Lost River Cave in Bowling Green, Kentucky is a seven-mile long river that flows mostly underground. The river begins outside of the cave and then disappears under an extensive cavern. The cave's extensive history dates back to over 10,000 years ago and many incredible artifacts have been discovered within the cave and the land surrounding it.
Before the river flows into the cave, there are a few sections that can be viewed from the surrounding woods. The most notable is the "blue hole" – a bright blue pool that is 16 feet deep. Today, the area on the edge of the cave and river is used as an event space and the starting location for tours. But this appealing spot was once used as a night club, from the 1930s until it closed its doors in 1962. Unfortunately, the river and the land around it then became a dumping site until 1997 when Lost River Cave was brought back to life by its new owners and a non-profit.
Lost River Cave can now be explored by boat tour, kayak or even on your hands and knees, crawling through the cave above the water. While on the boat tour, you have to duck down until the space opens up into a cathedral-like cavern.
It's equally as exciting to tour the river and cave by kayak. The water is calm and you'll get an up close look at this Kentucky phenomenon. The cave was once a hiding place for civil war soldiers, so if you look closely you may even see carvings in the walls, left by former inhabitants.
Kentucky's underground river is an unexpected adventure and one of the state's most unique geological features. Western Kentucky University, along with Friends of Lost River have worked hard to restore and preserve this piece of history to ensure visitors can continue to be amazed for years to come.
Have you floated along Kentucky’s underground river? Tell us about it in the comments below! Lost River Cave can be found at 2818 Nashville Rd. Bowling Green, KY 42101