If the very mention of the word ‘spelunking’ gets your adventurous juices flowing then you’ll definitely want to visit Longhorn Cavern State Park.
Located just a 10 minute drive from Inks Lake State Park, which is its sister park, these caves are a must visit.
Named for the limestone cave which formed over thousands of years by the cutting action of an underground river that eventually receded, Longhorn Cavern is now a major attraction.
However, this masks its history as a former refuge for Native Americans, Confederate soldiers and outlaws, such as Sam Bass, whose adventures here are the stuff of folklore.
Today the Texas state park operates as a day-use public recreation facility, offering visitors the chance to enjoy a cavern walking tour or wild cave tour.
You can also enjoy a nature walk or birding too, as well as check out some fascinating structures made by the Civilian Conservation Corps.
The park is open 364 days a year. Should you want to visit Longhorn Cavern State Park, here is some more information about it.
Cavern Walking Tour at Longhorn Cavern State Park
The Cavern Walking Tour is the most popular of the two tours offered at the park.
Lasting for 90 minutes, this guided walking tour showcases some of the most striking geological formations of the cave.
Taking you 130 feet below its surface, along the remnants of an ancient riverbed, you will get to marvel at the hidden beauty of this stunning national natural landmark.
Some of the highlights you will see include Crystal City, the Queen’s Throne & Watchdog, Indian Council Room, Underground Ballroom and both the Hall of Marble and the Hall of Diamonds.
Overall the tour covers a round trip distance of 1.1 miles and involves navigating 52 stone steps that lead down and back up to the entrance cavern.
Along the tour, the two lowest point of the route is just 4 feet 4 inches high, so it will involve ducking for most people.
These tours generally involve a brief lights-out demonstration too.
Wild Cave Tour at Longhorn Cavern State Park
For those who would like a more primitive caving adventure, the Wild Cave Tour is a great option.
On this tour you will get to see what the cavern was like before pathways and modern lights were introduced to it.
It involves wriggling and crawling your way through the cavern’s largely undeveloped lower level. Full safety gear is provided for you during this tour and you will get dirty and wet – but then that is half the fun right!
This tour lasts up to 3 hours and includes such highlights as Lovers’ Lane, Fat Man’s Misery, The Dark Room, Saddlehorn and The Chute.
Everyone who participates in this tour will receive a FREE ‘Wild Cave Tour Finisher’ t-shirt.
Nature Walk at Longhorn Cavern State Park
As well as the cave tours, the park offers a lovely nature walk, which provides a nice sunlight refresh after being underground.
Extending for a 1.6-km loop, this trail is an easy route which takes most people 20 minutes to complete on average.
Open all year round, the trail is well maintained, heavily shaded and marked with plenty of signage.
It showcases some cool rock formations, as well as lovely views. You should also see butterflies, birds and bees, although be sure to look out for snakes.
On this trail you will also be able to climb the observation tower, for even more spectacular vistas that head out for miles towards both Inks Lake and open farmland.
Birding at Longhorn Cavern State Park
Be sure to bring your binoculars with you when you come to Longhorn Cavern State Park, as you will have the opportunity to spot several different species of birds.
Some of these breeds reside permanently either here, or at nearby Inks Lake State Park, while others can be spotted during their relevant migratory periods.
Depending on what time of the year you go, you should be able to see the likes of the endangered golden-cheeked warbler and the black-capped vireo.
Other species you might spot include Cooper’s Hawk, Common Poorwill, Bewick’s Wren White-throated Sparrow, Orchard Oriole and Blue Grosbeak Savannah Sparrow.
Gift Shop at Longhorn Cavern State Park
Longhorn Cavern State Park has a very interesting gift shop that is well worth checking out for its eclectic range of souvenirs and snacks.
Pets at Longhorn Cavern State Park
Dogs are allowed at the park on the nature and hiking trails, so long as they are leased.
However, the only dogs that can enter the cavern itself, or the associated park buildings, are ADA defined trained service animals.
If you bring your pets to the park they must be attended to at all times. Please do not leave pets alone in vehicles.
Camping at Longhorn Cavern State Park
There is nothing in the way of camping options at Longhorn Cavern State Park. However you will find plenty of accommodation available at Inks Lake State Park, which is only a 10 minute drive away.
At the Inks Lake campground you will find 125 sites for RV’s which come with hookups for either 30-amp or 50-amp hookups and water.
Every one of these sites also comes with a fire ring or grill and a picnic table, and is close to comfort stations that include flush toilets and hot showers.
As well as these sites, the park also has 49 plots that offer water hookups, along with the same amenities.
Alternatively, you can choose to stay at any of its four walk-in tent sites that come with electricity and water, as well as its nine primitive campsites. Which will require you to hike just over a mile and a half to get there.
Longhorn Cavern State Park
6211 Park Road 4 S
Burnet, TX 78611
Here is a short YouTube video showcasing several attractions at Longhorn Cavern State Park: