Indiana Caves: Explore the Vast Cave Systems in Indiana
Indiana may be known for the Indianapolis 500, but there’s another pulse-pounding activity the Hoosier State offers: cave exploration. Each of these 7 Indiana caves has their own unique features and formations. Here’s a list of the top caves in Indiana, and what you can find at each. If you’re looking specifically for southern Indiana caves, Harrison county offers some of the most breathtaking views in the state.
The 7th largest cave in the United States, the Indiana Caverns is Indiana’s longest cave. Located in Corydon, Indiana, the caverns are part of the Binkley Cave System, and were first developed as show caves in 2012; that same year, researchers found that Blowing Hole Cave and Binkley Cave weren’t connected via a passageway, they were together one long cave. The caverns let you explore 110 feet underground, and features a walking tour and boat ride. Indiana Caverns also contains a diverse ecosystem, with 21 species of troglobites.
Did you know? Ice Age bones have been found in the Indiana Caverns, and are still being unearthed.
Want to explore a raw and natural cave? That’s one of the exciting things you’ll find at Marengo Cave, located in Marengo, Indiana. The cave also features two walking tours, the Crystal Palace and the Dripstone Trail, on which you can see the many types of natural cave formations that lie underground. Included in the Dripstone Trail tour is the chance to see the Penny Ceiling, which features thousands of pennies, and both feature a brief plunge into total darkness.
Did you know? Two schoolchildren found the cave while exploring a sinkhole in 1883. When the property owner learned of their discovery, he opened it to the public and charged 25 cents a visit.
Squire Boone Caverns
Squire Boone Caverns were discovered in 1790 by Squire Boone, a prominent explorer of Kentucky and Indiana, and his brother, famed adventurer Daniel Boone. Squire was taken by the caves’ natural and overwhelming beauty, eventually bringing his family to settle near the cave. Now centuries later, you can see the same beauty for yourself as you wind down the staircase to see waterfalls, streams, and amazing formations, such as the Rock of Ages, estimated to be nearly 40 million years old. Be sure to check out the new passageway opening in 2017!
Did you know? Squire Boone loved the caverns so much that he requested to be buried there, and is laid to rest. In 2012, a new tombstone was installed to honor the war hero.
The Wyandotte Cave consisst of a pair of caves in Leavenworth, Indiana, and are located at O’Bannon Woods State Park. The cave was recently reopened after being closed for 8 years to protect the caves’ bat population from white-nose syndrome. Two tours of Wyandotte are available, with one for cave explorers of all levels and one for the more adventurous cave explorer. Rare cave formations and a long massive passageway known was Washington Avenue are just two of the things you’ll see when at the Wyandotte Caves.
Did you know? These Indiana caves begin to form in the Pliocene Era, or over 2 million years ago.
True cave explorers who want to explore on their own, rather than embark on a guided tour, may enjoy exploring Sullivan Cave, located in Springfield, Indiana. This cave is on a 28-acre property owned by the Indiana Karst Conservancy, a nonprofit group that works to preserve Indiana’s karsts. To gain access to Sullivan Cave, groups will need to apply to the cave patron, and comply with all of the Conservancy’s guidelines to preserve the integrity of the cave.
Did you know? Karst is a term for a landscape that features limestone deposits eroded to produce sinkholes, towers, caves and other formations.
Located in Bedford, Indiana, Bluespring Caverns is a short drive from Indianapolis. The attraction is known for its long river voyage through the natural wonder of the underground. While on the hour-long boat ride, you may encounter bats, crayfish, salamanders, and other cave-dwelling creatures, with only pocket lights guiding your way. At ground-level, you’ll find Bluespring Caverns Park, which features ½ mile nature trail and a 15-acre wide sinkhole.
Did you know? The Bluespring Caverns area is known for having the longest subterranean river in the United States; the river is 3 miles long.
You’ll find Wolf Cave located in McCormick Creek State Park in Spencer, Indiana. The cave is on Trail 5 at the park, and inside you’ll find a world of passageways that were formed when the water underground dissolved the limestone, leaving the carved passageways in their wake after the cave dried. The underground stream still exists and has gone on to carve lower passageways throughout the cave, leaving you an amazing site to explore. Be aware, however, that past visitors to the cave describe it as a “tight squeeze.”
Did you know? McCormick Creek State Park is the oldest state park in Indiana and was opened to the public in 1916.