Park Closure Alert . . .

Nature

At Kickapoo Cavern, you can explore nature both above and below ground. tree-covered low rolling hills

Crossroads of nature

Three very dif­fer­ent nat­u­ral zones inter­min­gle here, creating a patchwork of plant and animal life.

Sprawling live oaks of the Edwards Plateau, cacti of the Chi­hua­huan Desert, and thorny shrubs of the South Texas plains coexist in the park. This mixed plant life provides habitat for many animals.

About 240 migrant and resident bird species have been recorded here – half the number that regularly occur in all of Texas.

Mammals common in the park include white-tailed deer, rac­coons, ringtails, gray foxes, rock squirrels, porcupines, rabbits and various rodents.

Birding

Many bird species live in the park, and a number of migratory birds nest or fly through the area, as well. Birders come here to hunt for hard-to-find species such as gray vireo, varied bunting and Mon­te­zuma quail.

Download Birds of Kickapoo Cavern State Park (PDF) for more information.

Vulnerable species

golden-cheeked warbler and black-capped vireoPapershell pinyons cling to survival in isolated patches. These trees were wide­spread in West Texas about 10,000 years ago, when the climate was cooler and wetter. Today they depend on mois­ture caught in the park’s low-elevation limestone.

See if you can spot a golden-cheeked warbler or black-capped vireo in the live oaks or Ashe junipers. The warblers are an endangered species, while experts consider the vireos a vulnerable species.  small cactus with yellow bloom

Tobusch fishhook cactus, con­sidered a threatened species, grows in the park.

Other uncommon species that live here include the barking frog, mottled rock rattlesnake and Texas alligator lizard.

Kickapoo Cavern

Person looking up in cavernThe park’s namesake caverns chronicles roughly 4 million years of nature’s handi­work. Formation began when slow-moving, acidic groundwater carved passage­ways through 105-million-year-old Devils River limestone.

The water table eventually dropped, draining the passageways and leading to massive collapse in the cavern. The floor of the cavern was once its ceiling!

We lead tours of Kickapoo Cavern each Saturday.

Stuart Bat Cave

Stuart Bat Cave teems with life. Cave swallows build mud nests just inside the cave mouth where they raise their young. Up to a million Mexican free-tailed bats roost deep in the cave from spring through fall. At dusk, these flying mammals stream into the night in search of insects.

Bat Facts

  • Bats benefit the environment.
  • Nectar-drinking bats pollinate certain plants. The giant saguaro cactus and many other night-blooming desert plants would cease to exist without their help.
  • Fruit-eating bats help rainforests grow by spreading seeds through their droppings.
  • Insect-eating bats act as a natural pest control agent for agriculture and reduce the need to spray harmful pesticides.

Learn more about bats and where to see them at Bat-Watching Sites of Texas.