Nature and fear have a peculiar relationship. During the day, the woods tend to be serene and explorers can lose themselves in thought while traversing well-traveled trails. At night, the woods become a place of mystery and dread. If you find yourself caught in the woods after dark, you hold your breath and progress cautiously. One never knows what awaits in the shadows.

Caves are one of the most uncanny parts of nature because they bring darkness even in the daylight. In Illinois, perhaps no subterranean passage is more petrifying than Cave-In-Rock. Located in the southern Illinois city of the same name, Cave-In-Rock was a notorious hideout along the Ohio River for pirates and bandits in the 1700s and the early 1800s. If you know this history when you visit, the whole experience takes a turn for the terrifying. You can feel the violence of centuries past in the cool air of the cave air. Exploring these depths while contemplating their history of death is guaranteed to give you the creeps.

Cave-In-Rock (also commonly spelled Cave in Rock) is located at 1 New State Park Rd, Cave-In-Rock, IL 62919.

While Cave-In-Rock has a terrible and terrifying history, today it serves as the town’s central tourist attraction and the most famous feature of Cave-In-Rock State Park. This spooky spelunking adventure supports a historical community, which makes treading these trail worth the terror. And if you’re looking for more that’s a little less haunted, the local diner and the free Cave-In-Rock ferry both get rave reviews.

What caves and caverns creep you out in Illinois? What was your scariest time spent spelunking with spirits or your most death-defying descent? We love hearing your stories and seeing your photos. Get in touch!


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