July 17, 2024

Explore the Unknown Underground in Luray Caverns VA

Katie and Gene Hamilton

Bring Binocular News

A magical experience in centuries-old caves

A cavern is a large naturally formed underground chamber with openings to the surface. The Caverns at Luray are difficult to describe because most of us have never been underground in a cave created millions of years ago as earth evolved. While it’s the largest cavern in eastern U.S. you feel like you’re not on earth at all. It’s unreal to see enormous chambers filled with towering stone columns and crystal-clear pools.

See amazing formations in Luray Cavern on lighted walking tour

The 1.4 mile tour follows a lighted, paved walkways that lead you through cathedral-sized rooms with ceilings 10 stories high, towering stone formations, and natural wonders at every turn. Very sturdy metal railings give support to those who need it. In some areas the handrails felt damp because of the moisture in the air. The temperature is a steady 54 degrees so some will want a light jacket or overshirt. We were comfortable in long sleeve shirts. Because of the dampness you’ll walk through a few puddles and damp spots, but the walkways are solid and reassuring. Nineteen markers describe the many features like Skeleton Gorge where human remains were found.  Saracen’s Tent resembles a curtain created as the flow of stone grew larger and became longer and thinner almost like a translucent drapery. Most impressive is Giant’s Hall, the deepest part of the caverns or 164 feet below the surface of the earth, and the tallest at 47 feet high.

Limestone formations and crystal clear water create outerworld experience in Luray Caverns

We learned to notice the difference between the mineral formations of stalactites and stalagmites. In general, stalactites hang from the ceiling of a cave while stalagmites are a type of rock formation that grow from the cave floor from ceiling drippings. The brochure explains the formations are frozen flowing calcite, a crystalline form of limestone.

This part of the Shenandoah Valley is an easy 2-hour day trip from Richmond and  Charlottesville, VA and Washington DC. Luray Caverns is a step away from any and everything a visitor is likely to see on a visit to anywhere else in the country.

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Gene and Katie Hamilton travel the U.S. extensively in search of a favorite place. They are members of the Outdoor Writers Association of America.
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