Near Bee Caves, Travis County.
From Austin Ben White Boulevard (Highway 290) west to Oak Hill. Turn right onto Highway 71, 12km to Bee Caves. 2km after the village turn left onto Hamilton Pool Road (RM 3238). After 21km cross Pedernales River, then turn right at first gate on hilltop.
|Open:||Sat, Sun 10, 12, 14, 16. |
|Classification:||Tufa cave Erosional cave|
|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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|1839||cave part of some unappropriated public school land.|
|1937||cave sold to Chester Lay of Austin, operated as show cave, but failed.|
|1970s||place acquired by John Ahrns, restoration into a nature preserve.|
|1976||Westcave Preserve Corporation formed.|
West Cave is part of a nature trail in a lush, green canyon shaded by tall cypress and oak trees. West Cave Preserve is owned by the Lower Colorado River Authority and operated by a nonprofit conservation organization. The trail leads from the plateau into a small canyon formed by the headward cutting of a creek. A 12m high waterfall drops into a deep, green pool. The main topic of the educational trail are many plant species, both rare and representative of the Hill Country. Of course the geology is also very interesting.
The cave itself is rather small, a through cave with a single passage, 46m long and generally 2.5m high. The cave is shaped like a crescent, clinging to the huge bowl around the waterfall. It seems this cave is a typical waterfall cave, formed by the erosion of the falling water at the foot of the waterfall.
However, it is not an open overhang, but it is closed towards the pool at the center of the bowl by a wall of massive calcite deposits formed. This water of the waterfall originates from a nearby karst spring and contains a lot of calcite. The calcite is deposited on the surface in form of travertine or tufa. In this case it formed the wall at the floor of the bowl, which grew until it reached the ceiling of the overhang thus closing it.