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Ultimate Guide to Warren’s Cave, Florida (Tours, Pricing, History, Map)

Ultimate Guide to Warren’s Cave, Florida (Tours, Pricing, History, Map)

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Known to be the longest dry cave in the state, Warren’s Cave has 4 miles of complex passages. Situated in the Warren Cave Nature Preserve, the cave system has a complex network of passages waiting to be explored. Although the cave is gated, people can still visit it after signing a waiver. 

Warren's Cave Cover Image

Warren’s Cave, Florida

Warren’s Cave, being an unusual cave, has profound importance among the spelunkers. It has three different levels of the passageway, which are beneath the ground surface and the water table. It is the longest cave in Florida, and it will likely remain so for many more years. 

History of Warren’s Cave

During the 1830s, Florida Was involved in the Seminole Wars. Several battles were fought in the Florida peninsula, and home guard units sprang up everywhere during this time. Although many wars were fought during this time, one war was closely related to the Warren Cave.

On 11th September 1836, Colonel John Warren led his troops in the famous battle of San Felasco Hammock, very close to the site of Warren’s Cave. John Lee Williams first gave the account of this battle in 1837.

As per William’s book, a fierce battle took place between Colonel Warren’s men and the Indians. The Indians tried very hard to take control of the 24 lb howitzer, which Warren’s men were carrying, but each time the Indians were repelled and routed at various points. They were finally driven around one and a half miles into a dense hammock, probably Warren Cave lies. 

It is hard to ascertain whether Colonel Warren was the actual discoverer of the Warren Cave, but history does give some credence to this information. However, Colonel Warren did indeed lend his name to the cave. 

A narrow stagecoach road passed near the cave in the late 1800s and early 1900s. One of the stage stops was quite close to the cave. Warren Cave was quite well-known in the north-central Florida region, and when the area was mapped in 1894, the cave was predominant on the topographic sheet. 

The early explored navigated the cave with the help of kerosene lanterns and torches. The soot left on the walls and ceilings of the cave is still visible today. In the 1890s, a serious attempt was made to commercialize the cave by installing wooden ladders in the pit.

The attempt was a total failure. Only 400 ft of passages were discovered till 1959, but after that, the discovery of several narrow passages has managed to extend the known part of the cave. 

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Geological Cave Formations in Warren’s Cave

The cave was dissolved from limestone when the water table in the region was above the present level of the cave around 30,000 years ago. There are three basic levels in the cave, and the middle level is the most extensive one and is dissolved from the Crystal River Limestone. The ceiling in the middle level is chert and is several feet thick in many places. One would find large chert pendants hanging from the ceiling in many areas. 

Wildlife in Warren’s Cave

Warren’s Cave is a haven for several wildlife species. Inside the cave, you will view the endangered bind crayfish. The blind crayfish is rare and has not been seen for many years. When you are here, do look out for them. The bats were found in abundance in the caves, but they are not frequent here.

Around the Warren Cave Nature Preserve, you will get to various types of wildlife such as bobcat, armadillo, deer, cottontail, snakes, and small rodents, to name a few. Since a diverse range of plants is available here, the bird population is also quite impressive. 

Is Warren’s Cave Haunted?

Warren’s Cave is a popular spot for weekend outings for groups and families. Still, there have never been any complaints of the cave or its surroundings being haunted or showing signs of paranormal activity. 

How Big is Warren’s Cave?

Warren Cave has 4 miles of mapped passageways. 

Warren's Cave size
Photo Caption: Reddit

Warren’s Cave Tours

Warren Cavern Nature Preserve in Alachua County is home to Warren Cave. Known as the karst cave, it has more than 4 miles of mapped passage. Unfortunately, it is an unimproved cave with no stairways, walkways, lights, railings, or safety improvements. It also has some long and tight passages, including the one which is popularly known as the Red Streak.

The climbing conditions inside and outside the entrance gate are dangerous. Specific health and training restrictions also apply here. So, only experienced spelunkers should attempt exploring the cave. The visitors should enter the cave at their own risk and are required to contact the National Speleological Society to sign a form to gain access to the gated cave. Visitors under 18 must have their parents or legal guardians sign for them. 

Warren’s Cave Tour Prices and Discounts

No tours are available at the cave. Visitors are advised to explore the caves on their own.

Is Warren’s Cave Cold?

Though the exact reading is not known, the temperature inside Warren’s Cave is expected to be cooler than the surroundings. 

What to Wear?

Every visitor must wear a belay while climbing or working near the cliffs. You must also wear a helmet fitted with light, and the light source can be electric or carbide powered. An emergency light is also recommended that should be mounted on the helmet. You should bring in a compass and water bottles as per your need.

take necessary gear like a compass and water bottle

We suggest that you wear long pants, long sleeve shirts, gloves, and good-quality rigid footwear to prevent any injury. Tennis shoes are a strict no-no as they are too flexible and unsuitable for small ridges. There should be at least three persons in a group, and the trip leader must carry first-aid equipment. 

Warren’s Cave Hours

Once you explore the cave, you can stroll in the surrounding area and enjoy flora and fauna here. Do not expect any gift shop or activity center as the cave area is entirely underdeveloped. Once you have toured the cave, you will have difficulty spending time here. So, we suggest that you move ahead to your next destination from here. 


Best Time to Visit Warren’s Caves

You can visit the Warren Cave any time of the year, but it is a good idea to call up the cave authorities to ensure that it is open for your spelunking sojourn. 

How to Get to Warren’s Cave

Warren’s Cave is on the margin of the Cody Scarp near the San Felasco Hammock Preserve State Park and northwest to the city of Gainesville. If you are driving down from Gainesville, it will take you only about 3 to 4 min to reach the cave. 

Provide a safe bat habitat
Provide a safe bat habitat!

Hotels near Warren’s Cave

There are a few state parks where you can park your RV while visiting the Warren Cave. Raynes Prairie Preserve, Silver Springs, and Manatee Springs State Park are just an hour away. If you want to put up in a hotel, you should try Hampton Inn and Suites Gainesville or Holiday Inn Express and Suites, Alachua. The closest hotel is Comfort Inn which is 15 min from the cave. 

Warren’s Cave Fun Facts

  • It is a dry karst cave in Alachua County in Florida. 
  • The National Speleological Society owns the property on which the cave entrance is located. 
  • Warren’s Cave is named after Colonel John Warren, known for his role in the Second Seminole War. 
  • Till 1959, only 400 ft of passageways were discovered. 
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Warren’s Cave Details 

  • Length: 4 miles
  • Time Recommended: 2 to 4 hours
  • Difficulty: Hard         
  • Kid-friendly: No. But they can come but should avoid going inside the cave.
  • Dog-friendly: Well-behaved dogs are allowed, but they must stay on a 6-foot leash.
  • Fees: Free
  • Hours: Dawn to dusk

Visiting Warren’s Cave

Do you need more information before visiting Warren’s Cave? You can email Warren’s Cave through the form for an information packet. 

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