|Location:||I-255 South to Route 3, through Columbia and Waterloo. Approx. 5km behind Waterloo 2nd right, on to Kaskaskia Road after the John Deere Dealership on the right. Left on KK Road, right on G Road, 5km to the cave. 57km south of St. Louis.|
Thu-Sat 8:30-15:30, last admission at 14:30.
Completion of an application permit.
|Classification:||Karst cave, river cave. Mississippian limestone and dolomite|
|Address:||Illinois Caverns, Chris Hespen, Site Interpreter, 10981 Conservation Rd., Baldwin, IL 62217, Tel: +1-618-458-6699 or +1-618-785-2555. E-mail: or|
|As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.
|1901||leased by a Mr. White of East St. Louis.|
|23-APR-1901||first paying sightseers.|
|1947||farm on which the cave was located sold to William Hayden. Cave developed and electric light installed by the new owner.|
|1985||sold to the State of Illinois.|
Illinois Caverns is a river cave with a small cave river. It is the only cave that has been operated commercially in Illinois. Its entrance is developed and protected by an iron gate, and a part of the cave is developed with paths and once had electric light. But the cave never was a commercial success.
Today cave tours are spelunking tours with a very low severity. The cave has about 5.8km of walking-height passage, but some of it through the knee-deep cave stream. There are no paths or lights on this tours. Illinois Department of Natural Resources, the owner of the caves, allows spelunking tours by visitors who fulfill the permit requirements. Groups with a minimum of four persons can navigate their way through the cave "on their own", a map of the cave is provided with a brochure.
The necessary equipment are at least three light sources per person, helmets, Wellingtons, old and warm clothes. It is possible to change clothing at a changing hut at the cave entrance, but there is no possibility for a shower, as there is no water. For more info read the official website below.
The cave has an outstanding invertebrate fauna, including gammerus acherondytes, the Illinois Cave Amphipod. It houses numerous troglobites like the cave salamander and two species of bats, the Little Brown and Eastern Pipistrel.
The cave was explored and surveyed by the Windy City Grotto.