Exploring one of WV’s caverns is a great way to spend a hot, summer day.The natural air conditioning is a major plus. There are three opened to the public for tours, and I’ve been to each one twice. The whole experience of being in an underground area formed millions of years ago is fascinating, and the highlighted stalactite and stalagmite formations are amazing. stalactite and stalagmite (mineral formation)
These caverns are located in Riverton, and estimated to be over 450 million years old. In the early 1400’s, The Seneca Indians used the caverns for shelter, and also held many sacred ceremonies within its chambers. Seneca Indians The path through the caverns dips down to 165 feet, and the year-round temperature is 54 degrees. The beauty of the stalagmites, stalactites, and natural grottos is well-worth the trip. Beside the tour, the whole family can mine for real gem stones, such as rubies, rose quartz, amethysts, and garnets.
Email: Seneca Caverns Escape Phone: 1-800-239-7647
Lost World Caverns
Lewisburg is where you’ll find the caverns with The Snowy Chandelier, a beautiful stalactite believed to be the nation’s oldest, and The Bridal Veil. They are the most beautiful I’ve ever seen. These are just two of the many natural formations in this magical cavern, 120 feet below ground. Average temperature is 52 degrees. An added attraction is a dinosaur museum. These caverns also offer The Wild Cave Tour, for those who want a truly adventurous caving expedition. This will take you to the deepest part of the caves; if you’re afraid of the dark and don’t want to get dirty, this tour isn’t for you!
Email: Lost World Caverns Phone: 304-645-6677 or 866-228-3778
Smoke Hole Caverns
Located at Seneca Rocks, near Petersburg, these caverns have a history with the Seneca Indians. They used them to smoke wild game, sending clouds of smoke throughout the valley. Because of this, the early settlers named the valley Smoke Hole. Moonshiners also made and hid their whiskey here, and you’ll see an original moonshine still on display. We noted something interesting in that the stalagmites and stalactites here were oddly shaped, throwing off eerie shadows in dark corners. It’s a perfect backdrop for the history it holds, as though spirits of the past still linger.
Email: Smoke Hole Phone: 800-828-8478
If you are a Civil War history buff like I am, you’ll enjoy visiting this cave, located in Greenbriar Valley. During the Civil War, Confederate soldiers discovered a large amount of saltpeter in the cave, and under the direction of General Robert E. Lee, they mined it. Saltpeter was a basic ingredient in making black powder for their musket ammunition, and the cave was a great place to store it. Here you’ll see equipment left behind, plus original carvings and markings, made by these soldiers. An interesting thing about this cave is the huge underground chapel that held over 1100 people, which the men used for church services. The natural acoustics made it easy to hear the sermons and hymns they sang.
Email: organ cave tours Phone: 304-645-7600