Discovering a 60 Million Year Old Cavern | Skyline Caverns Front Royal, Virginia
Discovering a 60 Million Year Old Cavern
Adventure in the outdoors can come in many forms. Whether it be hiking, kayaking, or even guided tours of natural wonders; I enjoy them all. I have driven through the eastern states of the US many times and had always seen roadside signs for caverns of wonder beckoning passersby to stop and take a gander but, I never have.
I have always wanted to take a look and see what they would be like, however, prior engagements have led to pushing on down the road.
While in the Front Royal, Virginia area I kept seeing cavern signs again. I had been in the Front Royal area for a little while now and knew this was something I needed to see and discover. I’ve always been slightly curious about the underground realm of the earth to see what exciting adventures could be found but have never taken a close look.
Finally, on a rainy day, my husband and I made the decision to go and take a tour of the Skyline Caverns in Front Royal, VA. Several locals had told us it was a must-see area attraction and that we would not be disappointed. I thought to myself this would be a good “indoor” activity for the day!
Skyline Caverns in Front Royal, Virginia
Skyline Caverns was discovered in 1937 by a man named, Walter S. Amos, by a sinkhole. The sinkhole opening can be discovered at the beginning of our tour. Amos was very proud of himself for his discovery of an exciting world and geological wonder laying in wait for some 60 million years!
The caverns were opened to the public in 1939. Since it’s opening to the public the caverns have welcomed over millions of guests!
The tour itself couldn’t have been better! I enjoyed that the tours were of small-groups and led by a funny and knowledgeable tour guide. Ours was funny, sweet, educated, and you could tell she truly loved and enjoyed her job. The words and information of the caverns weren’t “textbook” repeated as if she was staring at a teleprompt.
Her words had true interest and joy educating the lucky tourists who wanted to learn more about these amazing caverns. Light-hearted humor was what really sold me on our guide!
She made sure to point out interesting facts about the underground wildlife too! Yes, underground wildlife! Camel crickets and creepy microscope-like beetles that were blinded by the darkness of the caverns were discovered down there all alone in the mystical world.
The Fairy Pools within the caverns were my favorite. It looked as if the water went so deep and did feel like little fairies may just fly by and enchant you more with the mystery of the cavern.
Something that was incredibly creepy and interesting was experiencing total, cavern darkness. I thought I knew what dark was, nope, sure didn’t. Our tour guide turned the lights out for a few moments and allowed us to truly experience the total darkness first hand. We were told that people who have fallen into caves and even animals will go crazy and could potentially go blind being in such darkness – explains the microscopic-like, blind beetles.
Our tour was roughly about 1-hour and I was intrigued with the beauty and soaking in all the knowledge about the caverns. During WW2 tourism was put to a halt as the government wanted fuels conserved; this is the time Skyline Caverns took to building their gift shop.
Other Attractions on the Property
Later a Miniature Train and Mirror Maze was added the caverns attractions. You can also take in a nice little nature hike before or after your tour.
On the Skyline Caverns property, you can take a half-mile nature walk at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Along with your walk you can discover a natural cave and maybe even some wildlife. The short trail is open to the public and no fee is required to enjoy the short trek. If you’re looking for more hikes the Shenandoah Valley offers several within the area.
Cavern Tips + Must Know’s
- If it is raining out prepare to get a little wet. As the caverns are natural, some rainwater will drip on you and some puddles may be visible. Wear a light jacket and closed toed shoes. Rain boots may even help.
- Considering the cave can be wet at any time having sturdy, non-slip shoes are advised.
- The caverns are not wheelchair or stroller friendly.
- If you suffer from severe claustrophobia being underground may not be for you.
- The tour can take about an hour.
- If you want to buy souvenirs save it for after the tour so you don’t have to carry it around.
- Try going early and during the week for fewer crowds and even smaller tour groups.
The Skyline Caverns are a must see and much more enjoyable than the Luray Caverns in Luray, Virginia in my opinion. The Luray Caverns, while beautiful and bigger; weren’t my style. The Luray Caverns are self-guided and usually have huge crowds and not too many opportunities for great photos and enjoyment.
My husband and I did visit the Luray Caverns and were more worried about getting out than enjoying the caverns due to crowds. Something to keep in mind if you are not a fan of being around too many people.
Skyline Caverns General Info
You can discover the Skyline Caverns at 10344 Stonewall Jackson Hwy Front Royal, Virginia.
- Adults ( ages 14+ ) – $22
- Child ( ages 7-13) – $11
- Children 6 and under – FREE
Grab this coupon for savings!
Have you visited the Skyline Caverns? What did you think of them? I’d love to hear where your favorite place is that you have discovered caverns!
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