Skip To Main Content

Longhorn Cavern State Park

Just a few miles from incredible Inks Lake State Park, you'll find another fantastic Texas State Park... an historic day-use park where you can hike, picnic and tour one of the most unique caves in the world. This is Longhorn Cavern State Park.

Longhorn Cavern is ONE OF ONLY TWO publicly accessible caves of it's kind in the United States, formed by what was, essentially, a slow moving underground river. The rock formations in this cave change dramatically as you explore. The flowing path and smooth wave-like patterns had us imagining what it would have been like millions of years ago when water freely flowed here.

But, while we 100% LOVED the cave tour here, Longhorn Cavern State Park is not just about its cave tours. We absolutely enjoyed the hiking trails in this park. And the CCC historical features are amongst the best of any park we have visited so far.

In short, Longhorn Cavern has been on our list to visit for a long time. And it did NOT disappoint! We definitely recommend a visit when you are in the area.


Watch Our Visit to Longhorn Cavern State Park

A Brief History of Longhorn Cavern State Park

Prior to being owned by the State of Texas, this was ranchland. Historical accounts have the cave being used for a variety of purposes: including as a shelter and gathering place for Comanche Indians, gunpowder manufacturing facility by Confederate troops during the Civil War, hideout for outlaws, nuclear fallout shelter, and dance hall / restaurant. Yes... there was once an active dinner club underground inside Longhorn Cavern!

Stories report that tourists began visiting this cave as early as the 1870s.

In the early development stage of what would become the Texas State Parks system, the State of Texas bought the property in the early 1930s. In fact, along with Goose Island and Palo Duro Canyon, Longhorn Cavern appears to be one of the first land purchases of the young state park program. The park opened without improvements on Thanksgiving Day 1932.

The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC Company 854) arrived here in 1934. They had just completed their work at another Texas Hill Country park, Blanco State Park. For the next eight years, the CCC worked clearing over 2.5 tons of debris, silt and bat droppings from the cave by hand, building Park Road 4, and designing and constructing trails. They installed 2 miles of lighting within the cave, constructed the new public entrance, installed a water system and drainage, and built the picnic area as well as several buildings using the stone and materials available right here on the property.

Walking Into History
Walking Into History

Many of those original buildings (including the original Administration Building, the observation tower, the water tank, and a cabin prototype) are still being featured today. And yes, in the early days, the plan was to include cabin accommodations within the park. Plans changed and, other than this prototype, no cabins were ever built.

Longhorn Cavern State Park opened to the public in 1938 and the Civilian Conservation Corps moved on to begin their work on what would eventually become nearby Inks Lake State Park in 1940.

To learn more about the amazing Texas State Park contributions of the CCC, visit the Texas CCC Parks website.

One of the Many Wow Moments
One of the Many Wow Moments
How Low Can You Go?
How Low Can You Go?

Nearby Places We've Shared

Longhorn Cavern State Park Amenities

Cave Tours

Hiking Trails

Observation Tower

Picnic Area

Historical Buildings

Park Store and Snack Bar

KC HiLites Banner Ad

Tips for Visiting Longhorn Cavern State Park

Park grounds including the hiking trails and picnic areas are free to visit. There is no fee to park.

Cave access is by guided, ticketed tour only. Tickets may be purchased online or at the Visitor Center.

At the time of our visit, Texas State Parks Pass owners receive a discount on cave tours and merchandise.

Cave temperatures remain at a constant 68 degrees. We were glad we brought jackets.

The cave walking tour takes approximately 1.5 hours to complete. Be sure to allow additional time for exploring the grounds and historic buildings. This is a great park to spend the day wandering and having a picnic after your cave tour.

As with any cave tour, be sure to wear close-toed shoes with plenty of stability and grip.

There is not a lot of up and down on the path inside the cave, however, there are some areas that require walking while bending over for short stints. And access to the cave entrance requires traveling a set of historic stairs.

Filming was not allowed inside the cave, but be sure to take your camera for pictures. It's absolutely amazing down there!

The Queen's Watchdog
The Queen's Watchdog

The most unexpected formation we saw on the cave tour was The Queen's Watchdog. This dog-shaped dolomite formation is said to have been discovered by the Civilian Conservation Corps while they were hauling debris and silt out of the cave back in the 1930s.

Historic Steps to the Cave Entrance
Historic Steps to the Cave Entrance
Feeling Small
Feeling Small Under Ground

Longhorn Cavern State Park Fun Facts

Park Opened


Distance of Cave Tour

Approx 1.5 Miles Round Trip

Hiking Trails Above Ground

1-2 Miles

National Natural Landmark

Since 1971

Open Year Round?


Overnight Options?

Day Use Only

Learn More About Longhorn Cavern State Park

Visit the Longhorn Cavern State Park section of the Texas Parks and Wildlife website for more information, operating hours and current pricing.

We visited Longhorn Cavern State Park in April, which was a fantastic time to visit.

Our Basecamp for This Visit

πŸ“ Inks Lake State Park (6 miles away on Historic Park Road 4)

Electric Bike Company Banner Ad

A Few Photos from Our Visit to Longhorn Cavern State Park

CCC Building Over the Cave
View of the CCC Admin Building and Cave Entrance
Cave Bat
Cave Chicken Nugget aka a Resident Bat
Following the Flow
Following the River's Flow
Reaching for Sunlight
Growing Up Toward the Sunlight
Steps to the Cave Entrance
Beautiful Walk Toward the Cave Entrance
Nice Cave Path
The Path Inside the Cave Is In Great Shape!
Amazing Cave Ceiling
Don't Forget to Look Up!
Masonry and Stonework
Pay Attention to the Masonry and Stonework
These Walls Amazed Us!
These Walls Amazed Us!
Don't Forget the Hiking Trails!
Don't Forget the Hiking Trails!
Beautiful Way to Spend a Day
Beautiful Way to Spend a Day
Spriral Staircase
Spiral Staircase in the Observation Tower

You Might Also Like...

Longhorn Cavern State Park TX Pin

Tom and Stacie

Tom and Stacie Langland
"RV America Y'all"

Hey y'all! We are Native Texans and (since 2018) Full-Time RVers sharing the adventures, challenges, and joys of RV life as we travel. We love camping and hiking in State and National Parks, discovering history, visiting interesting and quirky places, and exploring small towns. We're on a mission to experience life, not just live it with our dog, Star, and our cat, Astro. You can also find us on our original RV travel website, Thanks for joining us as we RV America Y'all!

Connect With Us @RVAmericaYall