Texas State Parks: Kickapoo Cavern State Park

Located north of Brackettville, Kickapoo Cavern State Park has been opened to the public since 1991. The park includes much of the Edwards Plateau and was originally the Seargeant Ranch.

However, the park is still undergoing development so it is only open for guided tours. Despite its limited access, park visitors have exciting options to choose from including wild cave tours, bird walks, and evening bat flights. Many of the tours at Kickapoo Cavern State Park are offered during the spring and summer months of the year. The park maintains a calendar of events that can be accessed online. Interested individuals can also call ahead for details.

Among the most interesting activities within Kickapoo Cavern State Park are the tours of the 15 caves. The main focus is on the two largest caves: Kickapoo Cavern and Stuart Bat Cave. Kickapoo Cavern is about a quarter mile long. Its impressive formations are part of its fascination.

Stuart Bat Cave is slightly shorter than Kickapoo Cavern, a little over 200 feet shorter. Originally named Green Cave, this cave is a major migratory stopover for Brazilian Freetail bats. The bats arrive in large numbers during the months between mid-March and the very end of October. Park visitors can sign up for tours as well as observation opportunities.

Hiking trails span 18 miles and offer excellent opportunities to enjoy the scenic beauty and presence of wildlife. Birding trails follow the same pathways. Mountain biking is also available along 14 miles of designated trails in Kickapoo Cavern State Park.

Wildlife within the park is varied and includes whitetail deer, ringtail, raccoon, rock squirrel, gray fox, rabbit, porcupine, and a variety of rodents. A number of less commonly found reptiles also inhabit the park including the mottled rock rattlesnake, the Texas alligator lizard, and the barking frog. The park is filled with a mix of Texas persimmon, juniper, live oak, pinyon pine, mesquite, and mountain laurel.

In addition to the bats, a large number of migratory birds flock to the area. The birds frequent the park during the spring and fall months. In fact, birding has increased in popularity at Kickapoo Cavern State Park due to the presence of hard-to-find species such as the Varied Bunting, Gray Vireo, and Montezuma Quail. The Black-capped Vireo, an endangered species, has taken up breeding within the park, which has become home to one of the largest breeding populations of this species.

Several popular attractions are located near the park. These include Amistad National Recreation Area, Devil’s River, Devil’s Sinkhole State Natural Area, and Lost Maples State Natural Area. Several other state parks are located near the park. They include Garner State Park, Seminole Canyon State Park & Historic Site, and South Llano River State Park.

The park can be reached by traveling Ranch Road 674 north of Brackettville. The park gate is locked when not in use. July brings the hottest temperature and reaching 90 degrees is typical. The month of January brings the lowest temperatures.