Linville Caverns: A Hidden Wonder

The Linville Caverns have a rich history. They were first discovered in the 1800s when some fishermen spotted fish swimming from what appeared to be solid rock. This solid rock turned out to be Linville Caverns – an underground wonderland that has since become a nature lover’s destination and local treasure.

Located deep beneath Humpback Mountain, Linville Caverns was first opened for public touring in 1937.  Since that time many upgrades have been made to pathways and lighting systems to provide a safe and fun exploratory experience. The caverns are open year round to the public, and are open for guided tours. It’s an activity that’s fun for all ages.

Entertaining and educational guides take visitors along a level walk through the caverns while pointing out unique formations, an underground stream with native trout and the “bottomless pool.” They also demonstrate to visitors what it’s like to be in total darkness for a short while.

Stalactites and Stalagmites

Linville Caverns remain active as mineral deposits continue to form stalactites and stalagmites. What’s the difference? A stalactite is an icicle-shaped formation that hangs from the ceiling of a cave, and is produced by precipitation of minerals from water dripping through the cave ceiling. They are kind of like rocky icicles.

A stalagmite is an upward-growing mound of mineral deposits that is found on the floor and stretches upward. They form from water dripping onto the floor of a cave. Most have rounded or flattened tips.

The water produced by this mountain with its carbon dioxide created the caverns by dissolving limestone and dolomite thus creating natural passageways into the mountain. The caverns are home to cathedral-like “rooms” where colorful stalactites hang like chandeliers. It’s truly a magical experience.

Peek inside a mountain

The caverns are located just a few miles from Linville Falls and four miles to the Blue Ridge Parkway. In summertime, they’re also a great place to beat the heat as they stay a cool 52 F year round. As active caverns, there is some dripping water on normal days. During periods of heavy sustained rain, the caverns can be very wet and showery.

So, if you want to experience what it’s like to be inside a mountain, this is your chance. Linville Caverns are truly a hidden wonder.

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