Experience one of the world’s premier caverns, Natural Bridge Caverns. Take the Discovery Tour and see what millions of others have seen – an incredible underground world of natural beauty. This 75-minute tour travels through a half-mile of the largest and most spectacular show cavern in Texas. The new Illuminations Tour gives guests an up-close and personal tour of the amazing Hidden Passages dramatic lighting and spectacular formations. For the more daring, Adventure Tours offer physically demanding and thrilling excursions into remarkable wild and rarely seen sections of the cavern, advance reservations required. Natural Bridge Caverns also offers one of Texas’ largest climbing towers and zip lines.
Natural Bridge Caverns is the biggest cave in South Central Texas. This cave gets its name because it has a natural rock bridge between two sinkholes. Back in the 1800s, people who lived around this cave would explore it. Bones and other artifacts have been found in the cave dating back thousands of years.
Usually, caves are chilly inside. This privately owned cave is a little different. It is humid inside and fairly warm. If you are a typical visitor, you will want to take the North Cavern tour. Wear good walking shoes–no heels or sandals.
It takes about 75 minutes to complete the tour. Bring your camera for some beautiful shots of God’s artistry underground. If you have never before toured a cave, you will like this one. However, if you have been to Carlsbad Caverns or a similar cave, you will probably be disappointed.
There is also a South Cavern Tour meant for real, experienced cavers. This tour is a one-mile adventure, complete with caving gear and is rated moderate to hard. Reservations are required.
The cave property also has a rock wall tower for climbing, two 350 foot zip lines, and a place for kids to mine for cool stones and gems using a screen and washing dirt in the water.
My kids love the climbing wall and zip lines. I loved mining for the stones–it was great fun, just like the California Gold Rush! Every member of your family should enjoy something about this place.
In March of 1960, four students from St. Mary’s University went out for a weekend of spelunking and ended up discovering the fabulous Natural Bridge Caverns. There was chamber after chamber of spectacular formations, one as large as a football field. The gigantic towering columns were breathtaking, there were Emerald pools, delicate, crystalline soda straws, and all of it still living and growing.
Governor Connally christened it the “Jewel in the Crown of Texas’ Attractions”. It has been designated as a National Natural Landmark.
Since its discovery, the area has been developed for the enjoyment of the guests who come from all over the world to view this stunning attraction. The first 1/2 mile is the Discovery tour. The Aquifer Tour is available when there have been heavy rains and the water in the Discovery Passages rises to give a view of spectacular and unique natural phenomenon – a close-up view of the aquifer. This tour is not always available, it totally depends on the amount of rainfall and the groundwater flow.
The Lantern Tour is the first tour of the day where you carry cave lanterns to see. It is similar to what the original discovers did nearly 50 years ago.
If you feel you are in great shape then you may want to take the Adventure Tour. This 3 to 4-hour excursion will have you climbing, crawling, rappelling, and exploring only with the light from your helmet. You will be outfitted with caving gear and lowered by rope through a 160 footwell shaft. You will travel approximately one mile, going down to 230 feet below surface level to the Fault Room, and observe the longest soda straw formations in North America, reaching 14 feet in length. But remember, this is only for those in truly great physical condition.
Now that you have come out of the dark you may want to continue to test yourself with other adventures. Try the Watchtower Challenge which is hooking yourself up to one of the largest public zip lines in Texas. It stands 50 feet tall and overlooks the rolling Hill Country landscape. There are two parallel zip lines running more than 350 feet. You get hooked in via a twin stainless steel pulley and step off the platform and go sailing through the air at speeds up to 25 miles per hour as you go the 350 feet to the other side.
The Natural Bridge Mining Co. and Rock Shop is something that everyone can enjoy. It is like panning for gold but you are actually going to find gems and minerals as well as possibly a fossil and arrowheads. You get to keep whatever you find.
Take Exit 175 on I-35. For more information, call (210)651-6101.
Natural Bridge Caverns
26495 Natural Bridge Caverns Rd, San Antonio, TX 78266