All listed tour times are the DEPARTURE TIME for that trip!
In order to prevent the spread of White Nose Syndrome, a deadly disease affecting bats, we do not allow personal caving gear to be used on our tours. We provide helmets, knee pads and elbow pads (when needed) free of charge and our gear is never used outside of the park. If you have been caving anywhere it is very important that clothing, lights and, especially, shoes that have been in other caves be decontaminated if you wish to bring them on your cave tour at Colorado Bend State Park. Don't worry, it isn't difficult! Decontamination can be as simple as a normal cleaning followed by spraying with Lysol!
For more information about this terrible disease, decontamination procedure and what can be done to stop it, please visit whitenosesyndrome.org/
What to Bring
For all tours:
Bring your vehicle when you meet us at Park Headquarters. From Headquarters you will follow us in your vehicle to other parking areas in the park and walk to the cave from there.
Long sleeves are NOT recommended, the caves are a very comfortable 72 degrees Fahrenheit all year. If it is cold outside you can wear a jacket and leave it at the cave entrance.
Wear clothes you don't mind getting dirty in!
For the Discovery Tour:
-Flashlight (any kind)
A helmet will be provided!
For the Adventure Tour:
A helmet and knee pads will be provided!
For the Wild and Climbers Tours:
A helmet, knee pads and elbow pads will be provided!
What Not to Bring
Obviously you shouldn't bring drugs, alcohol, weapons or pets with you to the cave, it isn't safe for the caves, your pets or other the other guests. Leaving pets unattended is not permitted in the park so you will either need someone to watch them during your tour or leave them at home. Backpacks are not allowed in cave either, but you can leave them at the cave entrance. You should also consider that unless you are very careful, anything you bring with you will get dusty and dirty. Bring cameras and cell phones to take pictures at your own risk. Waterproof cameras/GoPros are great for caving!
What To Expect
On the Discovery tour you will be able to stand and walk the entire time, crawling is not required but there are some areas you can crawl into if you would like. The Adventure, Wild and Climber's tours require mostly hands and knees crawling as well as some belly crawling. All of the caves at Colorado Bend State Park are undeveloped wild caves that have been left in their natural state with dirt/rock/mud floors that are often quite damp. The only light in the caves will be from our headlamps and from the sun if we are near the entrance. Be ready for an adventure!
When and Where
We meet at the visitors center at Colorado Bend State Park thirty (30) minutes before the time stated when you reserved the tour. That extra time allows for you to register as a Park guest (if you haven't already), and release forms to be signed.
Do not be late for your trip! Since we have multiple trips running each day, we can't wait for you. From there you can follow us in your vehicles to the parking areas near the caves. The entrance will be a short hike from the parking area and from there we head underground! The length of the tour varies and should be indicated when you reserve your tour.
Park headquarters is a 20 minute drive from the park entrance, please plan accordingly!
Recently, Colorado Bend State Park has been experiencing record setting visitation, especially on Saturdays/Holidays and especially in the afternoon. To avoid over crowding, park staff are occasionally forced to close the park and wait for current visitors to filter out before reopening. If you have reserved a cave tour, you are guaranteed entrance to the park. The park staff at the gate should have a list of people with reservations. If you arrive and the gate is closed, notify the staff immediately so that you may enter the park. Please allow extra time for your trip to the park as you may be delayed at the entrance.
We are easy to find, just look for "cave guide" t-shirt!
Rescheduling, Cancellations and Refunds
Our tour reservations work the same way concert tickets do. Once you have purchased a spot on a cave tour you own it and the tour will depart at the scheduled time whether all of the ticket holders show up or not. Many of our tours fill up completely and holding on to a reservation until the last minute and then not showing up deprives others of the opportunity to reserve that tour.
No refunds will be given for participants who fail to show up for their tour. It is the reservation holder's responsibility to arrive prior to the departure time so that they may be signed in and ready to depart with the the rest of the group. The tour group will depart for the cave at the scheduled time without late or absent attendees.
We will offer refunds or opportunities to reschedule bookings 14 days or more prior to the scheduled date of the tour. Once it is less than 14 days before the date listed on the booking no ticket will be refunded or rescheduled.
On rare occasions a tour will be canceled by Nichols Outdoor Adventures due to unforeseen circumstances, usually related to unsafe weather. When this occurs, a full refund will be offered to all reservation holders.
We will cancel a tour if there is an immediate threat of danger above ground (ie thunder, lightning and or flooding over the road). We can still cave if it's drizzling or raining with no thunder. Our caves will get some water but, since we are a "wild" tour company, we'll crawl right through it! The caves don't flood significantly enough to cause concern for our safety, just plan to get pretty muddy.
Since we will only cancel for dire circumstances, we will still meet at headquarters 30 mins prior to the trip, and the tour guide will call the tour at the scheduled time. Thunder will be our main concern. Remember, if you can hear the thunder, you are close enough to get struck by lightning!
Other Frequently Asked Questions
Can I bring my pets?
Pets are not allowed on any of our tours and should never be taken into any cave, ever. It isn't safe for your pet and it isn't safe for the cave. No exceptions. Leaving pets unattended is not permitted in the park so you will either need someone to watch them during your tour or leave them at home.
What temperature is it?
Very comfortable! Inside the caves it is usually around 72 degrees.
Are there animals in the caves?
A variety of animals and invertebrates live in or frequent caves. We most commonly see crickets, bats and daddy long-legs (in the summer) with the occasional raccoon, porcupine or other small mammal. With the very rare exception of venomous snakes (which you should always keep an eye out for here in Texas), none of them are any danger to you. However, you are a significant danger to them. No wildlife encountered in a cave should ever be deliberately handled, harmed or interacted with. Failure to respect the cave wildlife will result in you being asked to leave the cave.
Will we crawl? How far?
No crawling is required on the Discovery Tour, however it will be necessary to crawl on hands and knees for most of the Adventure Tour, Wild Tour and Climbers Tour. The distances you must crawl are much longer on the Wild and Climber's Tour. It's fun, trust us!
Do you provide pads?
Yes! We provide knee pads for the Adventure Tour and knee/elbow pads for the Wild Tour and Climber's Tour.
How long will we be in cave?
The scheduled duration of each trip starts from the time we depart from park headquarters. Aside from the drive to the parking area, gearing up and hiking to the cave entrance, the rest of the scheduled time will be in cave.
Where do we meet?
We meet at the Park Headquarters, which is marked on the official park map. Your tour guide will be waiting outside wearing a "cave guide" t-shirt!
When do we meet?
We meet THIRTY MINUTES before the scheduled start time of the tour to make sure there is time to fill out waiver forms and sign in with the park. Look for the black and white umbrella! The scheduled start time for the trip is when the tour group will depart from the park headquarters. The tour will depart on time, if you are late you risk missing the trip (no refunds)!
Will the weather effect the tour?
Tours are rain or shine, however if the weather becomes dangerous we may cancel the tour. A full refund will be provided.
Can we schedule a tour that isn't on the calendar?
Yes! Contact us at HERE if you wish to inquire about a tour date/time that is not currently listed on our calendar. We are very flexible and may be able to accommodate you, especially if you have a large group!
Can I go to the caves without a guide?
No! It is illegal to do any caving outside of a guided tour without special permission from the State Park. Many of the caves at the park are dangerous and you could be injured or killed. In addition, unsupervised visitation usually leads to vandalism.