Devil’s Sinkhole is the third deepest sinkhole in the state of Texas. This natural formation is in the Hill Country near Rocksprings, Texas. Devil’s Sinkhole State Natural Area is protected and managed by Texas Parks and Wildlife. In order to visit the sinkhole you must make a reservation and pay a fee. Due to restrictions and locations, most people will never see this unique place, and less will enter the underworld.
Devil’s Sinkhole Tour (Video)
We have visited every state park in Texas Hill Country, and this was the final one on the list. Unlike most other parks, you cannot camp or hike here. You can’t even get a look at the sinkhole without a chaperone. This is a very protected area because of what lives beneath the surface. You may not be able to visit this natural area yourself, but you can see what it’s like in our video.
How to Get to Devil’s Sinkhole State Natural Area
Address: 101 N Sweeten St, Rocksprings, TX 78880. This is the route to the visitors center in Rocksprings where you will pay and watch a brief video before your tour. The gate to the sinkhole is locked when tours are not in progress.
Fees: $14 for adults, and $6 for kids
The Devil’s Sinkhole State Natural Area visitors center is along US-377 in Rocksprings. The entrance is located at the intersection of Main Street and Sweeten Street. Rocksprings may appear very run-down, but the visitors center is easy to find.
Devil’s Sinkhole is about eight miles outside of town to the northeast. There are not many recognizable towns in this area as Texas Hill Country begins to transition into Big Bend Country. You can reach the sinkhole in under one hour from South Llano River State Park or just over an hour from Kickapoo Cavern State Park. The entrance to the sinkhole is easy to miss along US-377.
Things to Do at Devil’s Sinkhole
Tours are the only thing you will be able to do here. The park offers birding and sinkhole tours. No one is able to enter the sinkhole except staff. Surprisingly, they are able to climb down into the sinkhole. For the most part, they educate visitors on the history of the sinkhole, or prepare them for the bat emergence.
Approximately three million bats reside inside Devil’s Sinkhole. During summer months visitors can watch them emerge from the gaping hole around dusk. I’ve seen the bat emergence in Hill Country more than once, and it is quite a sight. Imagine black cloud formations swirling out of a giant hole, wandering high above the hills and consuming massive amounts of insects. It’s a bit like that.
On the weekends, you can tour the sinkhole throughout the day before the bats come out. Tours are less than one hour, including time spent watching video footage from beneath the surface. Normally, a bus takes visitors to the sinkhole from the visitors center, but this year it is everyone for themselves. You can also purchase souvenirs at the visitors center. Tour times are not scheduled online so make sure you call ahead and reserve a spot – (830) 683-2287.
Entering the Darkness of the Netherworld
If you look down into Devil’s Sinkhole, you will notice a pile of rocks. These rocks collapsed to form the sinkhole long ago. They currently rest about 150 feet below the surface, but this is not the bottom of the hole. The sinkhole continues to depths greater than 350 feet, and a width over 1,000 feet across.
Remnants of a ranch are still visible throughout the natural area, which is not uncommon inside a Texas State Park. In recent history, people mined the hole for bat guano, collected bats for an ingenious fire-bomb scheme, and created an elevator ride. Despite these intrusions life continues to thrive inside Devil’s Sinkhole.
The lowest part of the sinkhole is wider than three football fields, with a lake at either end. A unique isopod lives in the water which is exclusive to this hole. How far do the lakes extend? It’s difficult to say, but they probably connect to the Edwards Aquifer. Some of us may be using water today from this pathway to the underworld.
When to Visit the Sinkhole
There is no bad time to visit Devil’s Sinkhole State Natural Area, as long as the park is open. Unfortunately, hours are extremely limited. This park is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. Wednesday would be your best opportunity because operating hours are 10am – 3pm. The park is only open from 12:30pm – 3pm the rest of the week.
Some people visit this sinkhole along the route to Big Bend National Park, or another park in the area. We were able to visit this park, as well as Kickapoo Cavern, on our road trip. If you are looking for the best things to do in Big Bend, or state parks worth visiting nearby, you will find links to those here. Devil’s Sinkhole is a very short visit (not including the drive), but the state parks and natural areas in Hill Country may be the perfect stop as you pass through.
I’m a certified personal trainer in San Antonio. After adopting Abbey, I created Places for Pups to help you get outside, exercise with your dog and have fun doing it.
We have mastered hiking in Texas Hill Country. Though we emerge from the woods unharmed, we are not responsible for you or your pets. You are solely responsible for trying exercises, or places discussed on this site.
Grab the best hiking gear and go dog friendly. I wish you good fortune on the trails to come.