Lost River Cave and Valley

Useful Information

Location: In Bowling Green, Warren County, Kentucky. I-65 exit 22 Scottsville Road U.S. 231. Follow Scottsville Road to the north, turn left onto Cave Mill Road, turn right/North on U.S.-31-W, on the right side.
Open: All year daily 8:30-18:30.
First tour 9, last tour 18, tour every hour on the full hour.
Tours temporarily suspended during floods.
Fee: 25-MAY to SEP: Adults USD 13.95, Children (5-12) USD 9.95, Children (0-4) USD 2.95, Seniors (65+) USD 12.95.
OCT to 24-MAY: Adults USD 11.50, Children (5-12) USD 8.50, Children (0-4) USD 2.50, Seniors (65+) USD 10.50.
Internet coupon. [2006]
Classification: ExplainKarst cave
Light: electric
Guided tours: D=45min, 20min walk, 25min by boat.
Bibliography: (): The Spirit of Lost River, available at the gift shop
Address: Friends of Lost River Cave, 2818 Nashville Road, Bowling Green, KY 42101, Tel: +1-270-393-0077, Fax: +1-270-393-0076. E-mail: contact
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.


7,500 BC inhabited by Native Americans.
179? first cave mill with undershot water wheel established.
1868 according to local folklore, Jesse James and his gang have hidden here after the robbery of the Russellville bank.
1874 more sophisticated mill opened.
1915 mill burned and was never rebuilt.
1933 Underground Nite Club opened.
196? club closed.
1970s purchased by Raymond Cravens and Owen Lawson.
1990 Friends of Lost River created to restore and develop the cave.
1993 cave opened for limited tours.
1994 electric light.
1999 boat tour started.
2000 opened for visitation on a daily basis.


The cave entrance of Lost River Cave is really impressive. It was used for shelter by Native Americans for 10,000 years. Early settlers used the water power of the river in the 19th century for milling. In the mid 20th century an Underground Nite Club was operated in the cave, which used the water to produce electricity.

The cave visit includes a 20 minute walk along the river to the cave entrance and a 25 minute boat tour into the cave.

The cave valley has about 3.5km of trails, which lead to interesting historic and karst geologic sites. Three so called blue holes are collapses of the cave, dolines, showing the "lost" river. And this river is really a lost river, as it is only about 110m long, from Lost River Spring until it vanishes into the cave entrance.