10:43 | 27/10/2021 Print
|Beautiful caves in the US. Photo: KnowInsiders|
If you are into cave exploration or spelunking as part of your tourist adventure, here are some of the caves to visit in the United States.
These caverns contain some of the most beautiful landscapes and rock formations. These caves are a world of their own and are fascinating destinations for local and international tourists alike.
1. Mammoth Cave, Kentucky
2. Antelope Canyon; Page, Arizona
3. Carlsbad Caverns, New Mexico
4. Devil’s Den Spring, Williston, Florida
5. Wind Cave National Park, Hot Springs, South Dakota
6. Moaning Cavern, California
7. Meramec Caverns; Stanton, Missouri
8. Black Chasm Cavern; Volcano, California
9. Luray Caverns, Virginia
10. Craighead Caverns, Tennessee
|Photo: America's Great Outdoors - Tumblr|
This UNESCO World Heritage Site is the longest cave system in the world. This is touted as the longest cave system in the world, with 350 miles of wondrous limestone and sandstone formations. For cave tours, visit the Grand Avenue, Frozen Niagara, and Fat Man's Misery.
These can be seen on lighted tours and paraffin lamp tours. For those who are a little adventurous, choose the route where you can experience crawling in the mud and dusty tunnels. Finally, take a boat ride through the Echo River Tour along the underground river.
|Mammoth Cave National Park includes much more than just a cave. The surrounding forest contains one of the most diverse habitat in the nation, supporting more than 1,300 flowering species and bird species like bald eagles, wood warblers and thrushes. You can see flowers along the hiking trails -- 60 miles of which are open for horseback riding. The park also includes over 30 miles of the Green and Nolin Rivers, with great fishing spots, and scenic kayak and canoe trails.|
This slot canyon in Arizona is one of the most awe-inspiring caves in the world. It's split into two sections—the "Upper Antelope Canyon" (otherwise known as "The Crack") and the "Lower Antelope Canyon" (or "The Corkscrew"). This ancient canyon was formed by the erosion of Navajo Sandstone, mostly due to flash flooding. The best time to see Antelope Canyon is during the summer, when the natural light hits its walls at just the right angle to create a warm red glow. This national treasure is only accessible via guided tours, which can be photography-based, hiking-intensive, or more in-depth, depending on the time of year and flooding potential.
Pro tip: After your trek through the canyon, remain immersed in the impressive scenery by booking a room at the Lake Powell Resort, where you can take a boat tour, dinner cruise, or rent a powerboat to explore the perimeters of the resort.
Be awed in beauty and wonder when you explore the deep rocky canyons, caverns, ancient sea ledges, thorny shrubs, and cactus of this cave tucked below the desert terrain. There are about 119 caves you can explore, which are formed with sulfuric acid and limestone.
You can explore the Big Room and Main Corridor with self-guided cave tours or explore the underground with ranger-guided tours like the Bell Cord Room, Bit Frost Room, Bat Cave, and the like. At night, you can see the exodus of the Brazilian free-tailed bats.
Some caves feature underwater rivers, lakes, or waterfalls, but Devil’s Den Spring is a full-on dive site. It was formed by a karst window—essentially, a cave roof that collapses, revealing a prehistoric underground river. (The result looks similar to a cenote). Divers can view ancient stalactites and fossil beds dating back 33 million years through the crystal-clear, brilliantly blue water, which reaches maximum depths of 54 feet and maintains a steady temperature of 72ºF year-round.
How to visit: Scuba diving is offered 7 days a week with proper certification, no reservations necessary (unless you plan to take a night dive). Every diver must have a dive buddy. Admission is $38 per diver, and rental gear is available. Snorkeling is also available by appointment only; admission starts at $15 per person and rental equipment is available.
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Wind Cave National Park is located near the city of Hot Springs, South Dakota and was the first cave in the world to be preserved as part of a national park at its establishment in 1903. The cave was believed to have been historically referenced in Lakota Sioux folklore and was originally discovered by Europeans in 1881, taking its name from the cave’s continual atmospheric pressure breathing.
