A Natural Landmark: Organ Cave in West Virginia

from Off the Beaten Path | 318

South of Lewisburg on Rte. 63, West Virginia

This national natural landmark is distinguished for its geological and archaeological features, its historical significance, and its impressive length (45 miles) and depth (486 feet). For centuries, long before it began to offer tours to stagecoach riders in 1822, explorers were mesmerized by its massive passageways, with more than 200 passages remaining to be mapped.

Throughout, stunning limestone sculptures, formed from the bones of prehistoric animals and forces of water, date back hundreds of millions of years and continue to evolve today. The name Organ Cave was inspired by the largest, and arguably most awesome, of all the calcite formations, evoking a grand church organ.

Point of Interest: Organ Cave In addition to its astounding natural architecture, the cave contains the largest collection of saltpeter vats in the United States, mined during the Civil War for making gunpowder.

In addition to its astounding natural architecture, the cave contains the largest collection of saltpeter vats in the United States, mined during the Civil War for making gunpowder. The cave also served the spiritual needs of soldiers: Religious services for over 1,000 of Gen. Robert E. Lee’s men were held in the shelter of its huge underground entranceway.

Visitors can sign up for a variety of specialized guided tours, including an easy two-mile walking tour. For those ready to climb and crawl, extended exploring expeditions, ranging from 2 – 18 hours, lead you deep underground and bring you face-to-face with such wonders as a trio of breathtaking waterfalls that cascade over a 90-foot drop, or a rare growth of gypsum flowers, or bustling communities of bats. On the first August weekend Organ Cave resounds with gospel singing, showcasing talented voices from surrounding counties.

Open daily year-round. Admission charged. Additional fees for specialized tours.

www.organcave.com
(304) 645-7600

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