Mouth of the Tunnel Cave
This opening one a nature
trail allows visitors to walk
into the Tunnel Cave.
Inside the Tunnel Cave
Despite its darkness, the
cave eventually leads hikers
to the "light at the end of the
tunnel." - Florida Caverns State Park - Florida Caverns State Park
The Tunnel Cave at Florida Caverns State Park
The Tunnel Cave
This unusual cave at Florida Caverns State Parks
carries hikers right through a hillside.
A Unique Landmark in the Forest
A favorite natural attraction on the miles of
hiking trails that wind through Florida
Caverns State Park and the adjacent Upper
Chipola Water Management Area, the Tunnel
Cave is one of the few caves in the park that
can be explored without a guide.

Located just a few hundred yards down the
trail from the Visitor Center parking lot (just
look for the "Bluff Trail" sign), the cave opens
in a beautiful bluff and leads straight through
to the other side of the hill.

When Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC)
workers developed the park between 1938
and 1942, they couldn't resist building the
nature trail right through the natural tunnel.
As a result, visitors can now experience this
unique landmark on their own and without a

The cave is easy to walk through (with a little
stooping), but it is dark and there are low
hanging rocks, so be careful. A flashlight is a
good idea.

Surrounding the cave, particularly at its exit
(walking away from the parking lot), is some
of the most beautiful natural scenery in
Florida. The cave is set in a surviving "old
growth" forest that includes trees of
spectacular size. A variety of unique plants
and rock formations can be seen around the
cave and wildlife abounds here.

Since it is easily visible, the cave was
undoubtedly known to the early Native
Americans who lived in the park. A Chacato
(Chatot) village was located at the nearby
parking lot site at about the time Europeans
first arrived in Florida.

Early Spanish accounts mention caves like
this and report that they were used as shelter
by hunting parties of Chacato.
Out into the Light
This opening leads hikers
back out of the cave and
through a spectacular natural
"rock garden" into the light.
Due to its proximity to the Chacato village site
as well as nearby rock shelters known to
have been used by earlier Native Americans,
it can safely be assumed that these early
people were the first to explore the unique
natural tunnel.

Keep in mind that the cave and natural trails
of the park help get you "up close and
personal" with nature. Insect repellent is a
good idea! The summer months can also be
extremely hot and humid, so remember to
carry water.
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Copyright 2011 by Dale Cox
All rights reserved.