When you think of Michigan, caves are not the first things that come to mind. The state is hardly known for its caves, but many caverns have formed due to years of mining. Alternatively, sandstone is responsible for many cliffs that have created smaller caves. If you are a cave hunter, you might have wondered, “What are the Best Caves in Michigan?
There is plenty to do in Michigan, but when you are looking for the best caves, you will need to consider the history of Michigan. In the 19th Century, copper was one of the main resources that people were mining. Thanks to these miners, there are a couple of caves and caverns in the state. However, we will also look at the naturally formed caves.
- Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
- Eben Ice Caves
- Eagle Point Cave
- Bear Cave – Buchanan, Michigan
- Kochab Cave
It is important that we look at these caved before you set out exploring. Once you have a basic understanding of the caves in Michigan, you should be able to plan your trip. Since these caves are not as intricate as many other states, one visit can allow you to see all the top caves found in the state of Michigan.
Best Caves In Michigan
As mentioned, there might not be hundreds of caves in Michigan. However, this does not mean that there is nothing to see. We have identified five of the top caves in the state of Michigan. These caves will allow you to see new things and adventures. We should mention that you always need to take the necessary precautions for a caving trip, no matter how small the cave is:
1. Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is located near Lake Superior in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Its name is derived from the colorful sandstone cliffs that form in the winter months. Some of these cliffs can reach up to 200-feet above the lake level, which creates natural caves for most people to visit.
There are plenty of standard caves that formed many years ago due to erosion, and while these caves are by no means deep, they are great to explore. However, the ice caves forming in the winter make it a wonderful attraction during the winter months.
In terms of dangers, there is not much that would need to be accounted for. You should not touch the caves if you can help, but it is one of the safer caves you can explore. When visiting the ice caves during the winter, you might need to right shoes and clothing to keep you warm. However, these caves can also be slippery.
2. Eagle Point Cave
When you think of Mackinac Island, you commonly think of Skull cave. Skull Cave was used as a sacred burial site after the attack on Fort Michilimackinac more than 250-years ago. However, Eagle Point is one of the other caves located on the longest trails around the area. It is slightly larger than Skull Cave and deeper.
Since these caves date back to native times, most of the things you will see are the native pictures and writings. The cave is large on the inside and deep, which means that it could get claustrophobic. However, the area will teach you a lot about the history of the Natives and the war that took place.
Aside from the hiking trail that will require some fitness, you don’t have a ton of dangers to be worried about. If you cave often, you should have all the gear, and you will be ready to use the gear to explore this cave.
3. Bear Cave – Buchanan, Michigan
Located on the St. Josephs River near Buchanan, Bear Cave is one of the oldest caves in the United States. Modern estimates have it at forming around 10,000-years ago due to a glacial drift. It is one of the small old caves and only features a couple of rooms that you can explore to see more about the history of the cave.
There is plenty to see, especially when speaking of unnatural formations and cave boulders. However, the fossils embedded in the cave walls have numerous features, including cave pearls, and these tend to be a big attraction for most people.
It is one of the best caves in the United States, but it is mostly flat. Yes, there are a few damp sections, but the cave is only 150-feet. You don’t need to worry about dangers too much, and we recommend that you have the right caving gear.
4. Eben Ice Caves
The Eben Ice caves, also known as the Rock River canyon Ice caves, are a set of caves located in the Upper Peninsula in Michigan. The caves are a big attraction during the winter months. They start to freeze up around early December when water flows over the cliffs and starts to freeze.
These caves are beautiful during the winter months, and they have large ice formations that form each year. There is little to no running water, but the caves are beautiful, and you can learn so much. However, we would recommend that you avoid touching the caves and the ice formations.
Much like any other ice cave, you need to understand that it is frigid and cold in these caves. With the ice, it can also be slippery for most people. Keep in mind that there is a little bit of an uphill hike to the cave, and you should consider having ice cleats.
5. Kochab Cave
Kochab cave is not one of the most popular caves, but it is considered a cavern located in Michigan. The cave features many limestones that give you plenty of beautiful scenery and look great when you visit. However, it is also one of the smaller caves in the area.
The cave used to be an iron mine from what we could find, but it is rarely one of the people’s caves. Due to gasses and safety features, it is not a cave that you want to be trapped in. However, there are still tools and mining gear to be seen.
When it comes to dangers, the cave has been known for the mining gasses that have caused some issues. There are tons of bats in the cave as well. There have been cases of bats being found dead after being trapped in the cave. We don’t recommend this as one of the best caves for you to visit.
Best Caving in Michigan Summary
As mentioned, Michigan is by no means the most popular state when it comes to caves. However, there are a couple of caves that you can visit if you want to explore the state. Some of these caves are thousands of years old, while others have plenty of history about the United States and Natives.
Need Gear to Go Caving or Spelunking?
If you are planning a caving adventure, you want to make sure that you have the right gear. Check out our beginners guide for caving equipment.