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09/14/2010 - Tour Caves At Columbia Park

Get away from the bustle of everyday life by seeing some of Missouri’s finest karst features such as the rock bridge or by exploring the forests, streams and restored grasslands of Rock Bridge Memorial State Park.

If you have never been to the Rock Bridge Memorial State Park in Columbia, you are missing out on some of the most unique landscaping in the state.

Known for it's many caves, sinkholes and underground streams, the 2,273 acre park has miles of hiking and biking trails, streams and forests to explore.

One of the park's most interesting features is the Devil's Icebox Cave.  Closed from the general public, a couple of times a year it is opened up for guided tours.  You may even be lucky enough to spot and endangered gray bat.

While walking the half-mile Devil’s Icebox Boardwalk, visitors can view the rock bridge, have the opportunity to explore Connor’s Cave on their own, and see an underground stream, small spring and sinkhole. The 15 miles of trails that traverse the 2,273-acre park are always open to hikers and are conditionally open to bicyclists. Hikers and horseback riders can enjoy the serenity of the 750-acre Gans Creek Wild Area. Before riding, visitors should call the trail condition hotline.

Groups can make arrangements to receive a rock bridge/Connor’s Cave tour or other interpretive programs. Devil’s Icebox Cave, with over seven miles of passages, can be explored on park-led wild cave tours by advanced registration only. The park’s orienteering course will challenge adventurous visitors.

Sign up early for the sessions which start April 15.  Fees range from $25-$40 based on level of difficulty.  It is a 3.5 mile round trip tour that will require some crawling or climbing.

Picnic sites, a reservable picnic shelter, and playground equipment make the park a great place for family gatherings. Primitive camping for non-profit youth organizations is available by making advanced reservations.

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