When we think of hiking we usually think mountain trails that wind through Colorado, but you can actually wander through the only cavern in the state of Florida to have a hiking trail run through it. This air-filled cavern at Florida Caverns State Park is a gorgeous display of Mother Nature's work.
The caverns made home in Marianna Florida, and is the only air-filled cave system that exists in the entire state that can be visited by the public, and it is absolutely breathtaking. The cavern features multiple connected rooms to explore.
Only about 1 mile is available to trek on a tour but it shows off the beautiful stalactites and stalagmites and porous limestone structures - and they light portions of it up with color so you can see all the rock formations. In their entirety, the caverns span across 10 acres.
The Stalactites drip down from the ceiling, creating a unique spectacle above your head, while the Stalagmites reach up from the rocky earth surrounding you. When all lit the cave really feels like a magical rabbit hole that will lead you to a rocky Wonderland - check out a few stunning shots from the caverns below:
The guided tours through the cavern are available throughout the day, taking about 35 minutes to an hour to complete. The caverns stay a beautifully cool 65 degrees all year - great place to be active yet stay cool during the sweltering Florida summers. At the end of the tour, it opens up to overlook the forest and Chipola River, which ate away at the limestone beneath the cavern on the other side, creating a natural rocky bridge.
The entire State Park is nearly 1300 acres and offers options to hike walking trails (one of which is the only hiking trail to pass through a cavern in the whole state of Florida), as well as multi-use trails for horseback riding or bicycling that will take you through some of the most gorgeous natural landscapes of Florida. You can also swim, snorkel, fish, boat, kayak, and camp here for an amazing nature infused weekend.
You can see a few additional shots of the other adventures you can have at this park below:
Due to destructive damage from Hurricane Michael, the park is currently closed for clean up efforts. A portion of the statement from park Manager Jacob Strickland on the Florida State Parks Website reads as follows:
"..a Category 4 storm blew ashore and changed the Florida Panhandle landscape. Florida Caverns State Park sustained major damage. Approximately 90 percent of the park's thick forest fell. The park staff with help from other state parks, lineman, tree service employees, carpenters, plumbers, and electricians are diligently working to repair the damaged facilities, remove the hurricane debris, open roads and fire breaks throughout the park. An initial assessment of the caverns showed that all the rooms of the cave are intact. Subsequent assessments of the cave will follow when the flood waters recede...
During the cleanup efforts, the park remains closed. A date for re-opening is yet to be determined, but we hope to welcome visitors again soon...visit our website for updates."
When the Caverns open back up, the hours will be back to normal - 8 am to Sundown, 365 days a year. Entry is $4 per single guest vehicle, $5 per 2-8 person vehicle, or $2 for those coming by foot or bicycle, and an adults cave tour only costs $8. The Florida Caverns State Park is located at 3345 Caverns Rd. Marianna FL 32446.
For more information about The Florida Caverns State Park, the cleanup efforts, and reopening dates, check their website here.
While this park may be closed, a couple of hours east and You Can Float For Hours On This Natural Lazy River in a neighboring park nearby - and they're open.