Buckner Cave is located in the karst topography of the Mitchell Plain in Monroe County, Indiana, United States just outside of Bloomington. The cave consists of approximately 3 miles of known passage and an unknown amount of unexplored passages.
It is managed by the Richard Blenz Nature Conservancy (RBNC) and resides in privately owned property. Interested visitors need to obtain permission from the RBNC one week in advance in order to enter. Alternatively, people can become members of the RBNC and help maintain the cave as well as benefit from expedited access.
Over the years, the cave has been heavily vandalized with spray paint and trashed out from garbage including; food wrappers, broken bottles, empty beer cans, and spent calcium carbonate from carbide lamps. There is an ongoing effort to restore the cave to its natural state.
Its entrance is an oval shaped sinkhole approximately 15 ft tall and 20 ft wide which leads downwards in a gentle incline for about 50 ft and then opens up into a large room. Access to the rest of the cave is found through a small hole that brings explorers to an approximately 600 foot army crawl to the next large cavern. From here cavers can choose to explore multiple sections of the cave. Throughout the cave many paths and routes exist and most tunnels and caverns have a few offshoots.
Most of the caverns and passages have been cut out by water over the ages and generally appear to be quite safe. Some areas, especially the side-tunnels and off shoots, are underneath piles of large rocks. A significant section of the cave runs along what is a still running stream that is never more than a couple of feet in depth. Small bats may be found throughout the cave.
Graffiti is rather prominent in many parts of the cave. Astute cavers will notice the signature of L.V. Cushing and the date of 1775 hidden beneath graffiti. Though vandals have destroyed many of the natural rock formations in the cave, it is a complex mesh of tunnels great and challenging squeezes.
Buckner Cave is easily traversable without rope or special equipment. Many areas have low ceilings and necessitate hands and belly crawling. Areas in the lower parts of the cave are near a shallow stream.
Visiting the Cave
People interested in visiting need to obtain permission from the RBNC one week in advance in order to enter.