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Another gorgeous discovery we made in the area in terms of natural parks and preserves, is the Longhorn Cavern, in Marble Falls, west of Austin.

Longhorn Cavern was acquired in 1932-1937 from private owners. It was dedicated as a state park in 1932, was opened in 1938, and was dedicated as a natural landmark in 1971.

During the last million years, the water deposited a thick layer of mud and debris in the cave. Early visitors were restricted to a small area due to this debris. Some of the earliest visitors were the area’s prehistoric peoples, who used the large room next to the main entrance for shelter. Anglo settlers discovered the cavern in the mid-1800s and began mining bat guano, which was used in manufacturing gun powder during the Civil War.

The cave has been used as a shelter since prehistoric times. Among legends about the cave is one that the outlaw Sam Bass hid a $2 million cache of stolen money inside. Confederates made gunpowder in the cave during the Civil War. Legend also says Texas Rangers rescued a kidnapped girl from Indians in the cave.

There is no evidence that Sam Bass ever visited the cave, but stories like this one drew tourists as early as the turn of the 20th century. By the 1920s, the main room served as a dance hall and concert venue.

The cavern is a marvel of nature and quite amazing to visit. We took one of the daily tours, and the guide was excellent. If you are in the Austin area and like caverns and caves, I highly recommend visiting it.

I did my best (which was not enough) with pictures. Flash, though allowed, most of the time gave very bad results, and tripods were not allowed. Silly me forgot my reflex, so I was left with my point & shoot and my iPhone. Surprisingly, my iPhone gave better results in some cases.
Hope it gives you a taste of this beautiful cavern!

[Click on any picture to enlarge and open the slideshow]