North Carolina has so much to offer for cavers and spelunkers, but where can you find all these caves? In this article, I give a list of known and unknown caves. Where can I go caving in North Carolina?
North Carolina has over 900 caves. For experienced cavers, there are many caves like Rumbling Bald Cave and Bat Cave. For a family field trip, Linville Caverns and Boone’s Cave are great; both are perfect for a tour. Asheville Salt Cave even provides a rejuvenating day within the “cave.”
For cavers, there are plenty of wild caves. However, most of them are not open to the public. You will need to contact private property owners. The majority is on private property or is closed down by the North Carolina Parks Service, to protect species. Read on to find some cool ones that you can access.
Linville Caverns – Marion, NC
Linville Caverns located in Marion, NC, within McDowell county. Deep in the Humpback Mountains, Linville Caverns weren’t discovered until the early 1800s where Henry Coulton found it on a fishing trip.
It is the most popular cavern in North Carolina and perfect for the whole family to visit. The cavern is open to the public, and tours are lead by experienced guides. With a maze of tunnels, this is a great way to experience “the beauty of these aged mountains from the inside.”
Here is a glimpse inside the caverns:
Boone’s Cave – Lexington, NC
This 80-foot long cave’s claim to fame is from Daniel Boone, who hid in the caves from Indians. The Boone’s Cave is overlooking the Yadkin River and part of the Boone’s Cave State Park.
This cave is more of an authentic cave experience than the Linville Cavern. The entrance is 2 to 3 feet high, and the height throughout the cave ranges from 1 ft to 4.5 ft stretching 80 ft long.
If you are planning to visit the Boone’s Cave, make sure that you are prepared to do a lot of crawling and be ready to get dirty. But since it’s not a deep cave, it’ll be a beautiful day trip to the caves and the surrounding park, but not a family tour like Linville.
Bat Cave – Henderson County, NC
Bat Cave has over 1.4 miles of mapped caves with a vast chamber that is over 330 ft long and 85 ft high. This makes the largest tectonic cave in North Carolina.
The name of this cave is appropriate since it used to host a large flock of bats. Unfortunately, most of those bats have been driven away or killed by visitors to the cave. The cave is now privately owned and managed by the Nature Conservancy in North Carolina.
Because of this, they are only accepting a few guided tours each year. If you are lucky enough to get into one of those guided tours, you will want to avoid the winter since rattlesnakes are known to take shelter in Bat Cave when it starts to get cold out.
Rumbling Bald Cave – Rutherford County, NC
If you are looking for the ultimate hiking and caving experience, you will want to visit the Rumbling Bald Cave. The cave opening is located at the base of the Rumbling Bald climbing wall and is easy to access. But the caving is for experienced cavers, not beginners.
Within the cave is a stream, but more impressively, there is an area called the “Attic Window.” There is a fantastic view that makes the hike and climb well worth it.
Unfortunately, this cave is currently closed due in the effort to slow the spread of White-Nose Syndrome that has impacted millions of bats. We do hope that they can open this one again soon, because it’s a spectacular cave to visit.
Other Popular Caves on North Carolina
Here are some other magnificent caves and caverns that are in NC. So if you aren’t close to the ones I listed previously, you will want to check one of these out.
- Rock House Cave in Onslow County
- Old Blockhouse Cave in Jones County
- Caves in Rumbling Bald Mountain in Rutherford County
- Tories Den in Stokes County
- Wolf’s Den in Watauga County
Caving in North Carolina Summary
There are many other caves throughout North Carolina, but we wanted to highlight the most interesting caves and caverns. North Carolina is a fantastic state for hiking, climbing, and caving. So if you’re looking for your next caving trip, we hope this helps!