Thursday, November 19, 2015

Longhorn Cavern State Park

The poor weather continued the whole time we were in the Texas Hill Country, but we found a way to escape the elements and still enjoy nature at the same time by heading underground for a guided tour of Longhorn Caverns.

Longhorn Cavern-Longhorn Cavern State Park-Burnet, Texas

Our guide was fantastic! He shared with us the history of this limestone cave, its legends, and its many interesting geological features. In the photo above he is pointing out one of the tiny bats that lives in this cave.

Viewing a Bat in Longhorn Cavern-Longhorn Cavern State Park-Burnet, Texas

We all took a look at the bat, but I didn't snap a closeup. There is a very small population of Eastern Pipstrelle bats living in the cave. They do not hang out together and never leave.

Longhorn Cavern-Longhorn Cavern State Park-Burnet, Texas

There are several chambers in the cave. One of the largest is the Indian Council Room that was used by the Comanche for ceremonial purposes. The dark layer of hard rock running through the limestone in this room was used to make tools and arrow points.

A Layer of Hard Rock Running Through Limestone-Longhorn Cavern-Longhorn Cavern State Park-Burnet, Texas

Through the years, Longhorn Caverns has served many purposes. It was a place to manufacture and store gunpowder during the Civil War. It is said to have been a hideout for several outlaws including Sam Bass. During the prohibition era, it was used as a speakeasy, complete with dance floor, bandstand, and restaurant. And when Lyndon B. Johnson was president, it was designated as his underground bunker, should he ever need one while he was at his Texas ranch.

Emerging from the Lumbar Tunnel-Longhorn Cavern-Longhorn Cavern State Park-Burnet, Texas

It is easy walking through most of the cave. However, there is 20-foot section of the tour where the height of the ceiling averages about four feet. It is referred to as the Lumbar Tunnel, because you have to walk bent over to get through it. I wondered if I would feel claustrophobic through this part when we were told about it at the beginning of the tour, but it turned out to be wide enough that I never felt closed in and no one else had trouble with it either.

Beautiful Limestone Cave-Longhorn Cavern-Longhorn Cavern State Park-Burnet, Texas

The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) worked to clear the passages in the cave and make it what it is today. According to our guide, they were paid a dollar a day—$30 at the end of the month, $25 of which they sent home to their families, keeping only $5 for themselves.

Limestone Cave Formation-Longhorn Cavern-Longhorn Cavern State Park-Burnet, Texas

Our tour of Longhorn Cavern was the highlight of our trip. I've been in other caves before, some with more colorful formations, but this is by far my favorite!


  1. Great photos. What an interesting history - I wonder what the acoustics were like for the speakeasy. Fun!

    Can you imagine how dark it would be without the electric lights. Yikes.

    1. I read that in 2006 there was a series of chamber music concerts performed in the cave. I would have liked to have heard that...with the lights on, of course. I don't think I'd ever want to be down there in the dark!

  2. Wow...such beauty that lies beneath the earth's surface. Great photos and interesting information!

    1. On the tour, I lost track of how many times I said, "That's so pretty!"

  3. Love the photos and the history of the caverns. How deep are they? Is it cold down there?

    1. We were probably told how deep we were underground, but I don't remember. I do know that there is a cave system above the one we were in that they call the attic and one below called the basement. No one is allowed in the attic, because it is too dangerous, but there are tours in the basement. The Wild Cave Tour of the basement is described in this way: Crawl, climb and squeeze through small passages. I think I'll pass on that one!

      The temperature is very comfortable—about 68 degrees.


Birdie Snaps commenters are the best!

I welcome and appreciate your thoughts on this post.

Check back here later for my reply or select the notify me box before publishing.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...