The landscape of the Texas Hill Country is certainly a stunner with its rolling hills, bluebonnet fields, lakes, and spectacular sunsets. But this area has some pretty amazing sights below the Earth’s surface, too. You’ll find a variety of fascinating caverns around Austin, some of which provide fun tours for the whole family, and some geared towards a more experienced spelunker. Here’s where you can go explore the Hill Country caves…
— Natural Bridge
26495 Natural Bridge Caverns Rd.
Say howdy to the largest natural cavern system in Texas, y’all! This once unknown hole in the rock was discovered by local UT students back in 1960. Today, the caverns are still very active and considered living, forming and changing as the rainwater runs through the limestone. For the ultimate cave experience, look into The Lantern Tour and illuminate your way through the towering stone monuments and the waves of colorful cave ribbons, just like the first founding group did. Ready for adventure?
— Longhorn Cavern State Park
6211 Park Rd 4 S
This cave has a colorful history. Unlike other Texas caves, Longhorn was created by rivers surging through cracks and holes millions of years ago. Left behind are unusual rock formations, domed ceilings, sinkholes and sparkling crystals that draw tourists in high and low. The cave itself was used for various purposes by Native Americans, Confederate soldiers, and outlaws throughout history. Fun fact, during the Prohibition, Longhorn Cavern was run as a speakeasy by the locals. Check out the Paranormal Tour for spooky stories and cave strolls.
— Inner Space Cavern
4200 S. I-35 Frontage Rd.
First discovered by a Texas Highway drilling team surveying the area, this intergalactic cave is one of the best-preserved caves in Texas and one of the few places where prehistoric remains are found. While a number of miles of cave tunnels have been explored, blocked passages prevent Texans from seeing everything Inner Space has to offer. The Hidden Passages Tour though, gives visitors access to a newly opened section of the cave on an undeveloped trail. But, if the tour doesn’t interest you or your guest, check out the playground, mining area, or display of fossils found right in that very cave.
* Read about our experience touring Inner Space Cavern with our family.
— Bracken Cave
26495 Natural Bridge Caverns Rd
Twenty million Mexican free-tailed bats claimed this cave. Access is strictly controlled to protect Bracken’s rare habitat and its critters, but Bat Conservation International organizes evening guided tours to to observe the bats as they take flight. Skip the South Congress Bridge, and head to Bracken for the ultimate bat viewing experience.
— Cave Without A Name
325 Kreutzberg Rd.
Head to Boerne to tour six major rooms in 66-degree comfort in this cave. The easy, low-key walks depart throughout the day and are about an hour long. The cave originally got its name from a statewide contest, where one little Texan claimed the cave too beautiful for a name. And despite a few efforts to change it, the name stuck. Need a new date night idea? Catch a concert in the Throne Room and surround yourself in its beautiful acoustics.
— Airmen’s Cave
Barton Creek Greenbelt
You don’t have to be a thrill-seeker to be drawn in by the mysterious allure of caves. This underground adventure is located right next to the Barton Creek Greenbelt and runs about 11,299 feet long, with tight passages and long, narrow crawls. Several endangered insects call Airmen’s Cave home, so keep your eyes peeled for beetles and bugs as you make your way through the cavern.
This article was contributed by Rebecca West for Do512.com