Ultimate Guide to Wyandotte Cave, Indiana (Tours, Pricing, History, Map)
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Located within the O’Bannon Woods State Park, the Wyandotte Cave is a great attraction that all nature lovers need to explore. It was conferred the title of National Natural Landmark in 1972, and the caves are home to more than 20 species of wildlife.
Wyandotte Cave, Indiana
The cave system is made up of two distinctly separate caves. The Big Wyandotte is the older cave and has more than 9 miles of mapped routes. The Little Wyandotte is the newer and smaller of the two caves. Although the little cave is termed ‘newer’, both the caves took a million years to develop.
History of Wyandotte Caves
Wyandotte is a large and complex cave used by the Native Americans over 3000 years ago for shelter and mining chert and other minerals. Carbon dating of the artifacts that have been found here has proved the existence of human activity as early as 8000 BC. There is a belief that the Native Americans used torches of grapevine and hickory bark to light up the cave. They used to mine the caves for aragonite and chert, which were used to make various stone tools, pipes, and necklaces.
In 1798, the cave was discovered by the European settlers. Soon the cave became popular. It was a great source of saltpeter (used for gunpowder) and Epsom salts (medicinal value). During the War of 1812, saltpeter mining reached a peak under Dr. Benjamin Adams. The cave was also used to store the supplies of the army of William Henry Harrison.
Wyandotte Cave was named after the river of the same name, which is now known as the Blue River. Before getting the present name, the cave was also known as Mammoth Cave of Indiana, Epsom Salts Cave & Indiana Saltpeter Cave.
Henry Rothrock bought the land beneath which the cave was located in 1819. Tye Rothrock family offered the first commercial tours of the cave in 1850, making it the 4th oldest commercial cave in the US. The caves were then sold to the Department of Natural Resources in 1966. The caves were closed from 2009 to 2016 to slow down the spread of White Nose Syndrome, which severely affected the bat population. In 2018 the lights in the cave were repaired, and a temporary gatehouse was built.
Geological Cave Formations in Wyandotte Cave
Limestone forms the bedrock of Southern Indiana and from which caves like Wyandotte have been formed. It is known for their large rooms and long passageways. The cave is home to several helictites, which are rare.
It also has the tallest stalagmite globally, known as the Pillar of the Constitution. However, you can only see it on crawling tours. Apart from this, the cave also displays a wide range of speleothems such as columns, flowstone, cave draperies, and cave bacon.
Wildlife in Wyandotte Cave
There are two parts of the Wyandotte Cave – the Little Wyandotte Cave and the Big Wyandotte Cave. These caves are home to more than 20 species of animals, including crayfish, salamanders, crickets, and bats. People have seen bones of larger wildlife in both these caves.
There are 12 species in the state, and the cave is home to nine of them. The most common bats are the Indiana Bat and the little brown bat. There are very few bats in the Little Wyandotte Cave, and due to hibernating bats in the winter, both the caves remain closed to the public for four months.
Cave crickets are common in Little Wyandotte Cave and are occasionally seen in the bigger one. Snakes often eat these crickets.
It is challenging to spot blind cave fishes in the larger Wyandotte Caves as it remains dry most of the time, but one views them on rare occasions. The little cave is wetter, but still, it does not have any specimen of this species.
Download our Wyandotte Cave Guide (Unofficial) HERE:
Is Wyandotte Cave Haunted?
The Wyandotte Cave is, by no means, haunted, but as per the local folklore, the cave may be inhabited by the ghost of a counterfeiter who died in this cave.
How Big is Wyandotte Cave?
With almost 15 km of passageways on five levels, the Wyandotte Cave is the 5th longest cave in Indiana.
Wyandotte Cave Tours
The tour for the Little Wyandotte Cave lasts for 30 minutes. The Big Wyandotte Cave tour is for two hours. Since the temperature of both the caves hovers around 52 degrees F, it makes sense to bring a jacket. The main cave’s entrance is 200 ft long, and archaeologists believe that the Native Americans mined the caves to find resources for jewelry and tools. The Little Cave is known as Siberts Cave, and the Big Cave is known as Historic Cave.
If you love Nature, you will not be able to resist taking a look at both these caves. You will love the different geological formations found in the Little Cave and take a close look at the tallest stalagmite in the world in the Big Cave.
Wyandotte Cave Tour Prices and Discounts
The tour costs for the Little Wyandotte Cave are:
- USD 8 for adults
- USD 4 for kids aged 6 to 11 years,
- FREE for children under five years of age.
The tour charges for the Big Wyandotte Cave are:
- USD 18 for adults
- USD 9 for children aged 6 to 11 years.
Is Wyandotte Cave Cold?
The temperature in both the caves remains at an average of 52 degrees F.
What to Wear?
You can wear any comfortable clothing, but proper shoes are essential here. When you are touring the big cave, you will be walking across a rough decontamination surface, and for this, you should wear proper shoes.
Wyandotte Cave Hours
The cave is open for tours on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. For the little cave, the tours start at 10 am, 11 am, 1 pm, and 2 pm, and tours for the big cave start at 11 am and 1 pm on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, and other holidays.
What to Do at Wyandotte Cave (Beside Tours)
After the tours are over, you can take a stroll along the banks of the Ohio River or check out the surroundings to have a look at the various wildlife present here.
Best Time to Visit Wyandotte Cave
The best time to visit Wyandotte is during summer as the tours are offered on the weekends.
How to Get to Wyandotte Cave
The cave is on the Ohio River in the Harrison-Crawford State Forest Crawford County. It is 5 miles northeast of Leavenworth and 12 miles from Croydon in Southern Indiana.
Hotels near Wyandotte Cave
There are some decent properties near Wyandotte Cave where you can put for the night, such as Hampton Inn, Sycamore Springs Park & Kintner House Inn.
Places To Stay Nearby
Visiting Wyandotte Cave
Do you need more information before visiting Wyandotte Cave? Call (812) 738 – 8232 for an information packet.
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