Everything You Should Know About Mystery Cave State Park


A cow is standing in the dark

Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park is located 40 miles southeast of Rochester in far southeastern Minnesota. Hiking and horseback trails, trout streams, campgrounds, and a diverse range of plants and wildlife can all be found in the park. It also has Minnesota’s longest cave, which is nearly 13 miles long. 

First, keep in mind that mobile service in this remote area is spotty, so don’t rely on a GPS to get there because maps are often inaccurate. There will be more on this later. Also, bring a jumper, avoid wearing sandals or open-toed shoes, and pre-register for your tour tickets online to ensure a spot. Tours are subject to a fee.

Throughout the summer, several tours are available, some of which are physically demanding and include crawling. We were on the one-hour scenic tour, which was the easier choice. Tour duration varies significantly, so plan accordingly. Often, depending on the level of difficulty, age restrictions can apply, so be sure to double-check all of the specifics of your tour online.

The naturalist-led tours offered by Mystery Cave provide another interesting opportunity for visitors. Tours take tourists underground in this natural cave for 45 minutes to several hours. With paved trails, railings, and bridges that follow a lit-up cave, portions of the cave are completely open. There are views of stalagmites and stalagmites and underwater pools and bats that live in the cave.

The park has a rugged wooded landscape of blue-ribbon trout streams, 17 miles of hiking trails, campgrounds, 15 miles of horseback trails, picnicking, and a diverse plant and animal population. During the summer, Mystery Cave, located in the State Park, provides regular guided tours. Stalactites, stalagmites, flowstone, and stunning underground pools, as well as a labyrinth of interconnecting tunnels, make this Minnesota’s longest known cave. On weekends in the spring and fall from mid-April to October, and regularly from Memorial Weekend to Labor Day, modern lighting and walkways boost open tours.

The Temperature Is 48 Degrees Fahrenheit (9 Degrees Celsius).

A close up of a rock

For ADA accessible tours and documents, contact the park. During the summer, interpretive workshops are offered on weekends.

The Minnesota Historical Society operates Historic Forestville, a living history village with tours available on weekends during the summer months.

Dates & Hours

The park is open all year, and Mystery Cave is open on weekends in the spring and fall and regular tours from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day. On Weekends 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the spring and fall, and regular 10 a.m. morning to 5 p.m. evening in the summer. There is no need for prior reservation since certain tickets are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Without a reservation, there could be a long wait for a trip. If you have a reservation, arrive 15 minutes before your scheduled time to sign in and receive your tickets.

Park permits are $35 per year, $26 per second car, $12 per disabled person, or $7 per day. Camping fees are paid separately. Fees for scenic tours are $15 for those aged 13 and up, $10 for those aged 5 to 12, and free for those aged four and under. For community rates and wild caving rates, give us a call. Permits for vehicles are needed.

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