Westcave Discovery Center, Austin

This area is beautiful.  It transformed my view of Texas.  The Westcave Preserve is located in the hill country of Austin, about 40 minutes from downtown.  It is minutes from the famous Hamilton Pool.  The Preserve offers guided tours of the lush canyon, stream and spectacular grotto.  The grotto was formed by the erosion of limestone by water.  There is a 40-foot waterfall into a clear and deep pool.  Adjacent is an interesting cave with baby stalactites and mushroom-like stalagmites.  It is hard to convey how beautiful, verdant and serene the area is!

The area is open by tour only and costs just $15 for adults.  The tour meets at the Visitors Center, which has interesting exhibits about the wildlife, history and geology of the area.  Our guide was a geologist and he explained how the grotto and hill country were formed.  The hike is short, but goes down steep steps.  The scenery changes from dry savannah with live oaks to an almost rain forest-like area with ferns and cypress.  We walked behind the waterfall and learned how the area had been almost trashed by human activity.  The owner of the property worked hard to restore the area and now limits visits to keep it almost pristine.  We saw a snake (water moccasin), turtles and birds.  It was wonderful!

The Center has water and restrooms.  You can borrow a backpack, binoculars or walking stick.  There is also a picnic area.

The Visitors Center is made from area limestone and there are lots of embedded fossils

The grotto

The ceiling of the cave has needle-like stalactites

Our group in the cave


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