Today, it is recognized as the world’s densest cave system, featuring more than 140 miles of charted passageways showcasing sights such as its Post Office and Elks Room formations. Above ground, the park is home to the United States’ largest preserved mixed-grass prairie region, containing a variety of trails offering views of the nearby Black Hills.
|Photo: Cave Tourist|
This is an archaeological site, which is also developed for cave tours. The moaning cave is located at the bottom of a spacious vertical shaft at 165 feet tall; you continue descending the 100-foot spiral staircase until you reach the cavern at around 410 feet in depth.
Here, you can explore the oldest human remains of pre-historic people in the Americas. The cave has been a resting place for people who fell in its opening; thus, the term named as "moaning cave".
First gaining notoriety as the official hideout of the notorious Jesse James, the Meramec Caverns in Stanton, Missouri present some of nature's most awe-inspiring creations. Tours through this series of caverns have amazed guests for decades, with its limestone "Wine Table" and seven-story mansion built underground. Whether you're interested in getting to know the legendary past of the Meramec Caverns, or just looking to experience its natural geologic wonders, there are a number of tours to pique anyone's interest.
Pro tip: Revel in the beautiful countryside and amazing amenities at the Cedar Creek Center, where you'll have to choose between adorable cottages or breathtaking manors. While you're there, pay a visit to the Town Hall building, which turns into a lively bar and grill during the weekends.
A trip to Black Chasm Cavern is truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. This magical cavern in Volcano, California is well-known for its bright blue lake surrounded by thousands of sparkling helictites, a mineral that's only present in around 5 percent of all caves in existence. After a trip through the cavern, visitors can revel in the wonders of the Zen Garden, an area full of marble monoliths that were uncovered during the hydraulic mining of the Gold Rush era. For those looking for a personalized cavern experience, guided tours are offered throughout the year.
Pro tip: To truly experience the historical charm of the Gold Rush era, stay the night at the Hotel Sutter, a chic hotel first established in the thick of the rush in 1851. Of course, the hotel has been updated to fit the times, but still maintains its historic charm.
|Photo: Virginia Travel Tips|
Luray Caverns, series of limestone caves in Page county, northwestern Virginia, U.S., near the town of Luray (headquarters of Shenandoah National Park). Covering 64 acres (26 hectares), the caverns, discovered in 1878, were formed millions of years ago by underground rivers and seepage of acid-bearing water through layers of limestone and clay. In time the clay was washed away, leaving only the limestone shell. Long after the formation of the caverns and the development of stalactites from dripping limewater, they were filled with glacial mud. The acid-charged mud eroded the dripstone and altered its shape. When the mud was later removed by flowing water, the older eroded forms remained alongside the new growth, resulting in a striking display of many-hued stalactites, stalagmites, columns, and cascades.
|The caverns comprise a group of chambers, 30 to 140 feet (9 to 43 metres) in height, which are illuminated by indirect lighting and are connected by corridors, stairways, and bridges. The inside temperature is a constant 54° F (12° C). Two bodies of water, Dream Lake and Silver Sea, lie within the caverns. The Luray Singing Tower, at the entrance to the caverns, is a carillon 117 feet (36 metres) high with 47 bells ranging from 12.5 pounds (5.7 kg) to 7,640 pounds (3,466 kg). In 1956, a “stalacpipe organ” was constructed in the caverns by placing rubber-tipped plungers next to 37 stalactites to produce sound, making it the largest natural musical instrument. The caverns were made a federal natural landmark in 1978.|
Home to America’s largest underground lake, the Lost Sea, Craighead Caverns offers natural beauty at every turn. Tours begin with a guided walk through the caverns, where visitors can learn more about the cave’s history and explore the cavern rooms and rock formations. This includes a series of rare cave flowers, a particularly notable series of blooming rock deposits.
After the walking portion of the tour, guests embark on a glass-bottom boat trip across the four-acre Lost Sea. For those visiting with a large, organized group, Craighead Caverns also offers a Wild Cave Tour that includes access to additional sections, as well as an overnight stay underground.
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