Ultimate Guide to Shawnee Cave, Indiana (Tours, Pricing, History, Map)
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Shawnee Cave is in the Spring Mill State Park, and access to the cave is fully regulated by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources or Indiana DNR. The cave can be entered through the entrance of Bronson Cave and exited by the Donaldson Cave entrance. The passage that connects Twin Caves with the Bronson Cave is considered extremely dangerous.
Shawnee Cave, Indiana
For a long time, visitors were not allowed inside the cave to protect the hibernating bat population from the dreaded White-nose syndrome. However, the situation has improved, and Indiana DNR has now lifted the ban enabling people to visit this incredible cave.
History of Shawnee Cave
Shawnee Cave is the last cave of the Shawnee drainage system. The water begins in the SE part of the park and flows through the cave system. When the water enters Bronson Cave, the stream flows through 8000 ft of underground passage before rushing out of the entrance of Donaldson Cave.
The Donaldson Cave is named after George Donaldson, who came from Scotland and had purchased a portion of the forest in 1865. He never allowed hunting of wildlife or cutting of timber. Today the Donaldson Woods Nature Preserve has native trees over 300 years old. It is a rare virgin hardwood forest that had once covered the major portions of Indiana.
Geological Cave Formations in Shawnee Cave
The Shawnee or the Donaldson Cave is one of the major caves of Spring Mill State Park. The cave’s entrance was formed by the collapse of the cavern roof and subsequent erosion of the fallen debris. The cave itself does not boast of any unique geological formations.
Wildlife in Shawnee Cave
Shawnee Cave, also known as Donaldson Cave, is home to Northern blind cavefish, an endangered species. The cave was not open to the public for some time as it looked to protect the hibernating bats from the white-nose syndrome.
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Is Shawnee Cave Haunted?
The Shawnee Cave System in Spring Mill State Park is popular among visitors and is not haunted by any means.
How Big is Shawnee Cave?
Shawnee Cave is the last of the three underground passages, just above 8000 ft, of the stream that flows through Twin Caves and Bronson Cave.
Shawnee Cave Tours
Shawnee Cave is not open for spelunking with proper authorization and training. Visitors are advised to enter the cave only with a proper guide. Each visitor must have registered in advance and have received authorization from Indiana DNR.
Once you enter the cave, you will be in water almost all the time, and in some sections, swimming would be required as the water is too deep. The cave is prone to flooding, so access can be denied if the weather is terrible.
Visitors to the cave entrance will have to travel through the Donaldson Cave Nature Preserve, one of the most beautiful spots in the state. You can take Trail # 3 to the cave with 2.5 miles of rugged terrain.
Shawnee Cave Tour Prices and Discounts
Access to Shawnee Cave can be arranged by visiting the Park office at Spring Mill State Park. Each visitor must be a minimum of 16 years of age. No separate fees are required for admission into Shawnee Cave.
Is Shawnee Cave Cold?
The cave has a year-round temperature of 55 degrees F. You might need a light jacket as you need to wade through the water for some time inside the cave.
What to Wear?
All visitors must have a proper helmet with chin strap, helmet-mounted water-proof light, and proper clothing as the cave requires short swims in multiple places.
Shawnee Cave Hours
You can visit the Shawnee Cave within the regular hours of Spring Mill State Park.
What to Do at Shawnee Cave (Beside Tours)
Apart from touring the Shawnee Cave, you can indulge in many activities inside Spring Mill State Park. You can go hiking, boating, fishing, and visit the Virgil Grissom Memorial, the Nature Center, and the Pioneer Village, among others.
Best Time to Visit Shawnee Cave
One can visit the cave any time of the year. There are n seasonal restrictions on trips into this cave.
How to Get to Shawnee Cave
Shawnee Cave is located inside the Spring Mill State Park. It can be entered through the Bronson Cave entrance and exited via the Donaldson entrance. The passage which connects the Twin Caves to Bronson Cave is considered dangerous and off-limits to visitors.
Hotels near Shawnee Cave
When you are visiting Shawnee Cave, consider staying in a local inn. The Spring Mill Inn has 74 guest rooms and amenities like a heated pool and full-service dining room. The park also offers year-round camping at more than 200 campsites, including electric and primitive tent sites.
Visiting Shawnee Cave
Do you need more information before visiting Shawnee Cave? Call (812) 824 – 4380 or email Indiana Karst Conservancy for an information packet.
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