If you like two-lane roads with lots of hills and curves, the shortest way to Thunder Mountain Park/Bridal Cave near Camdenton, Mo. is via MO-7, and that’s the route we took on our way to the Park and Cave on a somewhat overcast but pleasant mid-Saturday morning.
There is a scenic overlook on Thunder Mountain where one or two cars can park parallel to the railing right before finishing the downhill drive to the parking lot for visitors to the Bridal Cave.
Boaters were having a great time on the lake, and people waiting inside for the tour of the cave to begin could feast their eyes on many and varied gemstones for sale, either individually or entwined artistically into unique and lovely necklaces.
Price of the hour-long tour, $16.00 per adult. One “highlight” of the tour was when there were no lights at all for what seemed a long time but probably only a minute. Standing in a dark cave more than 300 feet underground surrounded by 20 or so strangers you can “feel” around you but cannot see, let alone your own hand in front of your face, is not an everyday experience.
Thousands of people either marry or renew their wedding vows in the cave every year. Yet even on an ordinary day it’s a worthwhile destination but recommended only for those who have no problem walking for 30 minutes in, and 30 minutes out going up, around and over craggy walkways plus having to stoop over to lower than 4’6″ to avoid serious head injuries at several points. And, then there’s the tight squeeze through a few places, so best not to eat dessert before taking the tour.
After lunch in nearby Camdenton, we took hwy 54 out of town and connected with Hwy 65N for the rest of the way home. A little longer and a few more miles, but fewer hills and curves.