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STATE PARK ADVENTURES

Caving Longhorn Cavern


You can visit anytime, but summer seems like a particularly appropriate time to seek out some fun in the cool confines of a Texas cave. 

Several of our state parks contain caves, and the cave-iest might just be Longhorn Cavern State Park, located in Central Texas northwest of Austin.

Guided tours are the way to see this cave — you can do the traditional walking tour or decide to get a little wilder with a three-hour “wild cave” tour. Either way, it’s an underground adventure.

“The wild cave tour goes through the ‘basement’ of the cave,” says Eric Hattig, guest services manager at Longhorn Cavern. “It’s a good entry-level spelunking adventure. You’ll get a little wet and muddy as you walk, crawl and push yourself through the cave.”

The 1.5-hour walking tour takes visitors 130 feet underground while guides share colorful tales of the geological and human history of the cave.

Millions of years ago, an underground river system — dissolving and flowing through the limestone — formed Longhorn Cavern. Few caverns in the U.S. were formed in this way, Hattig says, “and that makes ours unique.” Key formations include the Queen’s Throne and Hall of Gems.

The human history is unique as well, involving prehistoric people, Native Americans, Anglo settlers, guano miners, Civilian Conservation Corps workers and (when the cave included a dance hall) musicians and dancers.

In a Texas summer, no doubt all of them enjoyed the cave’s constant temperature of 68 degrees.

Above-Ground Fun

The cave is the main attraction, but there’s more to enjoy at this park near the Highland Lakes of Central Texas.

Camping

 Dennis Monk

See the CCC

Admire some of Texas’ best examples of historic Civilian Conservation Corps architecture, such as the former administration building, with its dramatic silhouette and colorful materials.

Paddling

 Dennis Monk

Warbler Walk

The state park contains 1.5 miles of trails through oak and juniper woodlands, home to the endangered golden-cheeked warbler.

Hiking

 Sonja Sommerfeld | TPWD

Visit Nearby Inks Lake

Longhorn Cavern’s sister park, Inks Lake, is 6 miles away, offering swimming, fishing, camping and paddling.

Longhorn Cavern State Park

  6211 Park Road 4 S
Burnet, TX 78611

  Park Admission is free
Cave Tours: $18.95
Kids 4–11: $14.95
Wild cave tour: $94.95

  tpwd.texas.gov/longhorncavern

  (512) 715-9000

Tickets for cave tours can be purchased at visitlonghorncavern.com

 Russell Roe   Top: Sonja Sommerfeld | TPWD

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