Devil's Well

Useful Information

Location: Off Route KK near Akers, Devil's Well Road. Steep and rough road not recommended for trailers or large motorhomes.
Open: No restrictions.
Fee: free.
Classification: KarstDoline SpeleologyKarst cave
Light: electric/bring torch
Guided tours:
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.


1952 first explored by the owner, Bill Wallace, and his brother Bob Wallace.
1960s-1970s developed and shown by the Wallace family.
late 1960s mapped by Ozark Spring Studies.
1974 purchased by the National Park Service.


Devil's Well is a huge collapse doline or karst window with a lake at the bottom. It was once developed as a tourist attraction, there was a spiral staircase down into the cave. Today the site is owned by the National Park Service and there is a viewing platform which allows a view down into the daylight shaft. It is not possible to enter the cave, but the visible part has electric light. Nevertheless we recommend to bring a powerful torch.

Devil's Well was owned by the Wallace family during the 1960s. The owners, Bill and Bob Wallace were the first to explore the cave. They constructed a bosun's chair, which is actually just a plank on a rope. A steel cable was lowered from a hand powered winch, and so Bill Wallace, lowered his brother Bob into the hole. The exploration was actually very dangerous, and fortunately there was no accident.

What they had discovered was the largest known natural underground lake in Missouri, 120 m long and 30 m wide. Its surface is 30 m below the surface, the water is about 24 m deep. But the water level fluctuates about three meters depending on the weather.

Soon the Wallaces developed the cave entrance with a spiral staircase into the cave. There was a picnic area and a small shop. Finally they sold the property to the National Park Service in 1974.

During the late 1960s Devil's Well was explored and mapped by the Ozark Spring Studies. There is a single picture, which was taken during the exploration by Michael Tatalovich, which shows this underground lake. The exploration took 62 weekend trips by cavers and cave divers.

The water in this cave flows to the south. Dye tracing showed a connection to Cave Spring at the Current River , about 6 km to the south. There is a hiking trail to the cave from here, which allows to follow the water above ground.