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Cave-in-Rock State Park, Cave in Rock
(4.2/5 based on 100+ reviews on the web)
Cave-In-Rock State Park is an Illinois state park, on 240 acres, in the town of Cave-in-Rock, Hardin County, Illinois in the United States. The state park contains the historic Cave-in-Rock, a landmark of the Ohio River. It is maintained by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR).GeologyThe Cave-in-Rock was worn into the limestone bluffs of the Ohio by river floods, especially during the meltoff following the Wisconsin ice age. It is not a karstland cavern like Mammoth Cave in nearby Kentucky; it is an obvious, 55ft tunnel leading a long distance into the bluff.HistoryCave-in-Rock was known and used for thousands of years by the Native Americans. It was mapped and named in 1729 by the French explorer M. de Lery, who named it the Caverne dans le Roc. This name, translated directly into English, is the name the cave bears to this day.During the 1790s and the first three decades of the 19th century, Cave-in-Rock reached the height of its notoriety. Flatboats carrying farm produce from Kentucky, Ohio, and southern Indiana began to float down the Ohio River towards the marketplace in New Orleans. As a known Ohio River landmark, the cave was a landmark of this dangerous journey. From approximately 1797 until 1799, the cave was a hideout for a notorious gang of bandits, headed by Samuel Mason, that preyed upon the lawless river commerce. The outlaws Frank and Jesse James of the notorious James Gang also hid out in the cave, according to local lore, leaving their marks in the cave.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • A historic area with a great view of the river. Great spot to view the ferry crossing to/from Kentucky and the barges traveling the river. 
  • Take a flash light and head into the cave, but watch your step! Walk all the way back, and off to a small side room, exploring and searching for names from the 19th century. ignore the modern ones. On...  more »
  • This park is easy to access. It is near (just east) the Cave-in-Rock ferry crossing on the Ohio River. We were DELIGHTED to find this natural gem! Not a long walk to the cave (we did encounter a snake...  more »
Google
  • great view, unique location. a historic natural wonder. nice campground and cabins. excellent rural restaurant experience. love the chef salad!
  • Fun pit stop. It's about a half hour, forty-five minute adventure. The steps could be physically demanding for those with limited mobility. No handicapped accessibility to the cave itself, but the park above has beautiful views everyone can enjoy. There are 3 covered shelters and at least as many bathrooms up top. The cave is interesting but can be slippery, but you won't necessarily get dirty (unless you want to!).
  • A wonderful stop on a road trip. This place was one of my favorites we visited on our family vacation. We went in the spring and every crevice on the cliff face was made into a little home for swallows and their babies. It's amazing how they can build their homes out of rock and the little babies poking their heads out were so cute!
  • The cave is pretty neat. Lots of picnic areas and a great view of the Ohio River.
  • Beautiful campground. Sites are spread out with two spots. One for camper and one for extra vehicle.