The longest navigable underground river in the United States is home to countless blind and albino animals.
The river that flows through the Bluespring Caverns, a 21-mile-long cave system, harbors a staggering concentration of albino—sometimes nearly see-through—amphibians and other aquatic creatures.
The Bluespring Caverns were first discovered in the 19th century, and further entrances to the caves continued to be discovered well into the 1940s. Wide limestone caves stretch for miles beneath the ground, acting like a canopy for the river that runs along their floor.
A River Full of Life
The river that ripples through the caverns is the longest known underground river in the United States. The moist, churning environment, combined with the constant darkness, has created an ideal habitat for blind and albino species to thrive.
In addition to bugs like crickets, beetles, and spiders, larger creatures such as salamanders, frogs, and crayfish all live under, above, and upon the flowing waters, many of them purely white or nearly translucent. There is even an extremely rare species of blind cavefish that swims within the subterranean waters.
Tours down the river are available, letting visitors meander across the underground waters for about an hour. Sightings of albino wildlife are abundant, if you have a keen eye. While most caves are known for their stony splendor, the Bluespring Caverns are the rare subterranean wonder that is renowned for its thriving life, not lack of it.
Know Before You Go
The caverns are open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. from March through October. Tours leave on the hour and cost $18 for an adult ticket and $10 for a youth ticket.
Content originally created for Atlas Obscura.