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Cameron and Mark Twain Caves, Marion County

Missouri Geological Attractions and Destinations


Missouri has thousands of caves, but Cameron and Mark Twain Caves in the town of Hannibal (visit marktwaincave.com) are unusual maze caves. (more below)
American literature's most famous cavern
Photo courtesy Liz DeCoster of Flickr under Creative Commons license
The town of Hannibal was immortalized as "St. Petersburg" by Mark Twain in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. This included the notorious McDougal's Cave, renamed Mark Twain Cave and turned into a commercial cave in 1886. The owner discovered another cave in 1925, now called Cameron Cave, that is minimally developed. Both caves are fragments of a larger complex that was dissected by erosion. They are unusual, especially among Missouri caves, in being nearly free of speleothems (stalactites and so on). Instead they formed as networks of tall, narrow passages, opened by groundwater, that follow the major joints in the rock. This accounts for their labyrinthine character and relatively dry condition.
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