On the outskirts of Thayer, Missouri lies Grand Gulf State Park. Known as “Missouri’s Little Grand Canyon”, it consists of a cave that has collapsed and allows visitors to have a breathtaking view into the abyss. You can walk the trails, or you can do like we did and search the two caves at the bottom. If planning this trip, bring plenty of supplies and be sure you are in good physical condition because it is very exhausting. Metal detecting is not allowed but exploring it is just as exhilarating. As we descended in to the ravine, the thought of being rescued in an emergency seemed like a joke and we knew that we were on our own since it was very cold and there were not any visitors to be seen. There are two major parts to Grand Gulf. First, there is the cave that allows water to drain into an underground lake, and there is also a natural bridge that formed when two sides of the cave collapsed but left the middle intact. We explored the actual cave first. Initially, it was like any other cave; cold, dark, and muddy. Then, a huge debris field full of sticks, limbs and logs blocked the way. If you are able to pass this obstacle you will enter the main chamber and come to a pool of water that is extremely creepy to say the least. In the 1900’s Ms Luella Agnes Owen explored the cave before it was blocked with debris and documented the breathtaking sight in her book Cave Regions Of The Ozarks and Black Hills. We went as far as possible and realized that it might be possible to dive below the water and enter through an underground tunnel. The problem is that there is so much debris, diving would be disastrous! We turned around and headed to the other cave which is just a segment of what remains. It is extremely interesting and once you go through it, the other side opens up into a 100″+ tall opening. You can spend a whole day crawling around the bottom but don’t try to walk from the stairs to the cave, or from the cave to the stairs because there is a large rock formation blocking the path, If you are in good physical health you could climb this obstacle but always remember that if you get injured, it’s a long, arduous hike back to the top. Good luck and enjoy this fantastic, natural wonder!
Thanks to Jody Shakelford, Hardy, AR for feeding the bear! LOL! Thanks to Alicia Rogers for enduring the trip and taking the pics!