Get Out of the Summer Heat and Into a Cave
When it’s hot out, you might be inclined to stay inside. Instead, how about going underground? There’s a mysterious world just waiting to be explored—caves—and the summer is a great time to check out these marvels. The ground’s temperature stays relatively constant all year long, meaning caving is a great way to beat the seasonal heat.
Keep reading to learn about three premier caving sites in Texas.
Kickapoo Cavern State Park
About 60 miles northwest of Uvalde, you’ll find Kickapoo Cavern State Park, where natural wonders abound. The park has 20 known caves—the two largest are Kickapoo Cavern and Stuart Bat Cave.
Kickapoo Cavern is about 1,400 feet long and is the result of 4 million years of geologic change. It’s known for having the tallest cave column in the state of Texas—over 80 feet high. Stuart Bat Cave is slightly shorter than Kickapoo and is the seasonal home to thousands of Mexican free-tailed bats.
Spend about three hours of your summer day on a guided cave tour at this state park. The cave is undeveloped and is a moderately strenuous underground hiking adventure.
Longhorn Cavern State Park
Just an hour and a half northwest of Texas’ capitol city are 645 acres of rugged Hill Country known as Longhorn Cavern State Park.
The geological forces that created this cavern make it one of the most unique caves in the world. Its walls are mostly smooth because it was shaped by erosion.
The cave has provided shelter since prehistoric times, when area people used the large room next to the main entrance for shelter. Anglo settlers discovered the cavern in the mid-1800s.
You can only access the cave by a guided tour. Choose between a Walking Tour, which is first come, first served, or a Wild Cave Tour, which can be reserved. During the Wild Cave Tour, you’ll crawl and climb through the undeveloped lower level of the cave. Expect to get dirty.
Colorado Bend State Park
Along the Colorado River about 30 miles west of Lampasas you’ll find Colorado Bend State Park. The park is over 5,328 acres and, instead of one or two big caves, there are over 400 smaller ones.
To protect the sensitive eco-system, only a handful of the caves are open for guided tours. Check out the Cave Crawling Tour at the park to explore this underground world. An experienced guide will lead you on an adventure through caves where you’ll crawl, slide, and climb through small spaces and into large chambers. In this cave system, you’ll get to see a lot more wildlife than most others.
Wear sturdy shoes and be prepared to get dirty and soaked. Reservations are required for all cave tours in this park.
Be Safe and Respect the Environment
To protect the caves and the creatures that live in them, unauthorized entry into caves is not allowed.
As with any outdoor activity, it is important to practice Leave No Trace principles and take safety precautions.
- Never go caving alone.
- Let someone know when to expect your return, and where you plan to go (file a caving plan).
- Carry extra lights.
- Don't cave in rainy weather.
- Wear appropriate clothing and shoes.
- Leave the caves the way you find them.