Kahlenstein Cave

Useful Information

Location: A8 exit Merklingen, through Nellingen and Türkheim towards Geislingen. Hiking car park at the rim of the plateau. 15 min walk along the rim, signposted "Kahlenstein".
Kataster Nr. 7324/01.
Open: Not a show cave any more. Closed.
Fee: Closed.
Classification: SpeleologyKarst cave horizontal cave, Malm
Light: n/a
Dimension: L=180 m, A=678 m asl
Guided tours: closed
Address: Kahlensteiner Höhlenverein, Im Grund 1, 7347 Bad Überkingen, Tel. +49-7331-66660.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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1791 first written mention in the report of a hiker named Michael Dietrich.
1824 cave description by Gustav Schübler.
1842 mentioned in the official inventary of the Oberamt Geislinge.
1890 article in the magazine Blätter des Schwäbischen Albvereins discusses use as a show cave.
05-APR-1892 general meeting of the Geislinger Verschönerungsverein founds cave comission.
28-APR-1892 exploration of the cave results in immediate begin of development works.
12-JUN-1892 show cave opened.
1900 show cave closed, cave stays open.
1971 cave managed by the caving club Arbeitsgemeinschaft der Höhlenfreunde Kahlenstein e.V. Geislingen.
1972 cave closed with door.
1986-1987 resurvey and new plan drawn.


Just above Überkingen, at the rim of the Swabian Jura plateau, is a rock called Kahlenstein (bald rock). This rock provides a beautiful view on Überkingen and the Bluna plant (Bluna is a famous German beverage, which is made here). The rock is formed by the hard limestones of the Malm. Locally this rock is called Weißer Jura (White Jurassic) because of its white colour. Its layers are locally numbered with greek letters, and this layer is numbered δ.

The Kahlensteinhöhle is named after the Kahlenstein, as it is located on top of the rock, only a few meters from the outlook. It is the biggest of more than 50 small caves know in this rock. The cave belongs to the city limits of two towns, Bad Überkingen and Geislingen. At the entrance of the cave a nice terrace with an outlook was built.

The entrance is 1.5 meters wide and 2.2 meters high, and closed by an iron bar gate. From here a passage of about the same size leads horizontally into the rock. Then the visitor reaches a small chamber, only a bit bigger than the passage. The walls are stained black by torches and fireplaces. Now the passage continues to the northeast. It splits in to two passages, which join again after only three meters.

The cave is known for hundreds of years. Unfortunately this led to numerous destruction, people vandalized the cave and made fires inside. In the year 1892 the local tourist club developed the cave with trails and opened it as a show cave the same year. The tours were continued until around 1900. It seems the cave was never closed, so people were able the cave without a tour, and the destruction continued. As it is located at an outlook many walkers came along and visited the cave.

Since 1971 the cave is maintained by the Kahlenstein caving club. They finally closed the cave completely by a gate in 1972. For some years it was open as a show cave on weekends, then it was open after appointment for groups. But in the 1990s the cave became more and more dangerous. Because of its proximity to the surface, the ceiling is unstable and so the cave was closed completey. It is not possible to visit this cave any more, despite some webpages which tell that tours could be organized for groups. This information is outdated.