Natural Bridge Caverns
History and Discovery
In March of 1960, Orion Knox Jr., Preston Knodell, Al Brandt and Joe Cantu, four college students from St. Mary's University in San Antonio, obtained permission to explore the area that is now Natural Bridge Caverns. The students were convinced that large underground passages existed under the amazing 60-foot limestone bridge. On their fourth expedition, Orion felt a cool draft from a rubble-filled crawlway. Such air currents often indicate the presence of additional rooms or passages.
The explorers made their way carefully climbing and crawling through two miles of vast cavern passage. After making this amazing discovery, they returned to the surface to tell the landowners. The discoverers knew immediately what an astonishing find they had made and the land owners decided to develop the first 1/2 mile, the most spectacular part of the caverns, for the enjoyment of guests from around the world. That first 1/2 mile is now the Discovery Tour. Natural Bridge Caverns Discovery Tour was developed with two main goals in mind: preservation of the cavern environment and comfort of its guests. The result is one of the world premier show caverns, and one of the most popular attractions in Texas.
Amazing sights! It was very well conducted, but a bit expensive unless you get the San Antonio go pass and see a bunch of other attractions too. However, this is a must see! The formations are stunning, truly amazing. It takes 100 years to form 1 cubic inch. You will see millions of year old formations that are beautiful and simply spectacular. Highly recommended! We did it in flip flops and it was fine. It was humid but not overly hot in there (July 3).
Showed up around 9:30 on a Saturday and managed to avoid long lines. We did the combo hidden passages and discovery tour and found both very interesting. Hidden passages guides you through a number of rooms with very interesting formations. Seeing the original shaft that started it all was also fascinating. The discovery tour was very good as well and was more at your own pace, though they prefer you to follow along. The canyons are so impressive. Things are a much bigger scale here though I feel like people were breaking rules more frequently on this one. Easy walk through and a very good place to see caves overall. I wish they had more water fountains but I can understand they want to sell more drinks.
My husband took me on a date to these caverns, and to be honest I wasn't convinced it would be all that amazing. But, i was wrong. It was actually interesting to see the rock formations as most of them are actually quite impressive. The really amazing part happened after the cavern tour closed. The Bat Conservation owns a cave down the road from the Natural Bridge Caverns and if you purchase the Bracken Discovery tour you get a tour of the Natural Bridge Caverns and a sunset view of the largest bat concentration in the world. There are hardly words for how breath taking it was to watch these creatures exit the cave in wild waves avoiding snakes and hawks. I would recommend both adventures to families and couples alike. Just keep an open mind!
Katie Beth Henry
Fantastic! Lots of changes recently and it was great!! Haven't been in 20 years and it was like a new adventure. Great for kids and adults too!! Our tour guide was awesome!! Love the shaded picnic tables in the parking lot for lunch as well!
Impressive what nature can do. These caverns make one feel "small" when you learn that they grew at a pace of an ice cube per 100 years. Tour guides could speak more slowly and $25 was not exactly cheap for the one hour I spent there. Would still recommend you check it out though.