Ultimate Guide to Old Spanish Treasure Cave, Arkansas (Tours, Pricing, History, Map)
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If you have a penchant for adventure and history, then you cannot go wrong with one of the most beautiful limestone caves in Arkansas – Old Spanish Treasure Cave. Legend has it that somewhere inside the cave is buried the treasures of Spanish Conquistadores. Many attempts and excavations have been made but to no avail, and lastly, the cave was open to the public in the 1930s. The cave is now privately owned and operated and offers guided cave tours throughout the year.
The Old Spanish Treasure Cave is a type of karst cave. Such formations are a topic of geological research. These caves are formed from the water containing carbon dioxide and dissolving limestone. Water cannot dissolve limestone without the help of carbon dioxide. When the limestone has cracks, the water oozes into the rocks, and the cracks start to widen. The cave is finally formed through the process of heating and cooling.
History of Old Spanish Treasure Cave
Old Spanish Treasure Cave in Sulphur Springs is more than just a legend in Arkansas. It is a remarkable piece of history with a story as rich as the ‘treasure’ that is buried in the cave. The story surrounding this cave is more than 350 years old. Shortly after the discovery of the cave, Spanish Conquistadores began searching the New World for riches.
The legend says that a group of intrepid explorers was passing through the NW Ozarks. They seemed lost and were weak from illness and assailed by the natives during an attack. At least one of the Spaniards survived, and he sealed all the cabin entrances. He drew the map on parchment paper and carved another map into a limestone rock within the cave.
Thus, Old Spanish Treasure Cave was sealed with all its secrets. Many years later, in 1885, an old Spaniard re-discovered the cave with the help of old maps. Although he and many others after him scoured the cave extensively for that treasure, they all had to return empty-handed, and they never found the lost treasure (estimated worth is 40 million dollars).
However, many items have been found in the cave over the years, such as helmets, armor, and weapons from that period. A person named George Dunbar found some gold coins and bracelets in the cave way back in 1908. Due to all this treasure hunting, cave was not open to the public till the 1930s. Around 1996 the cave was bought by Paul Linscott. It is a privately owned cave now, active exploration continues even today, and guided tours are offered to the public throughout the year.
Geological Cave Formations
The cave is well lit, but we suggest that you carry a flashlight with you to view the diverse cave formations with relative ease. The cave has stalagmites, soda straws, stalactites, large columns, flowstones, and lots more. The cave formations are graceful, gorgeous, and fascinating to watch.
Wildlife in Old Spanish Treasure Cave
The cave serves as a natural habitat for several small creatures. Cave silkworms, bats, a variety of Salamander, and other small animals and insects have the cave their home for countless centuries.
Is Old Spanish Treasure Cave Haunted?
Old Spanish Treasure Cave cannot be deemed as haunted, but there is no doubt that many mysteries surround this cave. It is speculated that a big haul of treasure was buried in this cave by Spanish Conquistadors. Many have attempted to retrieve that treasure, but nothing has been found. A professionally administered Legends and Ghost Stories Tour is conducted here, wherein you get to learn some of the legends surrounding the cave.
How Big is Old Spanish Treasure Cave?
It is fairly big, although its exact measurements are not available to us.
Old Spanish Treasure Cave Tours
The Guided Tour is a beautiful experience for everybody who is visiting Old Spanish Treasure Cave. It is a one-hour guided tour wherein you will learn about the history of this cave, how the treasure got here, the pieces of evidence and the little treasures that have been found here till date, and how much is being done to unearth that long, lost treasure.
You will fall in love with this fantastic cavern that has a fair share of rooms and passages. It is popularly known as the maze cavern as it has rooms and passages leading everywhere. One would be able to see a variety of geological formations inside the cave. The main highlight of this tour is that you get to see a well-lit cavern and an easy walking trail. And do bring a camera to click pictures of the wonderful formations.
Tour Prices and Discounts
One can buy the tickets for the guided cave tours in person or online.
- Adults (13 years and up) – USD 19.50 + tax
- Children (ages 4 through 12) – USD 10.50 + tax
Is Old Spanish Treasure Cave Cold?
Visitors can expect cool temperatures when they go inside the cave as it stays at a constant 56 degrees F throughout the year.
What to Wear?
As the cave temperature is on the cooler side, visitors can wear closed-toe shoes with soles that have good gripping power. Warm clothes are usually not required, but if you are the type who feels the chill quickly, it is better to carry a light jacket with you to make yourself comfortable.
Old Spanish Treasure Cave Hours
The cave has the following operation hours –
- March 01 to 31 – 9 am to 5 pm (Mon to Sat), 12 to 5 pm (Sundays)
- April to Memorial Day Weekend – 9 am to 5 pm (Mon, Tue, Fri, Sat) 12 to 5 pm (Sundays)
- Memorial Day Weekend to Labor Day Weekend – 10 am to 5 pm (Mon, Tue, Fri, Sat) 12 to 5 pm (Sundays)
- After Labor Day Weekend to October 31st – 10 am to 4 pm (Mon, Tues, Fri, Sat) 12 to 4 pm (Sundays)
What to Do at Old Spanish Treasure Cave (Beside Tours)
People always look forward to the cave tours for an exciting and memorable experience. But you can also indulge in a few other fun activities.
All the kids and the adults look forward to sluicing in the gem panning sluice. The bags are filled with crystals, minerals, and rock. Each bag is unique, and one will never find two bags that are like each other. Getting a bag is a treasure hunt. The bags come for only USD 7 per piece, and they are loaded with fun!
The gift and the rock shop, which is housed inside the log cabin, have a bit of history. The historic building was, at one point in time, a homestead. It has now been converted into a gift and rock shop where you can find a wide variety of souvenirs, handmade jewelry, T-shirts, minerals, fossils, and crystals. The store has an online shopping facility too. So, if you forget something, you can go home and place an order to get it delivered to your home.
Best Time to Visit
The cave has a constant and cool temperature throughout the year, and guided tours are offered almost every day. So, one can come here at any time of the year, but you need to keep in mind the opening and closing hours as they tend to change on special days and per season.
How to Get to Old Spanish Treasure Cave
Old Spanish Treasure Cave is on Highway 59 between Sulphur Springs and Gravette in the northwest corner of Arkansas. You can get a more detailed map here.
Hotels near Old Spanish Treasure Cave
There are quite a few hotels nearby where you can retire for the day. Some of these hotels like Booneslick Lodge, Econo Lodge, and Cedar Lodge Arkansas Resort deserve special mention.
Visiting Old Spanish Treasure Cave
Do you need more information before visiting Old Spanish Treasure Cave? Call (479) 787-6508 or email Old Spanish Treasure Cave for an information packet.
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