Longhorn Cavern State Park
6211 Park Road 4 South, Burnet, TX 78611
A beautiful Hill Country park and underground wonder less than 90 minutes from Austin!
Take the family adventure up a notch with a trip to the National Cave of Texas!
Less than an hour and a half from the heart of Austin, sits a beautiful Hill Country park and underground wonder known as Longhorn Cavern State Park. At a lovely, and near-constant 68 degrees, this subterranean escapade is also a great way to escape summer’s most brutal temperatures.
Dating back to the 1930s, when the park was developed by the Civilian Conservation Corps, the park features an amazing cavern created by an ancient river – the caverns were discovered by Anglo settlers in the 1870s. Rumor has it that during the thirties, the spot was home to an underground nightclub (literally) that featured bands and radio broadcasts!
Guests can choose between two tour options, but the Cavern Walking Tour is by far the most popular. The 90 minute, 1.1 mile round trip tour, takes visitors 130 feet below ground and follows the path of the now-departed river. Throughout the adventure, guides will share stories of the cavern’s history and walk you through some bewildering underground rooms. If you're claustrophobic, be warned, some areas do drop as below four and a half feet tall. Though the trailhead begins (and ends) with 52 stone steps, this tour is accessible to most little ones eight and over.
The Wild Caves Tour, on the other hand, is physically demanding, but offers the same age requirements: Kids must be eight or older to take the wild tour and guests under 18 must be accompanied by an adult. This one will make you wiggle and crawl your way through the lower lever of the caverns for a glimpse at it was like before lights and pathways. The tour, which only happens one day a week, lasts two to three hours. Upon completion, participants receive a “Wild Cave Tour Finisher” t-shirt – you’ll need it, because your clothes will be wet and covered in dirt.
Know before you go:
The park is open, but due to Covid-19, the walking tours are limited to 20 people per tour. We recommend booking your tour online to secure your preferred time and spot. Face masks must be worn during the cavern tours and inside the park’s visitor center.
Because the cavern is considered a fragile environment, the public can only enter with a paid, guided tour. Through August 16, the Cavern Walking Tour departs every day on the hour and half hour from 10 am to 4pm. See site for updated fall hours, but last year the walking tour’s last departure on weekdays was an hour earlier at 3pm. The Wild Cave Tour happens year-long on Saturdays only, departing at 9:30 am. Because the caverns and buildings are historic, much of the park is not and neither tour is wheelchair accessible.
We know this excursion isn’t free – the wild tour costs $65 per person, and the walking tour ranges from $14-$18 – but this natural wonder is worth the price and with the park’s other offerings, it’s a great excuse for a day trip and picnic lunch.
Located on park grounds you’ll find a cute, self-serving snack bar serving pizza and slushies alongside other, more snackable, options.
Don’t leave yet, the park has so much more to offer:
Aside from the caverns, the park features a handful of historic CCC buildings including an Observation Tower that offers breathtaking views of Hill Country. (Fun fact, these buildings are considered “Parkitecture” – referring to an early and middle 20th century-style of architecture utilized by the United States National Park Service to design buildings to better mesh with the natural environment.)
Up for more walking? Consider exploring the Backbone Ridge trail system, which passes through Longhorn Caverns State Park and connects to Inks Lake.