Ultimate Guide to Buckner Cave, Indiana (Tours, Pricing, History, Map)
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Buckner Cave is in the Karst topography of Monroe County just outside Bloomington. The cave has 3 miles of mapped passages and is managed by Richard Blenz Nature Conservancy. The cave has been vandalized for many years, and garbage like broken bottles and food wrappers was common. There is a serious effort to restore the cave to its original condition.
Buckner Cave, Indiana
Buckner Cave can be traversed without any special equipment or rope. Many areas have a low ceiling and require crawling on hands and belly. The areas in the lower parts of the cave can be a bit muddy. It is not a high adventure cave, but it has its share of fun and thrills.
History of Buckner Cave
Around 6 miles SW of Bloomington is 43 acres of the wooden tract donated to the National Speleological Society in 2008 by Richard Blenz. It was in 1962 that Richard had purchased the property.
Shortly, the property was thrown open for everyone who wished to visit the cave. However, since the property owner was not always present, much of the property was abused and vandalized.
In 2005 a conservancy was formed to look after the property, and cleanup efforts were implemented on a large scale. There was spray-painted graffiti, litter, and more.
A large part of the cave lies underneath the Richard Blenz Nature Preserve, and various parts and portions of the cave system extend below the other properties. Access to the property and cave is now managed by Anmar Mirza & Dave Everton. As per existing rules, each visitor to the cave must undergo decontamination precautions to stop the onset of the dreaded White Nose Syndrome disease.
Geological Cave Formations in Buckner Cave
This cave is a typical example of a Karst cave, and, as per experts, the cave is still undergoing active formation in the lower levels.
Wildlife in Buckner Cave
One would encounter several species of bats in the Buckner Cave like the Big Brown, the Indiana Bat, and the Pipistrelle Cave. The other species that are found here are Cave Salamanders, fungi, mice, and algae. There are crayfish in the stream passage and other arthropods but mostly are uncatalogued.
Download our FREE Buckner Cave Guide (Unofficial)
Is Buckner Cave Haunted?
There are many spooky places in the state, but, thankfully, Buckner Cave is not one of them.
How Big is Buckner Cave?
Buckner Cave has three miles of known passage and an unknown length of unexplored passages.
Buckner Cave Tours
The cave rests on a privately owned property. So one needs to take a permit from Richard Blenz Nature Conservancy at least one week in advance or one can become a member of the Conservancy and get expedited access to the Buckner Cave.
The cave is just outside a bare compound, and there are no facilities for water or a bathroom. The entrance to the cave is an oval-shaped sinkhole that is around 15 ft tall and leads you in a gentle incline that opens to a large room. If you want to access the rest of the cave, you need to crawl through a small hole for around 600 ft which opens to a large cavern. From here, cavers can explore multiple sections of the cave.
The passageways inside the cave are generally safe, and a large section of the cave passes parallel to a running stream that is not more than 2 ft in depth. The most disturbing part of the cave is the graffiti on the walls, although the cleanup process is in operation.
If you look closely, you will notice the signature of L.V. Cushing and the date ‘1775’ hidden inside the graffiti. Vandals have destroyed many rock formations inside the cave, but Buckner Cave is still a great tunnel for exploration.
Buckner Cave Tour Prices and Discounts
Independent exploration of the cave does not incur any charges, but prior permission is mandatory.
Is Buckner Cave Cold?
Buckner Cave can be a bit cold as the average temperature hovers around 48 to 50 degrees F.
What to Wear?
All cavers are expected to wear helmets with chinstraps, and each must carry three independent sources of light inside the cave, and one of these lights must be helmet mounted. Knee pads are highly recommended for all, and cavers should be reasonably fit and flexible.
Buckner Cave Hours
The Buckner Cave is accessible from 7 am to 9 pm but only with a permit.
What to Do at Buckner Cave (Beside Tours)
The entrance to the Buckner Cave is located on a property that the National Speleological Society owns. There is nothing much to explore here apart from the cave, so you can visit Bloomington’s nearby town and check out the main attractions there.
Best Time to Visit Buckner Caves
The caves can be visited any time of the year, but a prior permit must be taken before visiting the cave.
How to Get to Buckner Cave
The cave is located 6 miles SW from Bloomington.
Hotels Near Buckner Cave
Overnight camping in the property is allowed only for three nights per night. The camping area is next to the parking lot. There are plenty of hotels and inns in Bloomington where you can retire for the night. Some of the more popular hotels here are Best Value Inn and SpringHill Suites by Marriott Bloomington.
Visiting Buckner Cave
Do you need more information before visiting Buckner Cave? Send an email to Buckner Cave for an information packet.
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