Lost River Cave

2818 Nashville Road

About Us:

In 1986 the Cave entrance and the 25-acre wooded valley was donated to Western Kentucky University by its owners: WKU professor Dr. Raymond Cravens, WKU Physical Plant Administrator Owen Lawson and Mr. and Mrs. Leroy Highbaugh. The donation served as the springboard for the restoration and preservation of Lost River Cave and the surrounding natural environment.

A 501(c)3 non-profit organization, The Friends of the Lost River, Inc. (dba Lost River Cave) was incorporated in 1990 to facilitate the conservation and sustainability of the Cave and surrounding area. In the spring of 1999, visionary board member Dr. Nicholas Crawford, Director of WKU's Center for Cave and Karst Studies, convinced the board to build a dam inside the Cave with the aim of providing float tours of the interior. His idea was to generate funding for the conservation effort; his logic was along the lines of if we build it they will come.

In 2001, the threat of commercial development on land directly adjacent to the Cave and valley compelled the Friends organization to pursue protection of that land as well. Drawing on support from the City Commission and the Greenways Commission of Bowling Green and Warren County, an additional 42 acres was purchased. Since then, acquisition of additional parcels has expanded the park to 70-acres that offers trails, wetlands, meadows and a restored prairie.

Today, the income from the underground boat tour, gift shop and event rentals sustain the ongoing work to preserve and maintain Lost River Cave as a cultural and natural landmark. Local visitors to the park may decide to purchase a park membership, make a donation or volunteer service hours to contribute to the Friends' mission.


To enrich our community by providing nature experiences, education, and stewardship of Lost River Cave.


Marissa Nicholson

Thursday, June 8, 2017

This place is pretty cool. My husband and I stopped by on vacation to check out the caves. The boat tour was very cool. There are some great formations, but it's obvious this cave is still pretty "young". There is also a beautiful walking trail along with a butterfly habitat that was cool to check out. The gift shop is also pretty great. There are tons of great items from geodes, jewelry, and home decor. I'm only giving a 5 star review because I agree with other reviewers that the tour should be a tad cheaper.

Kathy Douglas

Friday, July 14, 2017

One of my favorite places in Bowling Green Kentucky! It's like a little oasis in the middle of the city. Walking the trails through the lush valley out to the Butterfly House or the Lost River Spring is like a mini vacation. It's so peaceful surrounded by trees and bird calls. The gift shop is full of beautiful treasures and interesting nature themed souvenirs for young and old.

Rynell Bray

Monday, June 12, 2017

After spending a very pleasant half hour waiting for the tour by playing in the outdoor nature area (great for our 4 yo), we made the easy, short walk to the tour. It was awesome, tour guide was great, the ceiling was only low for a few seconds on the boat and it was very safe. Very beautiful area and the gift shop was really fun to peruse with unique gifts and lots of jewelry. Best of all, the whole park/tour is privately owned and a non-profit so it was cool to support that. 100% recommended for our group consisting of preschool to retired!

denise breide

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Lost River Cave is worth the visit. The staff are very knowledgable and share with you all kinds of stories. Any questions we had they had the answers for. It is a short tour on the boat but the entire experience is worth the price. We also walked the trails they have available and the Butterfly Garden is well worth the stop and see. Very nice presentation all the way around. I was impressed by the remaining fixtures built in the early 1900's and the new use for weddings is a real treat. Nice Job here for sure.

T Highlen

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

We could not have been more pleased. Chase was a wonderful tour guide and gave an excellent explanation of the history of the Kentucky cave system. All the staff were very friendly and helpful. We bought several items in the beautifully decorated and well-stocked gift shop - that supports the beautiful grounds.. We had a lot of fun on the tour, It has wonderfully scenic walking trails and grounds. My family has some extra special keepsakes found during sluicing. It was a wonderful time, not too expensive. Everyone was great that we encountered during our visit. We highly recommend Kentucky boat tour at lost River Cave.