Through the peaks and valleys that are the Blue Ridge Mountains, there are secrets that lie underground just waiting to be discovered. Deep under Humpback Mountain sits the famous Linville Caverns, North Carolina’s only caverns that are open to the public. Since 1937, Linville Caverns has been giving visitors a glimpse of the underground world that is magical and unseen to most people. As you venture through 600 feet of the cave, visitors experience the cross over between science, beauty, nature, and millions of years of underground geological activity.
With stalactites and stalagmites in the shape of various objects, visitors get a once in a lifetime guided tour of these limestone formations that have been formed over the course of millions of years. Every visit to Linville Caverns will be filled with fun and learning as you explore the history of the caverns and the area from experienced tour guides who know these caverns and mountains like the back of their hand. Hear stories of the boys who were some of the first to stumble upon the cave and their survival story of how they found their way out in total darkness.
Linville Caverns is the perfect adventure for those seeking a bit of history, science and lots of fun! The guided tours take visitors throughout the first 600 feet of the caverns, showing them the limestone formations, the freshwater stream running through the caverns, and the animals that inhabit the caverns. Visitors will get to see various species of animals including rainbow and brook that swim in the underground streams, not to mention hundreds of bats that hibernate in the caves and caverns.
Linville Caverns is also home to a small bridge that stands over a large clear-blue pool of water that has been measured at over 250 feet deep inside the caverns. Linville Caverns is one of the few places in the world where visitors can experience the feeling of total darkness. One portion of the guided tour includes the tour guide turning out all the lights in the cave and allowing visitors to understand what true darkness really is.
Linville Caverns hosts over 100,000 visitors per year who want to explore the caves. These caverns have ties that date back to the 1800’s, where a sand bar inside Linville Caverns was used as a refuge for civil war fighters. According to HighCountryNC.com, both Union and Confederate soldiers used this very small sandbar to build a fire to cook, for warmth, and to escape the horrors of the war. Another piece of history that is rooted in Linville Caverns is the signature of William Hidden, an explorer sent by Thomas Edison, carved in a rock in the caverns as he was sent to collect materials for what would soon be the first light bulb. The rich history of these caverns is enough to peak the curiosity of any visitor, young or old!
A visit to Linville Caverns is a perfect adventure for families of all ages and capabilities. The paved pathway is wheelchair accessible and is easily accessible. Tours are also available for large groups. The caverns are open year-round, with days and hours of operation varying based on month. With a cool temperature of 52 degrees Fahrenheit year-round, Linville Caverns is the perfect spot to spend a hot summer day in the mountains.
So what are you waiting for, plan your visit to Mitchell County and the underground wonderland that is Linville Caverns! This once in a lifetime experience to walk through North Carolina’s only publicly viewed cavern will leave your family with a fresh perspective on the mountains that we call home here in Mitchell County.