Lemons Ranch Cave

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  • Hazards: Bad air
  • Gear: Visits may require air monitoring instruments to detect bad air.
  • Length: 168 m (550 ft.)
  • Depth: 30 m (100 ft.)

This tight crawlway is traversed by park visitors taking the Lemons Ranch Cave tour.
- photo Butch Fralia


Lemons Ranch Cave is an extensive series of climbs and crawls, often containing bad air. It is part of Colorado Bend State Park.

From the bottom of the 6-m-deep entrance pit a passage less than 1 m high slopes downward. To the right is an irregularly shaped room 10 m in diameter and 2 m high. A dead-end pit 20 m deep is located in a crawlway leading from this room. Another crawlway reconnects with the main passage, which extends for about 130 m; it is 2 to 4 m high, 2 to 5 m wide, meanders slightly, and has a normally dry stream channel in the floor. An impassable crawlway leads from a flowstone plug at the end of the cave. A strong airflow detected in this crawlway indicates that excavation might reveal considerable additional passage.

Mark Gee and his son Marshall enjoy the "scenic" area of Lemons Ranch Cave
- photo Butch Fralia

The cave often contains bad air and should be checked with a Drager carbon dioxide tube or an oxygen meter before entering very far. In a pinch cavers have used the "Bic Method" - if a butane cigarette lighter will not burn or if there is a large separation between the nozzle and the flame, it's time to get out. Guided tours are taken into the cave occasionally. The cave contains three species of invertebrate troglobites and is part of a baseline ecology study.


Elliott, W. R. 1993. Baseline cave ecology, Colorado Bend State Park, Texas: July-November, 1993. Report to Texas Parks and Wildlife Dept. 22 pp.

Reddell, J. R., ed. 1973. The caves of San Saba County. Second Edition. Texas Speleol. Survey, 3(7-8):127 pp.

Revised 7/2014; original page author: William R. Elliott. All rights reserved.