The lost river cave is a seven-mile cave located in Bowling Green, Kentucky (Ky), in the USA. The river originates outside of the cave and flows into it. Four blue holes are situated in the surrounding area of the lost river cave. The river was named ”Lost River” because the source and mouth of the river had not been discovered yet. As stated by Ripley’s believe it or not, the river is the shortest and deepest river in the world, as the river is only 400 feet deep while the blue hole is 437 feet deep.

Lost river cave entrance
Entrance to the lost river cave


The river’s history started back in 8,500 B.C. The Native Americans buried their dead at the cave’s entrance and used it as a refuge. In the late 1700s, several of Warren County’s oldest businesses were situated near the entrance to the cave. There was a distillery, a sawmill, a wool carding, and a grist mill among them.

Lost River Cave
Lost river cave

During the Civil War, Lost River Cave and Valley also played a significant role. The cave served as a makeshift refuge for Confederate troops in 1861. According to local tradition, the cave was allegedly used as a hideout by Jesse James and his band of outlaws.
For almost 30 years, the Underground Night Club served as a meeting spot for local socialites. The club has a bar and a dance floor. This ballroom-style hangout, which was established in the 1930s, is situated near the cave entrance, including a built-in bar that didn’t even need ice to keep the beverages cool. The club ultimately shut down in the early 1960s as a result of laws prohibiting the selling of alcohol below street level.

Things to do in Lost River Cave

Lost River Cave is famous for its underground cave boat tour, as it is the only underground boat tour, a natural wonder in Kentucky. The underground boat excursion lasts around 45 minutes and leads inside a cave that resembles a church. The guided walking tour starts by telling tales of Civil War troops, Native Indians, and the notorious Jesse James near the river’s edge.

There are other activities in the Lost River Cave in addition to the boat trip and cave exploration that include riverwalk, walking tours, the valley’s blue hole trails and hiking trails, and 2.5 miles of nature trails that people enjoy by simply checking at the visitor center, and can explore the 72 acres of park, enjoy the fresh air, going on a nature center trek, checking out the natural springs, viewing the limestone cliffs, investigating the ruins of former mining structures, and exploring wildflower gifts shops, that have home decor, apparel, fossils, Kentucky food products, for the guests.

There is also an enclosed garden of Kentucky native butterflies, a seasonal butterfly habitat, and an attraction for tourists that is open from late May through mid-September. There is also a bird sanctuary where more than 130 species of birds can be seen.
There is also an outdoor classroom for kids to explore nature in new ways. Zip lining is another adventure! The Flying Squirrel and the Lightning Bug are two distinct zip lines. Three zip lines start at the top of 80-foot treetops on the Flying Squirrel Zipline, which is intended for older children and adults.

The Cave’s Gilman’s is a full-service jewelry and lapidary supply store situated in the cave. A full supply house for jewelry, minerals, and lapidary offering a range of stones, crystals, findings, and equipment for all your collecting, stone-cutting, and jewelry-making requirements.

There is also a cavern nightclub, which features the original bandstand and bar from the 1930s Night Club and a glimmering crystal chandelier. People can do corporate events from birthday parties to grand wedding celebrations.

Lost River Cave

Lost River Cave Wildlife

Some of the incredible wildlife visitors expect to see include:

  • Various bat species
  • Various butterfly species
  • Camelback crickets
  • Crayfish

Folklore about Blue Holes of Lost River Cave

There are four blue holes located in the lost river cave and Valley. Folklore is connected to each hole. According to one of the tales, young girls would gaze into the blue holes river in the hope of seeing the reflection of the man they should marry.

Lost river cave caverns
Lost river cave caverns

Facts about Lost River Cave

  1. Location: Bowling Green, Kentucky,
  2. Depth: 437 feet deep
  3. Surface area: 55 sq miles
  4. Color: Bluish
  5. Temperature: 11°C


How much does it cost to go on an underground boat cave trip?

For adults (13+ years), the price of the boat trip is around $23; for youth (4-12 years), the price is $17; and for children (3 and under), the price is $6.

Is the lost river cave open year-round?

Lost river cave is a year-round destination. But the best time to visit the lost river cave is late May through mid-September, when visitors can witness native Kentucky butterflies.

Can we kayak in the lost river cave?

Yes, Visitors can kayak in the lost river cave, but they need a prior reservation.

What Is the folklore about the lost river cave? Is it true?

There is folklore associated with each blue hole at the lost river cave. According to these tales, young girls would gaze into the river in the hopes of seeing the reflection of the man they should marry. It is just old folklore associated with the blue holes, and no evidence can be found saying it is true.

How deep is the blue hole at the Lost River Cave?

The blue hole at the lost river cave is 437 feet deep.

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