Spelunking is a favorite Hoosier pastime in southern Indiana. Wyandotte Caves have been forming for more than 3,000 years in Leavenworth, only a three hour drive from Indianapolis. This Indiana business opened to the public in the 1850s, when Henry P. Rothrock learned about the tourism potential of his acreage. Management of the caves remained in the Rothrock family until they gave it to the state in 1966. The O’Bannon Woods State Park surrounds the caves, which are actually operated by the nearby Marengo Caves. For an underground adventure full of stalactites and stalagmites, visit Wyandotte Caves on a day trip from Indiana.
William Henry Harrison once visited the caves in the nineteenth century on a quest for saltpeter, an ingredient used to make gunpowder. Even farther back in Indiana history, the caves were used for food storage, ritual ceremonies and even shelter. Henry P. Rothrock also held gatherings in a cave room for the Odd Fellows Lodge, a club he was involved with. Today’s visitors must enter Wyandotte Caves through the same passage that’s been used for the last few thousand years. Once inside the cave walls, they navigate through trench-like trails that were carved through the Mississippian limestone for tourists. At one time, guests were required to army crawl through tight and low spaces in order to continue on the guided tour.
Two tour options are available to choose from. Siberts Cave is a 30-minute easier tour, and Wyandotte Caves has two longer and more vigorous walking tours. Altogether, the caves stretch on for nine miles under Leavenworth, Indiana. Guests are faced with a challenge at the end of the tour, to find their way out. A fork in the road is marked by a pile of stories. three paths lead deeper into the cave, and only one choice is the true exit.
Wyandotte Caves was made a National Natural Landmark in 1972. Another attraction in the area that carries the same status includes Marengo Cave. Day trip destinations near Leavenworth include Squire Boone Caverns in Mauckport, Dubois County Museum in Jasper and Doctor Ted’s Musical Marvels in Dale. Lincoln City is home to several Honest Abe tributes, including Lincoln Living Historical Farm and Lincoln State Park.
To add more stops to an adventurous day trip, stop by some of the amazing Indiana Museums and Indiana parks found along the route from Indianapolis. Pioneer Mother’s Memorial Forest in Paoli, the Lost River in Orangeville, Hoosier National Forest in Bedford and the Wylie House Museum in Bloomington are only a few of the must-see sites when traveling south of Indy. Wyandotte Caves and dozens of other day trip
attractions are great places to spend on a getaway from the Circle City.
7315 South Wyandotte Cave Road