Illinois Caverns

Burksville Cave, Mammoth Cave of Illinois, Egyptian Cave and Eckert Cave

Useful Information

Location: 4369 G Road., Waterloo, IL 62298.
I-255 South to Route 3, through Columbia and Waterloo. Approx. 5 km behind Waterloo 2nd right, on to Kaskaskia Road after the John Deere Dealership on the right. Left on KK Road, right on G Road, 5 km to the cave. 57 km south of St. Louis.
(38.236275, -90.136560)
Open: All year Thu-Sat 8:30-15:30, last admission at 14:30.
Fee: Free.
Completion of an application permit.
Classification: SpeleologyKarst Cave Speleologyriver cave. Mississippian limestone and dolomite
Light: bring torch
Dimension: L=9600 m, T=14°:C.
Guided tours: self guided
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Bibliography: S.V. Panno, S.E. Greenberg, C.P. Weibel, P.K. Gillespie (2003): A Guide to the Illinois Caverns State Natural Area Illinois State Geological Survey GeoScience Education Series. p. 66.
Address: Illinois Caverns State Natural Area, 4369 G Road., Waterloo, IL 62298, Tel: +1-618-458-6699. E-mail:
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.


1901 leased by a Mr. White of East St. Louis.
23-APR-1901 first paying sightseers.
1907 show cave closed.
1947 farm on which the cave was located sold to William Hayden. Cave developed and electric light installed by the new owner.
1985 sold to the State of Illinois.
2010 closed to reduce the spread of white nose syndrome.
16-JUN-2021 cave reopened for cave trekking tours.


Illinois Caverns is a Speleologyriver cave with a small cave river. The cave was explored and surveyed by the Windy City Grotto. It is the only cave that has been operated commercially in Illinois. Its entrance is developed and protected by an iron gate, and a part of the cave is developed with paths and once had electric light. But the cave never was a commercial success.

Today cave tours are cave trekking tours with a very low severity. The cave has about 5.8 km of walking-height passage, but some of it through the knee-deep cave stream. There are no paths or lights on this tours. Illinois Department of Natural Resources, the owner of the caves, allows cave trekking tours by visitors who fulfill the permit requirements. Groups with a minimum of four persons can navigate their way through the cave "on their own", a map of the cave is provided with a brochure.

The necessary equipment are at least three light sources per person, helmets, rubber boots, old and warm clothes. It is possible to change clothing at a changing hut at the cave entrance, but there is no possibility for a shower, as there is no water. For more info read the official website below.

The cave has an outstanding invertebrate fauna, including gammerus acherondytes, the Illinois Cave Amphipod. It houses numerous Biologytroglobites like the cave salamander and two species of bats, the Little Brown and Eastern Pipistrel.