Caves In Southern Indiana
An overview of Wyandotte Cave in Southern Indiana.
Although it's not well-known, southern Indiana has over 400 caves of all sizes and configurations. The vast majority of the caves in our state are on private property, but we have a few larger commercial caves that can be visited by anyone.
In fact, below the surface just west of New Albany lies Wyandotte Cave, one of the largest cave systems in the United States. Radiocarbon dating of the remains of a torch found inside proved the cave had human visitors as long ago as about 200 A.D.
Legend says the first exploration of Wyandotte Cave by someone other than a Native American was F.I. Bentley in the year 1798. Bentley supposedly helped a Wyandot Indian brave recover from his injuries and in appreciation for this kindness, the brave showed him the cave. Wyandotte is just one of several commercial caves in the state. Commercial caves contain some of the most spectacular underground formations, which visitors can admire and appreciate without worrying about equipment or special training.
Compared to most other caves in the state, Wyandotte is distinguished for its exceptionally large passageways and rooms. No need to crawl around on your belly here, not by a long shot. The impressive size and grandeur of Faneuil Hall, Odd Fellows Hall and Rothrock Cathedral to name a few, are the result of limestone dissolution and the process of ceiling collapse. Another cave formation called the Pillar of the Constitution in the Senate Chamber is reputed to be the largest its kind in the world.
Visitors to Wyandotte can select from a number of guided tours, with something available for all ages, skill levels and interests. The guided tours utilize paved, lighted walkways and have stairways for access.
The Historical tour, which lasts about an hour, takes hikers through many of the rooms and passageways of Big Wyandotte, stopping along the way at the famed counterfeiter's trench. Visitors learn the tale of three counterfeiters who used the cave as a base of operations some 137 years ago. Only two of the men were eventually caught.
The Monument Mountain tour, for those interested in a more rugged tour, lasts about two hours and covers 1 & 1/2 miles of terrain. Two tours are offered for serious spelunkers (those with previous training), where you can crawl, climb and squeeze your way to the innermost reaches of Big Wyandotte, guided only by hand-held electric lanterns.
Wyandotte is located within the Harrison-Crawford State Forest, just off I-64 near Corydon.
Two other popular commercial caves are Marengo and Squire Boone Caverns. Marengo which was discovered by two children in 1883 and is located south of Paoli and French Lick. In Marengo, they'll dazzle you with fancy light shows and point out a trail filled with incredible soda-straw formations.
Squire Boone caverns, south of Corydon near the Kentucky border, were discovered by the famous brothers Daniel and Squire Boone around 1790. Yet another legend says they were hiding out, but from whom? Above ground at Squire Boone, you'll find a log cabin village and gristmill.