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Mansfield Magazine

Rocksprings and Devil’s Sinkhole

Jul 19, 2016 12:02PM ● Published by Melanie Heisinger

The Devil’s Sinkhole, Rocking Springs, TX.

Got the summer doldrums and looking for a getaway? Northwest of San Antonio at the junction of Highways 377 and 55 you’ll find the little town of Rocksprings. The rural enclave of around 1,200 people offers that rustic charm but also hides natural treats just outside the city limits that make this a unique trip.

Of course you’ll want to make time to take in the 19th century architecture in Rocksprings. Just a quick walk around the town’s square will give you a chance to take a gander at the turn-of-the-century courthouse and jail. The sturdy stone structures are a reminder of a bygone time.

While in Rocksprings, consider staying at the Historic RockSprings Hotel. It’s an ode to an era gone by. Originally built as the Gilmer Hotel in 1916, and marvelously crafted, you’ll still find great old-fashioned charm and feel in this restored place. There are several rooms to choose from and you’ll want to be sure and check out the lovely parlor and beautiful dining room inside the hotel.

When you’re feeling hungry and thirsty you can try the local Jailhouse Bar and Grill. You’ll find great burgers, fries, sandwiches and other staples, and beer cold enough to bring on the chill on even the hottest of Texas days.

Then head just eight miles outside of town for a magnificent and natural wonder to behold. The Devil’s Sinkhole is a cavern that plunges more than 350 feet deep and has an opening of approximately 40 x 60 feet revealing the deep hole and its limestone walls. It is the largest single-chambered cavern and third deepest in the state. It’s part of a vast system of underground caves in the porous Edwards Plateau.

The sinkhole was sacred to Native Americans and locals have found stalactites, arrowheads and other historical markers around the area. Today the sinkhole is a summer home to as many as four million Mexican Free-Tailed bats. At sundown you’ll begin to see just a few bats emerging from the sinkhole before they ultimately become a black swirling mass of bats soaring into the evening sky.

Take note that evening tours to watch the bats are only offered Wednesday through Saturday during the summer. Access to the natural area is limited and reservations are required through the Devil’s Sinkhole Society. Find out more at the Rocksprings Visitors Center located on the town square in Rocksprings or by calling the Devil’s Sinkhole Society at 830-683-BATS (2287) to prearrange tours.

After visiting the Devil’s Sinkhole and witnessing the flight of the bats, head back into Rocksprings and enjoy a frosty cold beverage at the Jailhouse Bar and Grill with locals as you marvel over nature’s beauty in this hidden Texas getaway.

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