The Best Caves in Kansas: Complete List

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Beware: You should never explore wild caves alone or without proper gear. Consider getting in touch with a Grotto of the National Speleological Society at or a qualified cave club. These groups are skilled and will train you. Without sufficient knowledge, preparation, and equipment, cave exploring can lead to serious injury or death.

When looking for caves in the midwest, there are undoubtedly plenty of great states to choose from. Any caver has heard of Kentucky’s extensive collection, and some of the popular commercial caves scattered through the landlocked regions of the US. It turns out that very few people turn to Kansas when they’re out for a caving adventure.

Did you know that more than 800 caves have been discovered here? Some are solution caves, while others were formed by erosion. A remarkable variety exists, but there’s definitely a caveat. Most of these caves are not nearly as dramatic or well-known. It’s not nearly as family-friendly as some other states with more commercialized caves.

But if you are interested in more low-key spots, we’ve got you covered. After this article, you will be able to make a more educated decision about Kansas.

As always, remember to leave no trash, take nothing, and disturb none of the wild animals that you may encounter. We’ll cover some of the more well-known and popular caves in Kansas, and if you discover some on your own, try to keep everything the way it’s found.

Unfortunately, there are not many well-documented and surveyed caves, despite how many exist in the state. This list is short, but it’s all we’ve got for now.

Elgin Cave (Robber’s Cave)

Not to be confused with Robbers Cave State Park of Oklahoma, Elgin Cave is sometimes also called “Robber’s Cave”. It was used as a hideout by the Dalton Gang in the late 1800s. The cave itself is quite small, but has some interesting outlaw history.

Two men robbed a bank in Sedan, though not much is known about the conclusion of their adventure. In 1899, a counterfeiter’s set was found here, but it’s likely that nothing is left there today.

Limestone Cave System

An extensive system of limestone caves, once abandoned, were beginning to see new use since the 1950s. In the late 1800s, limestone mining created millions of square feet of space spread throughout both Kansas and Missouri.

A NASA employee found the underground space useful for testing instruments. In addition, Lamar Hunt created one of the largest underground facilities with over 6 million square feet of industrial space for lease.

While this doesn’t refer to a single cave that you can go visit today, it was still worth including in this list. Much of this area is commercialized now, but it’s still interesting to think about how so much empty space spans beneath the ground in some areas of Kansas.

An image shows the massive tunnel of the underground manmade limestone caves in Kansas.

Palmer’s Cave

Off limits to most visitors, Palmer’s Cave is one of about 30 sites in Kansas that features Native American art. Petroglyphs were carved here into sandstone, and some of the rock art is incredibly fascinating to look at, though you have to resort to seeing it online.

It’s sometimes called “Indian Cave”, and isn’t very big. Wind and water carved the opening, which has since collapsed. Some report that a battle took place here in the 1800s, when about twenty Pawnee Indians sought refuge in a cave while being hunted by settlers.

There aren’t any other caves in the vicinity of where this battle took place, so it’s likely that this is the exact cave of that gruesome event.

credit: Kansas Geological Survey


Kansas doesn’t have a whole lot for caving, but we’re sure there’s some caves we may have missed. If you happen to know any other popular, memorable caves, be sure to let us know. We will happily add to this list when we can.

For some alternative (and better) neighboring states with more caving adventure, check these next:

Colorado Caves

Missouri Caves

Nebraska Caves

Oklahoma Caves

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