Lost River Cave: Bowling Green, KY


One of the iconic landmarks in Bowling Green, Kentucky is the Lost River Cave. It has been many things over the years including a night club in the 50’s, but is now a tourist destination that people from all over the state and the country come to visit. This summer our family took some time to drive over and enjoy the Lost River Cave tour and hiking trails.

Hobbies on a Budget received discounts or tickets for the purpose of this post. All opinions are my own. No monetary compensation was received.

Lost River Cave: Bowling Green, KY

Of course, the boat tour through the cave is the highlight of your trip, but don’t miss the opportunity to hike along the trails and enjoy the other attractions. You should allow at least 2-3 hours for your visit to Lost River Cave so you can have time to take the boat tour and then enjoy the hiking trails and grounds.

Lost River Cave

You purchase your tickets in the visitor center/gift shop and then walk a short paved trail over to where you meet your guide. Once you cross this bridge, you are at the right place and ready to connect with your tour guide and start the tour.

There are several Blue Holes along the trails, one of which is on the path down to the cave entrance.
Our tour guide shared some interesting tidbits as we passed the first of the blue holes.

Lost River Cave Blue Hole 3
Blue Hole

Our tour guide, Autumn, did a great job of explaining the different rock formations, history and natural elements all along the tour through the cave.

Weddings & Party Venue

If you are looking for a beautiful, unusual local venue for a wedding or party, Lost River Cave has a great location. While we were there, we saw people getting set up for an evening wedding. I bet it was going to be gorgeous!

Lost River Cave Wedding Venue

Today, the income from the underground boat tour, gift shop and event rentals sustain the ongoing work to preserve and maintain Lost River Cave as a cultural and natural landmark. Local visitors to the park may decide to purchase a park membership, make a donation or volunteer service hours to contribute to the Friends’ mission.

Things to Know:

  • This is a boat ride, not a walk through the cave on foot.
  • They do not turn off the lights at any point on your tour since the guide has to be able to navigate the boat.
  • This is a small boat with a trolling motor.  You go very slowly through the water.
  • Each boat can fit about 10-12 people.
Lost River Cave Boat Tour
  • Each adult is given a flotation cushion; children under 12 wear a life jacket.
  • The water level in the cave is approximately 3-4 feet deep.
  • You ride the boat out to the end of the river where there is a man-made dam that helps control the water level.  It is loud as you get close and will sound like a waterfall, but there are no rapids or drop offs.
  • At the beginning and end of the tour you will have to duck your head into your lap to go under the Wishing Rock.  If you don’t duck your head, you will be wishing you had!  It takes about 10 seconds to go under the Wishing Rock, and then you are out in open waters.
  • For those with the question that I had…. what happens if there comes a big flood or rainstorm while you are on the tour and the water level rises making it impossible to get under the Wishing Rock?  The guide explained that they have a back up plan and can easily go back out to the dam and adjust the spills so the water level would lower and let the boat and tour get back out.
  • You will walk about a quarter mile down to the cave entrance with the tour guide.  This is a fairly steep paved road down to the cave that you then come back up after the tour.
  • The cave is a moderate temperature year round but we were fine with shorts and t-shirts since the boat ride only takes about 20 -30 minutes.
  • Tips to the tour guides are appreciated but not required.

After you tour of the cave, make sure you take time to walk over to the butterfly house and additional blue holes.

Butterfly House

Find Lost River Cave

(270) 393-0077
2818 Nashville Road
Bowling Green, KY 42101
I-65, Exit 22

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Have you ever taken this tour at Lost River Cave in Bowling Green? I’d love to hear your best memories of this historic landmark in Bowling Green!

Looking for more things to do in Bowling Green? Check out the Corvette Museum and Assembly Plant Tour!

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