20939 RR 674, Brackettville, TX 78832.
35 km north of Brackettville, on the southern Edwards Plateau. Hwa 90 west out of Uvalde, then Ranch Road 674 north of Brackettville for 35 km. No signs!
All year Fri 8 to Mon 16:30.
Kickapoo Cavern: All year Sat 13.
Adults USD 3, Children (0-12) free.
Kickapoo Cavern: Adults USD 10.
Kickapoo Cavern: L=428 m, VR=40 m, T=21 °C.
Stuart Bat Cave: L=332 m, VR=29 m.
Stuart Bat Cave:
Kickapoo Cavern: D=3 h, Max=10, MinAge=5.
Hal T. Cunningham (1990):
At The Great Kickapoo Cave April 22, 1889,
Texas Speleological Association, The Texas Caver, October 1990, p 103.
|Address:||Kickapoo Cavern State Park, P O Box 705, Brackettville TX 78832, Tel: +1-830-563-2342. E-mail:|
|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.
|1889||Kickapoo Cavern visited by a group of nine people, first written account of the cave.|
|1957||end of guano mining.|
|DEC-1986||acquired by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.|
|1991||opened to the public on a limited basis.|
20 caves are known in Kickapoo Cavern State Park but only two of them have a relevant length. None of these caves is developed, and it is not allowed to enter any cave. Also, the park itself is in a rather undeveloped state, it offers hiking and mountain biking, caves, camping, bird-watching, geocaching and evening bat flight viewing. There are numerous miles of trail and the park is famous for its birds. There is a small day use fee, and the park is open only on weekends.
Kickapoo Cavern can be toured with appropriate clothing and gear. This is a 3-hour cave trekking tour which requires good walking shoes and two lamps per visitor. The cave is quite spacious and the floor is mostly dry, so there is not much danger of getting dirty and crawling is also not necessary. On the other side it's quite hot in Texan caves, so a T-shirt and thin trousers are The cave is said to have the largest speleothems in Texas, the largest pilar is 25 m high. The cave was visited by natives, near the entrance numerous remains were found. It seems they visited the cave for the clear pools which provided drinking water all year in the rather dry area. From the 1880s it was visited by European settlers, there are numerous graffities which give an idea that it was visited frequently. One of those tourist visits is documented, in 1889 a group of nine people visited the cave with lanterns and torches. Among them was the circuit riding itinerant Methodist minister Hal T. Cunningham who wrote a description of the tour in his diary. The description was first published 101 years later in the Texas Caver magazine.
The tour is guided by a park ranger and has a fixed time, every Saturday at 13, but nevertheless it is necessary to make a reservation. The group size is restricted to 10 persons, so reservation is actually a good thing, as tours are often full.
Stuart Bat Cave is as a migratory stopover for large numbers of Mexican Free-tail Bats (Tadarida brasiliensis mexicana) from March to October. Bat flights are often spectacular, and observations can be observed from a small plattform in front of the cave entrance. It's not allowed to enter the cave but access to the viewing platform is not restricted and free. There are explanatory signs and a small parking lot, the cave is located halfway between the park gate and the visitor center. The cave was formerly known as Green Cave, but was renamed in honour of the biologist D.K. Stuart who worked to protect the bats. As it is not possible to enter the cave it is also not possible to see the other animals which live in the cave. Bees and cave swallows (Hirundo fulva pallida) nest near the entrance. Several million gnats live from the bat droppings and swarm through the cave while the bats are present. There are numerous guanophiles living in the cave, like the fast-moving, reddish beetle Rhadine howdeni.
The guano of the half a Million to one Million bats living in the cave is quite massive. The former owners mined the guano on a low scale until 1957. It was used as fertilizer and for the production of explosives. The land was owned by the Seargeant family, who donated it 1986 to the people of Texas to become a state park. The bat cave is easily accessible on weekends and there is no need to make reservations for a bat tour, but the number of visitors for the park is restricted, so you should definitely make a reservation.