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Going Caving in Virginia

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The Masonic Hall at Fountain Cave in Grottoes, Va. Photo by Thomas Carpenter

Fountain Cave

Where: Grottoes, Va., in Augusta and Rockingham counties, adjacent to the more accessible Grand Caverns
How to access: While this cave once had walkways, it is now a wild cave ideal for a more adventurous caving experience. Cavers must be 12 years or older, and the tour lasts roughly two hours. The cave is open year-round. Reservations are recommended. Prices, including discounts and group rates, are offered on the website.
Difficulty: Visitors have the option to make the tour more physically strenuous by selecting different routes.
Fun fact: No one knows the true reason that Fountain Cave was closed to the public more than a century ago. After access was restricted for more than 100 years, visitors can now once again enter and go spelunking. The only remaining evidence of the cave’s time as a show cave are signatures from 19th century visitors and the rugged remnants of a walkway.
Contact info: Call (888) 430-CAVE (2283) or visit

Dixie Caverns

Where: Salem, Va., in Roanoke County
How to access: Dixie Caverns offers daily guided tours. Children under the age of 5 can access the cave for free. Other amenities include a campground and rock store.
Difficulty: While all caving can be physically strenuous, this location offers tours that are well-suited for young kids and beginners.
Fun fact: Dixie Caverns has been open to the public since 1923. It is known for its magnificent rooms with fun names, such as Fairyland, Wedding Bells and Carrot Patch. The first room is reached by climbing 48 steps called Jacob’s Ladder.
Contact info: Call 540-380-2085, or visit

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