Longhorn Caverns State Park, Burnet
Texas has a great selection of commercial caverns around the state, and they are each significant for something unique, but Longhorn Caverns really appeals to me for all the great history and myths that have happened here!
Located in Burnet, on historic Park Rd. 4. It’s a beautiful drive to the caverns, and on to Inks Lake Park! I love the views, and at dusk and after dark take the roads slowly as there are deer everywhere!
The park grounds were part of the CCC in the 1930’s, and you’ll see some incredible stone work. There are over 50 steps that lead down to the entrance to the cavern.
One of the most popular features in the cavern is that of the Queen’s Watchdog, a feature the CCC found down in the Hall of Marble and moved to it’s present location near the entrance to the caverns! The dog is made a dolomite, a hard stone that is found in much of the cavern, along with limestone and some traces of chert.
The local Native American Indians would come down into the cavern to get the chert, which was used to make arrowheads. There is evidence where they chipped it away, as well as stories of them hiding in the caverns, and a heroic story of the rescue of a kidnapped girl by the Texas Rangers.
One of the coolest stories of the caverns is that during prohibition, the cavern was used as a nightclub and speakeasy. A pulley system was used to lower food and drinks into the cavern’s large “ballroom”, through a sinkhole! Bands would play here as well. Can’t you just imagine pulling up in your Model T Ford Tin Lizzie with the head lights turned off, and sneaking down into the caverns with your flapper dress swinging?
Today, the caverns can be reserved for weddings and other special events!
During the caverns hey-days as a speakeasy, there was some graffiti placed on the walls, too!
Further in the cave, we came to a large brown sections on the roof of the caverns, proof of a huge colony of Mexican free-tail bats that once lived in the caverns. During the Civil War, soldiers would be sent down into the caverns with only a small lantern (it’s very dark), and a rope tied around their waist, to collect the guano (bat poop) to make gun powder! The bat colony is now gone, and you will only see a few little bats sleeping in the cavern, and you aren’t allowed to disturb them!
Several old barrels were left over from the 1960’s when the caverns were stocked with food and supplies for then President LBJ and family and friends in case of bombings!
As with any cavern, you aren’t allowed to touch anything, because the oil from your skin can damage the still growing cave features! We were allowed to touch the Bear’s Nose formation, since it’s been touched so much that it’s no longer growing!
Just a quick shout out to Faith, our tireless guide who was very informative and patient with us during the tour!
Unlike many of the caverns in Texas, you won’t see a lot of stalagmites and stalagtites, because the caverns were made from water rushing through them! The rushing water did make some incredible features, though!
My favorite is the Hall of Marble! The walls are smooth from the water, and little domes were shaped by whirlpools in the water! This section of the cavern is mostly dolomite.
It makes for a good picture!
Just past the Hall of Marble is the end of the line for the tour, before turning around and heading back. Here is where our tour guide did the lights off thing, to give visitors a chance to experience total darkness. They leave the lights off for just a minute, but long enough for my boys to get in trouble for tackling each other in the dark!
The Park Information Center was one of the buildings made by the CCC. It’s absolutely beautiful, and on the other side the exterior was covered in fragrant wisteria blooms!
If you arrive with time to spare for a tour, take a few minutes to walk down the Backbone Ridge Nature Trail!
The gift shop has lots of fun souvenirs, including these neat Ulexite Rocks, which internally reflect whatever is held up to them!
While the cavern tours do cost, day entrance to the park is FREE. There are nice picnic tables for a lunch before or after your tour!
Don’t miss a climb to the top of the Observation Tower, with an incredible view of the Colorado River Valley!
Know Before You Go
One of the reasons I’ve toured Longhorn Caverns SO much is that it’s stroller friendly, well, as stroller friendly as a cavern gets!
It’s an average 68-70 degrees in the caverns, perfect for cold winter days and hot summer days! Humidity is higher on rainy days.
Pets are welcome in the park, but not allowed in the Caverns.
Wear comfortable shoes with a good grip on the bottom.
Water is allowed on the tour, but no food or drinks.
Use the restrooms before you start your tour.
Things To Do in Burnet
At Ink’s Lake State Park, you can take a hike along the Devil’s Backbone, or jump into the cool water at Devil’s Watering Hole. Click HERE to read more.
On the Vanishing Texas River Cruise, you can take a tour up the Colorado River to Fall Creek Falls, or a sunset cruise, or to see the nesting bald eagles during the fall and winter months. Click HERE for more information!
Fort Croghan offers tours of their grounds, as well as living history days and a special event at Christmas. Click HERE for more information.
Happy Scoops is my FAVORITE ice cream shop in the state, and I love their flavors, made daily! The banana, made with real bananas, and the sweet cream are my favorites! Click HERE for more information.
Canyon of the Eagle Park offers cabins overlooking the lake, RV sites and tent camping along the lake! Click HERE for more information.
Longhorn Caverns State Park
6211 Park Rd. 4S, Burnet
Click HERE to visit their website.
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