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Ultimate Guide to Cascade Caverns, Texas (Tours, Pricing, History, Map)

Ultimate Guide to Cascade Caverns, Texas (Tours, Pricing, History, Map)

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If you are looking to explore the best natural beauty that Texas offers, you should check out the Cascade Caverns. The caverns offer a unique excursion that the whole family can enjoy. It also provides various tours that let you explore and view the beautiful rock formations that make up these caves. 

Cascade Caverns Cover
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Cascade Caverns, Texas

Those looking for a unique and fun adventure can visit the Cascade Caverns. You can call them and reserve the tour of your choice. Texas is known for its unique and beautiful caves and caverns, and Cascade Cavern surely ranks among the best that Texas offers.  

History of Cascade Caverns

The Lipan Apache artifacts from the 1700s and the prehistoric animal finds have confirmed that the cave has been open for thousands of years. During the Civil War, the Indians had become friends with a strange man whom the locals used to call Hermit Bayard. He was a German doctor and lived in the cave for about 25 years. He died above the ground, but, as per his wishes, his body was placed in the cave around 1890. 

The cave was opened commercially for the first time in 1932 and was operational till 1941. Alfred and Edith Gray were the landowners when the cave was first opened to the public. It closed during World War II as the strict gas rationing made traveling impossible. However, during this time, the artifact collection of the cave was looted from the gift shop. Business resumed in the caves in the 1940s. 

Frank Nicholson was the first to explore the cave until the Cathedral Room. The cave business, meanwhile, changed hands multiple times over the years. The present gift shop in the cavern was initially a dance hall, and it was next to the kitchen. When the cave initially opened in 1932, there was a restaurant near the entrance, which The Menger Hotel ran. At one time, a toy train ran around the grounds. The train is still there but is now not in use. 

In April 1984, a historical marker was placed near this cave to mark it as a Natural Landmark. The cave became a household name in 1993 when a Walt Disney movie called Fatherhood was shot there. The shooting continued for several weeks, both inside the cave and on the grounds. The cave was seen in the film, and a giant T-Rex (prop) used in the movie is near the gift shop today. 

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Geological Cave Formations

The most common minerals found inside the cave are calcium, iron oxide, and magnesium. Once inside the cave, you will be able to view formations like flowstones on the walls and floors and stalactites hanging from the cave’s ceilings.

A few stalagmites are growing upwards as the cave we enter or see today is the top portion of the original cave. During the formation growth, which took place over centuries, the formations were covered by debris deposited over many centuries. 

Wildlife in Cascade Caverns

The cave has several unusual wildlife species like cave crickets and cave beetles, which are rare in nature. One would also find a variety of microscopic creatures inside the cave, such as Cascade Caverns amphipod, crawfish, tricolored bats, reptiles, and the rare Cascade Caverns neotenic salamanders. The Cascade Cavern salamander is only found inside this cave and in another regional cave known as Cave Without a Name. 

Various animal parts have been found inside the cave over the years, such as bones of American bison, saber-toothed cat, and many other species. 

Is Cascade Caverns Haunted?

During the Civil War, the Indians became friends with a German doctor who came to be known as Hermit Bayard. Although many believed that he belonged to the distinguished Bayard family, his identity is still not clear. After his death, the body was kept in the cave as per his wishes.

The problems started when the new owners of the cave began installing lighting systems and making repairs. The work crews have reported hearing laughter, voices, and even signing while working inside the cave.

A worker had reportedly told everyone that he was working alone in the cave one day, but suddenly the power went out. This caused the pumps to fail, and flash floods swept through the cave. He tried to escape desperately, but he heard someone laughing at his ordeal. It was strange as he was the only person working in the cave at that time. 

How Big is Cascade Caverns?

Cascade Cavern has a length of 2434 ft with a depth of 164 ft. 

size of cave
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Cascade Caverns Tours

There are three kinds of tours in the Cascade Caverns. The Downunder Tour is the most basic and is a guided tour through different sections of the cave. You will get to see the drainage tube in the Cathedral Room, and this is where the water from the Cascade Caverns drains into the Edwards aquifer. The fossils found here are stunningly beautiful, including the mammoth and sabre tooth tigers. The tour covers different parts of the Upper Cave region. 

