Ultimate Guide to Kickapoo Indian Caverns, Wisconsin (Tours, Pricing, History, Map)
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Kickapoo Indian Caverns is under the aegis of Mississippi Valley Conservancy and is in the southwest part of Crawford County in Wisconsin. The cave was first mentioned in the miners’ reports of the 1800s and has undergone several changes. Unfortunately, the authorities have restricted the entry of the public into the caves.
The caverns are best enjoyed from the outside as it now fully gated and not possible to enter. Many people would prefer to skip these caverns, but it is worth a visit as you learn about the history of the Native Americans and the cave, in particular.
History of Kickapoo Indian Caverns
The caverns were a shelter for the Native Indians for many centuries. The Native American Museum, adjacent to the caverns, will tell you a lot about its long history. It is assumed that the Kickapoo Indians used the caverns for at least 500 years. The earliest record of the cave goes back to the 1800s when it got mentioned in the reports of the prospecting lead miners.
The Kickapoo is a tribe of Algonquian stock that is somewhat related to the Foxes and Sauk. The members of the Kickapoo tribe were known for their adventurous and roving nature. It is assumed that this tribe used the Kickapoo Indian Caverns for a long time (500 years) before moving out to somewhere else.
However, the cave faced severe problems with ever-increasing costs and the decline in visitors. So there arose a problem of finding good guides and, as a result, the cave was closed in 2007. However, there have been no cave tours since 2011, and it is now permanently closed.
Geological Cave Formations
Kickapoo Indian Caverns had a fair share of geological formations in the form of stalactites and stalagmites. Unfortunately, most of these formations were cut to be sold as souvenirs a long time back, leaving behind flat and smooth nubs where one would naturally expect a hanging rock.
Kickapoo Indian Caverns is an excellent hibernaculum for the Northern long-eared bat, the state threatened little brown bat and the Eastern pipistrelle. In addition to the bats, the surrounding land is also home to many other exotic and rare species, such as the state-threatened cerulean warbler.
Is Kickapoo Indian Caverns Haunted?
From a distance, the caverns look lonely and haunted. But it is mainly because the caverns have been closed to the public for a long time.
How Big is Kickapoo Indian Caverns?
The Kickapoo Indian Caverns is spread over 83 acres of land.
Kickapoo Indian Caverns Tours
Kickapoo Caverns is one of the longest natural cavern systems in Wisconsin. It has a stunning limestone cavern system with an underground pool, incredible cave formations and acts as a hibernaculum for at least three species of bats. It was the largest show cave in the Midwest and had a maze of chambers and tunnels created by an ancient underground river that flowed through the bedrock limestone for more than a thousand years.
The cave has been closed permanently as the bat population has contracted a new kind of illness, and it has become imperative to save this threatened bat population. The Department of Conservancy has purchased the cave to protect the cave and its bat population.
Tour Prices and Discounts
No tours have been available at the Caverns since 2011.
Is Kickapoo Indian Caverns Cold?
It is not possible to explore the caverns now as it is closed, but it can be assumed that the temperature of the caverns would be much lower than the temperature in the surrounding areas.
What to Wear?
You can wear comfortable clothes, but good quality walking shoes are a must if you plan to go on the hiking trail.
Kickapoo Indian Caverns Hours
The Caverns can be visited anytime between dawn and dusk.
What to Do (Beside Tours)
The cave’s main entrance is gated, but there is a trail sign that promotes it as a hiking area. You can try to hike up, but you will likely end up at an abandoned parking lot. Apart from the hiking adventure, you should visit the Native American Museum cum gift shop close to the caverns. Here you get a chance to learn a lot about the history of the caverns and their inhabitants and check out the few souvenirs they have.
Best Time to Visit
You can come here during the summers, but it is less frequented nowadays as the caverns are closed to the public.
How to Get to Kickapoo Indian Caverns
The nearest town nearest the caverns is Wauzeka. If you are coming from here, you need to head west on Highway for a little more than 2 miles. Take a right turn on Dutch Ridge Road and drive for another mile. Then you need to drive straight on Rhein Hollow Road and go for 11 miles. There is a gate on 54850 Rhein Hollow Road on your right side. It will lead you to the caverns.
There are some decent hotels in Prairie du Chien, where the caverns are easily accessible. Microtel Inn and Suites and Country Inn and Suites by Radisson deserve special mention.
Kickapoo Indian Caverns Fun Facts
- It is the longest natural cavern system in Wisconsin.
- The Mississippi Valley Conservancy has taken up the welfare of the caves to protect the bat species.
Kickapoo Indian Caverns Details
- Length: it is spread over 83 acres.
- Time Recommended: 1 hour
- Difficulty: Easy
- Kid-friendly: Yes
- Dog-friendly: No
- Fees: NA
- Hours: 8 am to 4:30 pm
Download our Kickapoo Indian Caverns Guide (Unofficial) HERE:
Visiting Kickapoo Indian Caverns
Do you need more information before visiting? Call (608) 784-3606 for an information packet.
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