Visitors Guide to
Illinois Caverns
State Natural Area

G Road
Monroe County, Illinois

Due to budget cuts, Illinois Caverns SNA is currently closed.

Accessible Parking Accessible Picnic Facilities Accessible Interpretive Displays Hiking Trails Wildlife Viewing Accessible Restrooms

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Illinois Caverns State Natural Area is a 120-acre nature preserve in southwest Monroe County. The main attraction of the site is the unimproved wild Mammoth Cave, the second-largest cave in Illinois. The cave has been mapped for six miles with nearly three miles of walking-height passage and features formations such as stalactites, stalagmites, rimstone dams, flowstone, soda straws, and an underground stream. The cave has a constant temperature of 58 degrees F. and passages can be twenty feet high and twenty feet wide. Fauna in the cave includes bats, salamanders, frogs, crickets, amphipods, isopods, and the endangered Illinois Cave Amphipod.

With more than 100 recorded caves, Monroe County has more caves than any other county in Illinois. Illinois Caverns has the distinction of being the only cave that has been operated commercially in Illinois. A bound register kept at the caverns indicates that the first paying sightseers arrived April 23, 1901. A second attempt to commercialize the cave was made after William Hayden bought the property in 1947. Some improvements were made, including the installation of electric lights in the main passageways and advertisements proclaimed "Mammoth Cave of Illinois  -- One of the World's Most Beautiful Caves." Unfortunately for Hayden the venture failed and his nephew sold the property to the state in 1985. Interested visitors can explore the cave provided they are in groups of at least 4, fill out a permit application, and bring proper gear. For a complete explanation of the requirements or to get more details about the caverns use the link at the bottom of the page.

Above ground the Illinois Caverns State Natural Area offers a half-mile long prairie trail offering a chance to view the flora of an Illinois prairie in its natural state. The site also offers a picnic shelter, primitive restrooms, and a changing area, but there is no running water or electricity at the site.

Visiting Illinois Caverns State Natural Area
     Visiting Hours
          April 15 - September 15
               Wednesday - Sunday: 8:30 am - 3:30 pm
          September 16 - April 14
               Thursday - Saturday: 8:30 am - 3:30 pm
There is no charge to visit Illinois Caverns State Natural Area, although donations are appreciated.

Directions: Illinois Caverns State Natural Area is located near the small town of Burksville. Take IL-3 approximately 2 miles south of the last exit to Waterloo past a John Deere dealership (approximately 10 miles north of Red Bud on IL-3.) Take a right onto Kaskaskia Road and follow it into Burksville. The last road in Burksville is KK Road, take a left on KK Road and go approximately 1 mile and take a right onto G Road. (G Road jogs at KK road, taking a left will lead you back past Burksville.) Follow G Road approximately 3 miles and Illinois Caverns will be on the right.

Learn more about the Monroe County area.

Illinois Caverns State Natural Area - Official IDNR website

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