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.


RM Soja

Saturday, Dec. 16, 2017

As I am sure others noted, it is a bit of a walk to get to the boat tour (including hills, inclines and stairs). Found the tour itself unusual enough to want to make a side trip from Mammoth Caves, so it will be a fun stop given even the above ground nature trail, history discussion prior to the boat tour itself. The cave is young in terms of geological formation, but still some interesting formations. Note the season and weather when you plan to go ... sometimes too rainy to run tours for a while so you wont be able to enjoy the cave river float tour Gift shop fun, with some fun extra cost activities for kids All in all, enjoyable tour.

Folgers Forest

Saturday, Jan. 6, 2018

A non profit attraction that I recommend everyone to go to! Gift shop is large with a lot of items for sale. The tour guides are very knowledgeable and cheerful. Its a beautiful landscape even in the winter.

Bradley Parke

Sunday, Jan. 21, 2018

One-of-a-kind experience with cave boat tour, definitely worth the price. Informative and fun tour guide explained history of cave/river and pointed out interesting features of cave along way. Great for getting your cave experience fix!

Glenn Stumpff

Friday, Jan. 12, 2018

Great place. Nice trails. Has gift shop. Wish I'd have had time for the boat tour or other adventurous things. (Apparently, you can go snorkeling.)

Melody Garcia

Friday, Jan. 19, 2018

Fabulous Fabulous Fabulous!! Great gem located in Bowling Green. I went just to hike and loved it so much we decided to go on the cave tour. Had a great time.