Spelunking at Natural Bridge Caverns

Little did I know that just some miles outside of San Antonio was one of the largest caves in Texas: Natural Bridge Caverns.

Natural Bridge Caverns Dinosaur

Natural Bridge Caverns San Antonio Texas
Discovered by four college students in 1960.

At first, I hesitated to go, because was it really worth $20/person to go crawling around in a cave? The answer is yes. Yes, it is. First of all, because the cave was so large, we didn’t have to crawl on our knees. In fact, the entire tour was a comfortable 3/4 mile walk with ample room above our heads most of the time (unless you’re 6′ 6″ like this one dude). Secondly, I saw some incredible natural formations that I’d never have thought to see in Texas.

Natural Bridge Caverns Entrance
Bwahaha, now there’s no going back…

The Bear Pit Natural Bridge Caverns

All was well until I ventured further into the cave where it was a toasty 70 degrees Fahrenheit and 99% humidity. My camera lens fogged up and I couldn’t take any clear pictures using my DSLR. 🙁 So tragic! As a result, the rest of these photos were taken with my iPhone (which worked surprisingly well, given the environmental conditions).

Natural Bridge Caverns Bat Roost
On the top: an old bat roost

IMG_6238

Natural Bridge Caverns Caver's Creed

Because this cave was still growing, we were not allowed to touch it. The bacteria and oils from our hands stunt its growth. In fact, it was against the law to touch and you could be jailed and fined thousands of dollars if you did!

Natural Bridge Caverns San Antonio Texas

We reached an area that was large and roomy with fantastic stalactites and stalagmites growing around us.

Stalactites grow from the ceiling.

It may be hard to tell from the photos, but the height of this cave was really impressive. As seen above, I couldn’t capture the entire length of the stalagmites in one frame.

Natural Bridge Caverns San Antonio Texas

This next area had a beautiful, clear, blue pool where rainwater collected inside. The water was clean enough to drink, but obviously we did no such thing.

Natural Bridge Caverns Pool

IMG_6273

Three large stone structures surrounded this pool, and each one had a name that suited its look.

The Watchtower
The Watchtower
King's Throne
King’s Throne
Mount of the Landlord
Mount of the Landlord

Down below, Emerald Lake:

Emerald Lake

Our second to last stop was the Hall of the Mountain King.

Natural Bridge Caverns Texas
Left: Hall of the Mountain King. Right: Grendel’s Canyon.

Finally, we began the steepest ascent to the top of the cave.

Valley of the Fallen Lords
Valley of the Fallen Lords

I took a short video with my GoPro while walking up the slope. Take a look:

Natural Bridge Caverns San Antonio Texas
At the top of the cave, looking down

Despite the two-hour wait for an available tour, this offbeat attraction was worth it. I don’t think I’ve ever been in a cave this large before. I went caving once at Catalyst retreat, but it was a tiny cave where we actually had to crawl around to get through. I came out all muddy and scratched! But before I can say I’ve experienced it all, there’s still one more cave that I want to see:

glow worm glowworm cave
Waitomo Glowworm Caves, New Zealand (source)

Have you ever been to Natural Bridge Caverns? What other cool caves should I visit?

Thanks for reading!

P.S. Photos of me taken by Lilly and my bro. View more photos in my Texas road trip album.

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  • I’ve been here before! My dad grew up in San Antonio so we’d spend every summer there when I was growing up. My grandparents took me and all of the cousins here once when I was around 8 years old! I remember it being SO COOL– I’d love to go back!

    Have you ever been to the Grand Canyon? Not a cave, but still one of the most amazing places on earth to visit!

    XxMO
    madame-ostrich.com

    • How unexpectedly exciting! It was very cool, but it might seem smaller to you now than when you saw it at 8.

      Never been to the Grand Canyon but I’d love to go some day, with a willing travel buddy 🙂 Thanks for reading!

  • a.

    This is a very cool cave! Very beautiful formations.

    • I agree! I wonder if all caves look like this though…

      • a.

        Caves can be very different! For example, check out this cave in Vietnam that can fit a skyscraper and even has its own forest growing inside:

        http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/son-doong-cave-vietnam-tour-location-pictures-511390

        • That’s awesome, thanks for sharing! I like how lush and green it is inside. There was only 1 growing plant inside Natural Bridges. Hope the cave in Vietnam will be open for tourism again in the future…

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