The wealth of natural beauty on display in Texas is world-famous, but the beauty that lies hidden beneath the surface is not as well known. Some of the fascinating caves in the state include the challenging Airmen’s Cave, which requires some crawling through narrow passages. Bracken Cave is world-famous for its huge colony of Mexican free-tailed bats, while Cascade Caverns near Boerne has guided tours that take visitors 132 feet below the surface into the Cathedral Room. Cave Without a Name, TX is known for its spectacularly beautiful geological formations, such as stalactites, stalagmites, soda straws, and cave drapery. Jacob’s Well has thousands of feet of flooded underground passages that are popular among cave divers.
Airmen’s Cave is located next to Barton Creek in Austin, Texas. It is about 11,299 feet long, with tight passages and long, narrow crawls. The cave is part of Barton Creek Greenbelt Park, managed by the Austin’s Parks and Recreation Department. The cave was created in the early Cretaceous Period from the Edwards limestone. It provides home to several endangered species of troglobites, such as the Tooth Cave ground beetle and the Tooth Cave spider. While many narrow passages are scary, one of the worst is the famous Birth Canal. It is so tight that it discourages inexperienced cavers from going on. Further on is the Aggie Art Gallery, which has reddish brown clay and many small sculptures that were created and left by cavers in the past.
Bracken Cave is located just outside of San Antonio, Texas, at the bottom of a sinkhole created when the cave’s roof collapsed. The access to the cave is through the crescent-shaped 100-foot-wide opening. The cave is world-renowned as the home to the world’s biggest colony of bats. According to a rough estimate, more than 20 million Mexican free-tailed bats come to the cave from early March to the end of October to roost. Austin-based Bat Conservation International owns the cave and the land around it. They restored the land and planted a range of native vegetation that supports a rich variety of wildlife. Access to the cave is strictly controlled to protect this rare habitat and the bats, but Bat Conservation International organizes guided tours to the entrance to the cave to observe the bats as they fly out of the cave each evening throughout the summer.
25101 Natural Bridge Caverns Rd, San Antonio, TX 78266