Cave-in-Rock Travel Guide

  • Beautiful Downtown Cave-in-Rock, Illinois
    Beautiful Downtown Cave-in-Rock,...
    by Stephen-KarenConn
  • U. S. Post Office, Cave-in-Rock, IL 62919
    U. S. Post Office, Cave-in-Rock, IL...
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  • Illinois Welcome Sign at Cave-in-Rock
    Illinois Welcome Sign at Cave-in-Rock
    by Stephen-KarenConn

Cave-in-Rock Things to Do

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    by Stephen-KarenConn Updated Feb 26, 2008

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    The major attraction at Cave-in-Rock State Park is a large natural cave, 55 feet wide, which has been carved by water into the limestone bluffs that border the Ohio River. Cave-in-Rock was known and used for thousands of years by American Indians. It was mapped in 1729 by the French explorer de Lery, who named it Caverne dans le Roc, which in English is Cave-in-Rock, the name that this natural landmark bears to this day.

    During the late 1700s and early 1800s, Cave-in-Rock gained notoriety. as a hideout for river pirates who preyed on Flatboats carrying farm produce from Kentucky, Ohio, and southern Indiana to New Orleans and other ports down river. Later in the 1800s, Cave-in-Rock was tamed by settlers who formed the river town of Cave-in-Rock, Illinois near the cave.

    The state of Illinois acquired the cave and surrounding property beginning in 1929 and formed the Cave-in-Rock State Park.

    At the time of our visit, the entrance to the cave was completely submerged in river water due to recent winter storms. We enjoyed this unusual opportunity to see the river at flood stage, although we could not enter the cave.

    Related to:
    • Adventure Travel
    • Hiking and Walking

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    by Stephen-KarenConn Updated Feb 26, 2008

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    Cave-in-Rock State Park covers 204 acres mostly wooded property on the Ohio Riverfront just outside of the small town of Cave-in-Rock, Hardin County, Illinois. The park is owned by the state and maintained by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (INDR).

    When we were making plans to visit southern Illinois our first thought was to stay in one of the rental cabins at the park. However, it was February and the cabins and adjoining restaurant were closed for the season. Instead, we found lodging in the nearby town of Elizabethtown and made a day trip to the park. The main attraction is a large natural cave which is normally just above the river. Unfortunately, on the day of our visit the river was flooding and the cave filled with water. We still enjoyed taking a short hike along the high bluffs in the park, taking in the scenic views across the Ohio River.

    Perhaps some day we'll visit the Cave-in-Rock State Park again at a more opportune season. Then again, maybe we won't. There are so many other places to go and there's so little time. Seeing places in the off season has its own charms. Folks who come to Cave-in-Rock in summer will not experience as we saw it, nor will they have the place all to themselves as we did.

    In the photo I am sitting at a picnic area in the park, on a high bluff several feet above the flood.

    Related to:
    • Adventure Travel
    • National/State Park
    • Hiking and Walking

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  • by Ann50 Written Oct 12, 2004

    In the CaveinRock State Park there is a cave used by local pirates in the past. This cave was used to way lay unsuspecting travelers by boat up and down the Ohio River. There were a lot of people killed here.
    This same cave was used for the movie ""HOW THE WEST WAS WON" and a few other places in the area.
    A few miles North on Rt. 1, is the OLD SLAVE HOUSE too but it is now closed, the State is preparing to renevate it and reopen to the public.
    Also a few mile North just off of Rt.1 is THE GARDEN OF THE GODS" This is a well made path to some huge rock formations. One is Camel Rock, shaped just like a camel.One is Table Rock and several others. The area has camping facilities too.
    The State Park has a very nice Restaurant, Very nice modern cabins, Picnis areas, and a Huge Camping area, with electric and showers etc.
    Also can not pass up a FERRY BOAT ride from Illinois to Kentucky!!! There are only 2 left and this one runs back and forth about a mile to each state.

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Cave-in-Rock Restaurants

  • by Ann50 Written Oct 11, 2004

    THIS RESTAURANT IS A GREAT IDEA OF 2 LOCAL SISTERS. THEY SERVE GREAT HOME COOKING WITH ""FREEBIES"" ADDED TO EVERY MEAL!!
    THIS IS A NICE CLEAN FAMILY TYPE RESTAURANT WITH THE GREATEST TASTING FOOD IN THE WHOLE AREA.
    A ""MUST"" IF YOU ARE IN THE AREA.

    Favorite Dish: FRIED CATFISH DINNERS!!

    THEY SERVE A VARIETY OF FOOD, WITH DAILY SPECIALS ADDED.
    AND ALWAYS FREEBIES THEY HAND SERVE YOU.

    GREAT HOME COOKED MEALS

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Cave-in-Rock Transportation

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    Cave-in-Rock Ferry, Closed for High Water 1 more image

    by Stephen-KarenConn Updated Feb 26, 2008

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    Cave-in-Rock Ferry is one of the few remaining ferries across the Ohio River. It has its northern terminus at Cave-in-Rock, Illinois, connecting it with Kentucky on the south side of the. The ferry links Illinois Route 1 and Kentucky Route 91. On the Kentucky side of the ferry can be found a settlement of old order Amish, who shun automobiles, electricity and other modern conveniences because of their religious convictions.

    The Cave-in-Rock Ferry closes temporarily once or twice a year because of high water. On our visit to Cave-in-Rock, the Ohio River was at flood stage so the ferry was closed. Not only was the water unusuallly rough and the current swift but the Kentucky ramp to the ferry was under water.

    The ferry is operated as a free service by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, by agreement with the Illinois Department of Transportation. It inormally operates seven days a week, from 6:00 a.m. – 9:30 p.m.

    Related to:
    • Road Trip

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