Cascade Caverns is a historically, geologically, and biologically important limestone solutional cave three miles (4.8 km) south of Boerne, Texas, United States, on 226 Cascade Caverns Road, in Kendall County. It has been commercially operated as a show cave and open for public tours since 1932.
Cascade Caverns entrance, ticket booth and house
|Location||Kendall County, Texas, United States|
|Show cave opened||1932|
Cascade Caverns is part of the Glen Rose Formation, a shallow marine to shoreline geological formation from the lower Cretaceous period. This formation has been exposed in a large area beginning in South Central Texas, running north through the Texas Hill Country, ending up in North Central Texas.
The cave has been open to the environment for many tens of thousands of years, as evidenced by prehistoric animal finds and Lipan Apache artifacts from the 1700s. The cave was first commercially opened in 1932 and operated until about 1941. During the time of closure, the cave's artifact collection was looted. It was later reopened in the 1950s. Cascade Caverns had been originally known as Hester's Cave. It became most famous as a result of Frank Nicholson's publication of cave explorations.
Cascade Caverns maintains an average temperature of 59–68 °F (15–20 °C) all year round. A one-hour commercial tour passes through a half mile of flowstone corridors and winding chambers, which leads one 140 feet below the surface and into the Cathedral Room.
The cave was host to Texas’ only cavern with a natural interior waterfall. Originally, there were 7 waterfalls in the Cathedral Room of the cavern. Recent droughts in Texas tended to limit and even stop the flow of water supplying this feature. It is now artificially pumped through a series of pipes to imitate what it would have looked like naturally. This very feature: the cascading waterfall is what had earned the cave its name. The cave is much alive and water droplets persistently fall upon the cave formations.
The cave is home to unusual insects, reptiles, bats, and the rare Cascade Caverns Neotenic Salamander. Known as the Cascade Caverns Salamander or Kendall County Salamander, it can only be found in Cascade Caverns and another regional cave, the Cave Without a Name.
Mastodon remains, saber-toothed tiger bones, American bison bones, and other animals have been found in the cave. Native American artifacts, human remains, and guns parts have also been located in the cave. Most were taken in the looting that followed its closure during the 1940s.
In April 1984, a Texas Historical Marker was placed near the cave to commemorate the natural landmark.