The Adventure Tour covers the Lower Cave system, and it involves a 3 to 4-hour spelunking tour. The participants are flashlights, gloves, and helmets. The Adventure Tour is offered in the summer season, and the tour includes rappelling, crawling through cramped quarters, and swimming.

You need not worry about navigating the caverns on your own, as you will be provided with an experienced guide. You will get to learn about the history and science behind the caverns through this tour. 

The Flashlight Tour is an extended nighttime tour that goes for 90 min. You will be entering the caves with only flashlights and candles as your company. It is an unusual tour as it allows you to view the rare and beautiful blind salamanders.

It seems that these creatures know when the sun goes down, although they are blind and ten stories beneath the surface. These animals look very cute without even eyes! The tour will only take place when there is a minimum of ten persons. 

Tour Prices and Discounts

There is an admission fee of USD 18 for adults at Cascade Cavern. The rates of the tours are as follows – 

Downunder Tour (one-hour)

USD 19.95 for adults and USD 12.95 for children (4 to 11 years)

Flashlight Tour (60 to 90 min)

USD 24.95 for adults and USD 15.95 for children (4 to 11 years)

Adventure Tour (120 to 150 min)

  • USD 100 for adults 
  • Children under three years are admitted free to the cavern and the eligible tours. 

Is Cascade Caverns Cold?

The cave has a year-round temperature of 64 degrees F. Surely, vising the cave is one of the best ways to beat the Texan heat. 

What to Wear?

Although the cave maintains a relatively low temperature throughout the year, there is no need to bring a light jacket with you. Walking on the tour will make you feel warm, and you will never feel any chill. However, you must wear comfortable walking shoes. 

Cascade Caverns Hours

It is open daily from 9 am to 5 pm. The tours start at 10 am, 11 am, 12 pm, 1 pm, 2 pm, 3 pm, and 4 pm. There are no single-person tours. Only 15 people are taken down at a time, and the tours are held on a first-come, first-serve basis. 


What to Do at Cascade Caverns (Beside Tours)

Apart from the cave tours, there are many other activities on offer which would keep you busy for a long time. The beautiful Live Oak and Texas Cedar nature trails are perfect if you are keen on viewing unusual wildlife like Grey Foxes, Ringtail Cats, Wild Turkeys, and Armadillos. The trail is about 3/4th of a mile, and it takes an hour to walk the trail.

 The Gem & Rock Quarry is where you will find minerals, gems, and fossils. You will receive a digging scoop, a rock identification card, and a jar to carry home your treasures. It is a fun activity that people of all ages can enjoy. 

The Cascade Caverns Rock Shop has the amazing Erskine Collection. Mr. Erskine, the original collector, discovered most of the collection from all over the world, including the US and Mexico. There are so many minerals in his collection that only about 5% of those have been dusted to be put on sale at the Cascade Caverns Rock Shop. The Cascade Caverns Gift Shop is the place you would want to visit if you want to buy souvenirs to take back home. 

Best Time to Visit

The Cavern is open throughout the year. So, you can come here at any time as per your convenience. 

How to Get to Cascade Caverns

The Cascade Caverns is in the beautiful Texas Hill Country. If you are seeking directions from San Antonio, you will need to exit 1604, known as Anderson Loop. Head to IH 10 and take IH 10 West, although you will be heading North if you look at it geographically. Now drive for 16 miles and exit on the Cascade Caverns Road. There are many signs along the road; you need to follow them to reach the caverns. 

Provide a safe bat habitat
Provide a safe bat habitat!

Hotels Nearby

Are you looking to spend the night here? You can take advantage of the 105 acres of RV Park and Campground in Texas Hill County. There are more than 100 sites which include hookups and tent camping.

There are restroom and laundry facilities along with Nature trails, convenience stores, and picnic tables. Camping at Cascade Caverns has been a part of the park since it opened its doors in 1932. If you do not like camping, you may choose one of the many hotels in San Antonio. 

Various animal parts have been found inside the cave over the years, such as bones of American bison, saber-toothed cat, and many other species. 

USA Cave list

Visiting Cascade Caverns

Do you need more information before visiting? Call (830) 755-8080 or email Cascade Cavern through the form for an information packet. 

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