasburg. The park was established in 1982. Park activities include cave tours, camping, fishing, hiking, picnicking, and swimming.HistoryIn 1850, the area was settled by George and Statirah Cresswell, who moved to the region from Washington County, Missouri with her adopted family. The family built a mill on the Meramec River near Saranac Springs. When a large flood destroyed Cresswell's mill in 1881, the property was purchased by William Henry Rollision Davis. A new mill was built on the property further away from the river at Davis Spring (now Onondaga Spring).In 1886, while studying the outlet of the spring that powered the new mill, a local resident by the name of Charles Christopher discovered that a cave existed behind the spring. With a borrowed boat and two of his friends (John Eaton and Mitis Horine), Christopher entered the cavern and spent an entire day exploring the tunnels within the property. Inspired by their adventure, Christopher and Eaton acquired the land over the cave and began developing their discovery as the "Mammoth Cave of Missouri", spawning a property dispute with Davis that lasted more than fifty years.At the time, "cave onyx" was in demand for architecture, and many caves in the area were being harvested for this purpose. Funds for development of the cave was something neither Christopher or Eaton could spare. Unable to decide whether to continue the cave as a mine or as a tourist destination, the pair had the cave surveyed in 1897 for mining but also gave tours to make the money needed to develop the caverns further. Arthur Hitch, one of the first tourists in the cave system, released a publication about the cave using Eaton's own flash-powder photographs.
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Onondaga Cave State Park Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
63 reviews
Google
4.7
TripAdvisor
  • This park is relatively close to my home, so I visit multiple times throughout the year. Onondaga Cave is the obvious centerpiece of the park, but the trails looping through the hills and rock formati...  more »
  • Onondaga campground is a very pretty spot for camping. This is a beautiful state park. The bathrooms and showers are clean with hot water. There are plenty of trails for hiking. There is an outfitter ...  more »
  • Cave is great, but the campground is disappointing. The area does flood in high water, but I wish the state would develop the ground on the hills near the cave with nice 2 bedroom one bath cabins with...  more »
Google
  • Very nice park. Everything is clean and well kept. There are several hiking trails that vary on skill level
  • Beautiful park, nice walking trails, clean bathrooms and hot showers, recycling program, kids activities and playground. Wish we had found this in the summer, looking forward to coming back during the open season to see the visitor center and the caves. We enjoyed the scenery, tranquility, and it was a short drive to get to any area restaurants or grocery stores- so prepare before you hit the campground. Camping spaces are well maintained, there are sites with electric and reservations can be made ahead of time.
  • Amazing cave tour!!! Approximately 1 hour long walk through a beautiful cave system. Paved walkways and electric lights (no flash light needed). Pro tip: go to the bathroom before you go on the tour. If you really have to go pee ( I was going to piss in my pants) just drop to the back of the group and go pee when everyone else is in front of you!
  • This place is awesome! Beautiful private spaces. Well wooded area. Very clean park. RV dump easy access. Great hiking trails. River and creeks running threw camp. Camping host were very friendly! They deliver ice and firewood to your site. Laundry room available, $2.00 a load, no change machines. Soda machines available. Very nice playground. Cave was closed until mid april (missed it by a week) 😞. Kind of bumbed because we were staying there for the cave. Lady at visiting center felt bad and had camp host give us free passes to the cave for our next visit. Our dog had a blast swimming in a large pond. No wifi, no cell service. You do get some cell service on the hiking trail. I can't wait to return! Plenty of room for big rigs. We Have a 42ft 5th wheel and had no problem.
  • Very nice state park and campground. Good rates, good for family quite and the river runs through the park. Cave tour also for the mole people to see. Been there about 6 times and never been full, were are drop-in campers so it works well for us.
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