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With more than 5,000 caves, Missouri has more subterranean beauty than any other state. And Onondaga Cave State Park has one of the most beautiful of these caverns. In 1900 a mining company bought the cave and planned to mine onyx and banded calcite. Fortunately for us, the project proved too difficult and this beautiful cave next to the Meramec River remained undamaged.
Onondaga Cave opened to the public during the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair. It became an especially popular attraction when Lester Dill operated it in the 1950s. Before he died in 1980, Dill hoped the cave would become a state park. In 1981, through purchase by the Nature Conservancy and a subsequent transfer to the Department of Natural Resources, Onondaga became Missouri's newest natural gem.
The campground at Onondaga is especially laid-back for a state park. You can choose either an open and grassy camping loop next to the Meramec River or a more shady and secluded loop away from the stream. Sites 1-17, where all the electric sites are located, are in the riverside loop. Although only a few sites here are shady, a cooling dip in the Meramec River is only a few feet away. All sites are level and spacious but not very private. Grassy and open, they are best for campers with several tents.