Underground Virginia: Caves of the Shenandoah
Saturday, July 18, 2020 - 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Fairyland Lake, Skyline Caverns (Skyline Caverns)
Mysterious, awe-inspiring, and beautiful, Virginia’s caves never fail to dazzle visitors. See for yourself during a visit to realms of wonder eons in the making in the scenic Shenandoah Valley. With Gregg Clemmer, expert caver, mapper, and conservationist as your guide, explore two of the region’s great caverns, from their stone columns and draperies to jagged helectites and dog-toothed spars.
The adventure begins at Skyline Caverns, whose relatively undisturbed contents were discovered in 1937 by a retired geologist. It’s among the few places on Earth to view anthodites, delicate cave formations shaped in clusters of long, needle-like crystals, with the caverns’ Chandelier the oldest and largest known example. After a three-course lunch at the nearby historic Mimslyn Inn, spend the afternoon exploring the depths of Endless Caverns, a complex network of underground caverns featuring a spectacular display of formations presented in their natural coloring. To date, 6 miles of the caverns have been mapped, with many areas unexplored and untouched.
The tour ends with a stop at Gray Ghost Winery to relax and compare notes on the day’s unique caving experiences.
Note: Cavern temperatures average in the mid-50s. Be prepared with appropriate clothing.
Fringe stop at about 7:55 a.m.
This tour involves a significant amount of walking and standing, with walks in the caverns totaling approximately 1.5 miles. Wear sturdy walking shoes. Both locations involve stairs and are not wheelchair accessible.
Departs from the Holiday Inn Capitol at
550 C St SW (corner of 6th & C Sts)
Fringe: Vienna Metro, south side Kiss & Ride