AN EGYPTIAN DARKNESS
Kickapoo Cavern State Park lies along the southwestern edge of the Edwards Plateau, just up the road from the historic town of Brackettville, where the park’s namesake cavern harbors the largest known cave columns in the state. The park offers primitive tours of the cave, an undeveloped chamber dropping sixteen stories underground, where visitors must rely on similar methods that Methodist circuit rider Hal Cunningham used when he entered the cave in 1889. Cunningham and his party explored the enormous cavern using lanterns and torchlight, inspiring a paragraph in Cunningham’s diary in which he describes the experience as entering “the Egyptian darkness of the subterranean wonder”. The rugged conditions of the cave and its massive boulders of breakdown that once clung to the ceiling never failed to impress visitors today as they scramble over limestone blocks and scoot around ancient stalagmites. The cavern represents approximately four million years of geology, formed by slowly moving groundwater as it dissolved the surrounding limestone, and harbors a relatively dry environment populated by many cave formations but few living creatures. The park’s Stuart Bat Cave, named in honor of the late, great David K. Stuart and previous park manager, provides a lively alternative. Stuart Bat Cave harbors thousands of Mexican free-tailed bats from spring to fall and visitors may witness their exit, a whirling mass of flying mammals, during scheduled evening observations.
Kickapoo Cavern State Park
The park is open for day use and overnight visitation, Friday through Monday.