11 Cool Caves You Can Spelunk Through in New York
Want to see something new in New York? Head underground and explore a number of caves that offer everything from wine and diamonds to a secret waterfall. You can even don your birthday suit to get Naked in a Cave.
Here are 11 cool caves to spelunk through in New York state.
Take a lantern tour 156 feet below ground to explore the six million-year-old cave at Howe Caverns. A tour guide will lead you through the twists and turns of the cavern that Lester Howe discovered at the turn of the 19th century, explaining rock formations and the number one rule: don't touch! Oils from our skin destroy the natural rock formations.
Experienced the mystique of the River Styx, The Sentinels, Titan’s Temple, and The Giant Formation. There's even a boat ride to explore 'The Lake of Venus.' For the return trek, the lights are turned off so you can find your way through the cave as Howe did in 1842; with only a lantern. It's so dark you can't even see your hand in front of your face.
You can also Get Naked in a Cave during the annual Birthday Suit Celebration, try getting out of the Escape Room or take a Haunted Tour during the Halloween season.
Learn more on everything Howe Caverns has to offer at HoweCaverns.com.
Location: 255 Discovery Drive, Howes Cave, NY
After touring Howe Caverns, head down the road to a secret cavern with a breathtaking underground waterfall. Nestled 100 feet below the surface, Secret Caverns, founded by local civil engineer Roger Mallery, has a waterfall that brings visitors from around the world.
The caverns in Cobleskill, New York have hosted travelers since its discovery in 1928. Take a 1 hour guided half-mile tour through the prehistoric passageway, traveling down 103 steps to view the beauty of Mother Nature. You'll pass by stalactites, stalagmites, and flowstone where it's 50 degrees year-round, as you walk to the world-famous 100-foot underground waterfall
Cameras, pictures, and touching of the formations are allowed, which is not the case with most other caves around the country.
Learn more at Secretcaverns.com and make plans to tour when it opens in the spring.
Location: 671 Caverns Rd, Howes Cave, NY
Lockport Cave offers one of the longest underground boat tours in the country, on the Erie Canal. Start your tour walking along the banks of the Canal and tour the cave by lantern light. You'll see artifacts left by miners over a century ago, cave formations in their early stages of development, and enjoy a “peaceful and eerie” ride as a boat glides through the lifeless water, illuminated only by small, sporadically placed electric lights.
Lockport Caves even offer haunted and ghost tours during the Halloween season. Schedule your tour and boat ride at Lockportcave.com when the season begins for 2022.
Location: 5 Gooding Street, Lockport NY
Stroll through the underground cellars of the oldest winery in the country. The dimly lit cellars at Brotherhood winery were excavated by hand in the late 19th Century. Today they house over two hundred oak barrels and feature a crested vault containing some of the oldest vintages in America.
Learn the secrets of the mysterious vaults and get acquainted with the complete wine-making process. Private tours and tastings are available by appointment at Brotherhood-Winery.com.
Location: 100 Brotherhood Plaza Dr., Washingtonville, NY
Mohonk’s Lemon Squeeze
The hike across the Mohonk Mountain House grounds to the Labyrinth rock scramble and up through the Lemon Squeeze crevice is one of the most memorable outdoor experiences in the Hudson Valley, or anywhere else for that matter.
Once you wedge yourself through rock formations turning yourself into human lemon in the Lemon Squeeze, you’ll pop out onto a ledge with views of the Mohonk Preserve that are well worth the trip.
Location: 1000 Mountain Rest Rd, New Paltz, NY
Take a lantern tour in the Grand Canyon of the Adirondacks and discover the beauty of Ausable Chasm at night. When dusk falls, enter the chasm at the rim and descent into the deep, dark canyon 150 feet below, walking along the legendary Ausable River. Explore the dark shadows of the chasm walls in an awe-inspiring sight. End your tour with a campfire and marshmallow toast.
Lanterns are provided, but you can bring your own battery-powered lanterns. Flashlights are not allowed. The guided Lantern Tour lasts 2 hours, starting at dusk, and is open to anyone 10 years of age or older.
Book your tour at AusableChasm.com when the season begins in the spring.
Location: 2144 Route 9, Ausable Chasm, NY
Herkimer Diamond Mines
Diamonds are a woman's best friend. Take her to the Herkimer Diamond Mines where you can keep everything you find. Break open rocks in search of the beautiful crystals that were formed over 500 million years ago.
You can also spend a night or weekend in the camping resort or enjoy a meal in one of two restaurants.
Get details at HerkimerDiamond.com.
Location: 800 Mohawk Street, Herkimer, NY
Natural Stone Bridge and Caves
The Natural Stone Bridge and Caves is home to the largest marble cave entrance in the eastern U.S. and Trout Brook is still carving it out every day.
You'll descend into lighted caves and grottos with raging water and tranquil dark pools during the warmer weather. In winter, the landscape transforms into an ice flow of everchanging sculptures beneath the Stone Bridge and along the river.
Learn more at StoneBridgeandCaves.com.
Location: 535 Stone Bridge Road, Pottersville, NY
Ellenville Fault Ice Caves
The Ellenville Fault Ice Caves are the most popular features inside Sam’s Point Area of Minnewaska State Park Preserve. The crevice caves fill with ice and snow every winter and even hang around well into the summer. The caves stay cool even during the warmer months.
The caves were recognized by the National Park Service in 1967 when it was designated a National Natural Landmark. Learn more at NYStateParks.com.
Location: 400 Sam's Point Road, Cragsmoor, NY
Panama Rocks is the #1 ranked nature and hiking trail in New York State. Discover the park filled with towering rocks, deep crevices, passageways, and small caves that run through the rocks created from years of freezing and thawing.
Spend an hour or the entire day exploring the rock formations that date back about 400 to 350 million years ago when the park opens in the spring.
Learn more at PanamaRocks.com.
Location: 11 Rock Hill Road, Panama, NY
Cave of the Winds
Get closer to Niagara Falls than ever before in a one-of-a-kind experience. The Cave of the Winds in Niagara Falls, New York takes you down 175 feet into the Niagara Gorge before bringing you out onto wooden walkways, that lead to the “Hurricane Deck.” That's where you'll find yourself within feet of the crashing Bridal Veil Falls and surrounded by tropical storm-like conditions, even on the calmest of days.
Get more details at Niagarafallsstatepark.com to tour Cave of the Winds that is open year-round.
Location: 332 Prospect St, Niagara Falls, NY