Longhorn Cavern State Park is a spectacular place in Burnet, Texas. This Texas State Park is only about 600 acres in size, but contains a cavern formed by an ancient river, like few others. Hiking in Texas Hill Country is an unforgettable experience. How much more amazing would it be to hike underneath the hills?
Hike Under Texas Hill Country at Longhorn Cavern State Park
You can experience its significance yourself by taking one of two guided tours at Longhorn Cavern State Park. The park offers a guided walking tour which is geared toward the average visitor, and a wild cave tour more suited for adventurers who enjoy getting dirty.
Guided Tours and Things to Do at Longhorn Cavern State Park in Texas
- Guided walking tour
- Wild cave tour
- Gift shop
- Observation center
- Nature trails
- Picnic area
This Texas State Park is free to enter during normal operating hours. However, entering the cavern is not free and may require a reservation. Guided walking tours cost $18 per person, and take place on the hour. A wild cave tour happens every Saturday at 9:30am, and is $55.
The walking tour is a very easy hike, and well worth the price of admission. I plan on returning in the summer to experience the more adventurous cave tour. Every participant who emerges from the cavern without dying receives a free, wild cave shirt!
Visitors Center and Dog Friendly Hiking Trails
The gift shop and restrooms are located inside the visitors center. You can find items to use in the cavern, or take them home as souvenirs. Purchase tour tickets at the counter, and wait for your tour to begin by the back door.
Directly behind the visitors center you can access the nature trails. These trails are dog friendly, but will only lead you about one mile through Hill Country. If you’d like to gather a better view of Hill Country, head to the CCC Observation Tower on the south side of the park.
How to Get to Longhorn Cavern State Park
Address: 6211 Park Road 4 S, Burnet, TX 78611
Fees: Guided tour is $18, and the Wild Cave Tour is $55
Longhorn Cavern State Park is open from 9am to 5pm Monday – Friday, and 9am to 6pm on the weekends. It is southeast of Buchanan Lake, and Inks Lake State Park, along Park Road 4 in Burnet, Texas. If you are coming from San Antonio, or Austin, it will take about 90 minutes to reach the cavern. Use US-281 to reach Park Road 4, which will take you directly to the state park.
I’ve seen several caves in Texas Hill Country, but none of them are like this. The limestone appears smooth, but scarred. The halls are wide, and almost alien-like. Cave formations are present, but are less frequent than those seen in more typical caves. Crystals fill certain rooms while others appear empty. A few creatures may remain hanging from the dark ceilings and walls.
Longhorn Cavern Rules and Restrictions
Although this state park is free to visit, you may only do so during operating hours. Entering the park after hours is not allowed. The nature trails are dog friendly, but the cavern is not. Only service dogs are allowed to enter Longhorn Cavern.
Unfortunately, the general public is not allowed to enter the cavern alone. Guided tours are required. Reservations should be made in advance to ensure a spot on your tour of choice. The wild cave tour has additional requirements:
- Are you 8 years of age or older?
- Is your girth 52″ or smaller?
- Will you sign a waiver?
- Do you have your own safety equipment (helmet with light, pads, shoes, etc.)?
If you answered yes to each of those questions, you qualify for the wild cave tour. Furthermore, if you hold a Texas State Parks Pass you will receive a 10% discount when you purchase your ticket. You can view the tour availability, or make a reservation here. You’re welcome!
Things to Do Near the Cavern
A few of the things you cannot do at Longhorn Cavern State Park, you can do right down the road at Inks Lake State Park. These things may include:
- Hiking with scenic views
- Climbing rocks
Longhorn Cavern holds many spectacular sights, but visiting the park is a short stay indeed. We were only inside the park for two hours. The guided tour is 90 minutes long. The wild cave tour may last nearly three hours, but that’s still less than half the day. We decided to head to Inks Lake State Park afterwards to go hiking with our dog.
Inks Lake has miles of dog friendly hiking trails, scenic views and water activities. Both parks are incredibly close together, and a great combination for the entire day. We witnessed the hills from above and below after visiting Longhorn Cavern and Inks Lake.