Wow is a good word that comes to mind when you visit Luray Caverns in Luray, Virginia. Millions of years in the making the caverns are full of astounding geologic formations to see.
Some of the cave ceilings are over 10 stories tall. The formations are in various colors caused by the minerals, iron and clay soil they are formed from. On the tour, you will wind your way through a number of distinct “rooms” each with unique things to see.
One of our favorites was “dream lake.” This absolutely still pool creates a perfect reflection of the stalactites hovering just above it. It creates a truly mind-bending experience.
The walk is over a mile long, but you make many stops along the way. The path is well lighted, wide and easy to traverse. At the end is a set of somewhat challenging stairs to return you back above ground, just take it slow if it becomes difficult. They are working on creating a new exit to avoid the stairs but it will be another year before it is completed.
The caverns are open daily, with slight variances depending on the time of year. Tours generally leave every 20 minutes. The tour lasts well over an hour, sometimes closer to one and a half depending on the guide and the group you are in.
Included in the price of the tour of the caverns are the Car & Carriage Caravan exhibit, Luray Valley Museum and Toy Town Junction.
Luray History and Things of Interest
Luray Caverns are the largest caverns in the Eastern USA and are a national landmark. They were discovered in 1878. Inside the cavern, the temperature remains at a steady cool 54°F.
If you want to impress your tour guide remember that Stalactite formations grow from the top (ceiling) down and Stalagmites form and grow up from the floor. When a Stalactite and a Stalagmite meet they become a column.
A very unique feature of this cavern is its Stalacpipe Organ. It is the world’s largest musical instrument. It uses the Stalactites (remember the ones that start at the ceiling and hang down) as the musical resonators of the organ. You will have a chance to hear the organ play during the tour.
If you would like to take a glance at the cavern, before your visit, you will find online a 360° tour and descriptions of some of the rooms. Take a look here.
Other Things to Do
In addition to the cavern, there is a Garden Maze and the Ropes Adventure Park with separate admission fees. The garden maze is the largest hedge maze in the Mid-Atlantic area. The rope park has two levels – lower, for younger and beginners; upper level for a bit more of a challenge. You can choose how far you would like to push yourself.
You can make a whole day or more visiting the area. There is much to see and do. The caverns are stunningly beautiful.
Luray Caverns $28
Child Admission 6 – 12 $15
101 Cave Hill Road
Luray, VA 22835
Parking is free with a large lot near the entrance.
The state of Virginia boasts eight caverns to visit, with Luray being number one. Number two which is more disability friendly is
If walking stairs is an issue, you may want to visit the Shenandoah Caverns close by, actually closer to the main highway I-81. They provide an elevator service that will take you down to 17 underground rooms. The cavern is also quite impressive.
To learn more about the other caverns in Virginia take a look at their website – here.