Legend of Bridal Cave ...
Centuries before the paleface found his way into the Ozark
Mountains, this vicinity was inhabited by the Osage Native
Within the Osage tribe many smaller tribes were formed. The
following incident is a legend which brought romance and tragedy
to this section of the Ozarks and gave the names to many places
as they are known today.
Conwee, son of Chief Neongo of the Big Hills (a tribe of the
Osage group, which lived on the north shore of what is now known
as Ha Ha Tonka State Park), fell in love with Wasena, daughter
of Elkhorn, Chief of the Little Hills, who lived on the north
side of the Osage River near the junction of the Niangua, and
greatly desired that she become his wife. Neither Wasena nor
her father looked with favor on his intentions, Conwee however
was not to be discouraged. He left his camp at Ha Ha Tonka one
dark night with a number of his braves, crossed the Osage River
near the junction of the Niangua and kidnapped Wasena and her
companion, Irona. Hastily, recrossing the Osage River, Conwee
started back to Ha Ha Tonka. As dawn approached and threatened
to reveal them to their pursuers, they decided to stop at the
cave, now known as Bridal Cave, and conceal their captives.
After a short time in the cave, Wasena eluded her captors and
ran swiftly toward a high cliff that towers two hundred feet
above the Niangua River. When Conwee had her almost within his
grasp. she reached the edge of the cliff and without even a
backward glance sprang over the the brink into the valley below,
choosing death rather than life with one she did not love. From
that day forward this cliff has been known as "Lover's Leap".
fate of Wasena's companion, Irona, was very different. She had
long loved Prince Buffalo, another son of Chief Neongo of the
Big Hills Tribe, and brother of Conwee. After a period of
mourning over the death of Wasena was ended, Irona and her
Prince Buffalo chose to be married in the cave where she and
Wasena had been held captive in the beautiful stalactite -
studded room now known as the Bridal Chapel, and gave the name
"Bridal Cave" to the scene of the nuptials.
from "Indian Romances" by
Col. R.G. Scott
folklore tells the legend ...
Centuries ago the Osage Native Americans discovered the
pristine beauty that lies beneath Thunder Mountain. Local folklore
tells of a legendary
Native American wedding ceremony held in the cave in the early 1800s.
Today this magnificent natural
wonderland is called Bridal Cave. In keeping with the tradition of
the Native American legend, the Cave can be reserved for a romantic
wedding chapel. Over 3,000 couples from around the world have
exchanged vows in the stalactite adorned Bridal Chapel. Chapel available by
Discovering the secret of
"Mystery Lake" ...
Word spread fast among the pioneering settlers of this wondrous
cavern. After decades of primitive exploration, this astounding
natural treasure was officially protected in 1948 for generations to
come. Ongoing exploration of this massive cavern recently uncovered
chambers of incomparable beauty including the crystal clear waters
of Mystery Lake. Two
years of painstaking development were needed to reveal the once
rumored passages. Now visitors can experience the intriguing marvel
that only a handful have seen.
Rated as one of the most
scenic caves in America ...
Guided tours leave every few minutes and
last approximately one hour. Tours are conducted over concrete
pathways through the Cave's refreshing 60 degree environment.
Park interpreters will lead you and your family through room after
room of incredible mineral deposits. Giant columns, delicate soda
straws and massive draperies abound throughout the cave. Millions of
years of struggle between water and rock have created this cavern
with more onyx formations than any other known cave or cavern. In
fact thousands of school children each year explore Bridal Cave as
part of their educational program. A tour through Bridal Cave
is a family adventure you will never forget.
Mountain Park Facilities ...
The park facilities include:
The Ozark's largest lakeside Gift Shop, Lakeside viewing
decks, nature trails, picnic areas, public boat dock,
observation tower, snack center, and Thunder Mountain Mining
Company, a unique rock and mineral shop specializing in
rocks, minerals, gemstones and educational materials for
rock hounds of all ages. Gemstone mining where you pan for
semi precious minerals and get to keep all the treasurers
New for 2016!
Thunder Mountain Sportswear Shop, Outdoor waterfall and