Some of the other cavern tours are highly commercial, and this can distract from the beauty of nature's handiwork. Skyline Caverns is not structured this way at all, the grounds are rather low key and beautiful. I found it pretty fascinating to see all the stalactites, stalagmites and the rare anthodites, the latter of which are only visible in a handful of publicly shown caverns in the world.
|Can you tell which are the stalagmites and the stalactites? This is actually a reflection of stalactites in low level water.|
History of Skyline Caverns
While the real history of Skyline dates back thousands, more likely even hundreds of thousands of years, the modern history of Skyline Caverns begins in 1937 when Walter Amos discovered this treasure. Amos was examining the earth's surface and discovered what looked like a sinkhole. Knowing that sinkholes are created when a cavern collapses, he began to search for openings to caves.
|Looking up at the cavern ceiling, a fault line is visible|
Tour of the Caverns
Skyline's tours are interesting and guides create a good time for visitors. The caverns themselves are pretty amazing. As you tour Skyline Caverns you get to see close up the talents Mother Nature possesses. While these caverns aren't as large as some other formations located across the United States, and even in Virginia, they are no less remarkable.
|Formations inside Skyline Caverns|
|Up close view of stalactites|
Skyline is one of the few places on Earth where you can view anthodites. To say they are astonishing is an understatement. Viewing these up close is a memorable experience, especially knowing it's such a rare thing to see. The anthodites are protected by Virginia State Law and are highly regulated; a tour guide is always present and must open the special chamber that contains them to allow visitors to view these formations.
|A close up view of the different stages of the rare anthodites|
As you pass through the chambers, it is evident the caverns have not been altered much by humans, but for the most part, left in its natural state. The walkways are not paved and pretty much lighting and hand rails are the only additions. Strollers and wheelchairs can be accommodated, but there are some stairs entering and exiting the caverns where they would have to be carried.
While the cavern tour is great, Skyline Caverns offers two other activities for the kids on their property, the Enchanted Dragon Mirror Maze and Skyline Arrow Miniature Train Ride; the train ride is seasonal.
|Skyline Arrow Miniature Train Ride|
The staff members at the ticket sales and gift shop are friendly and knowledgeable. While some items are expensive, the gift shop isn't grossly overpriced like you may find with other similar commercial establishments.
It's a great trip whether you're a local or if you're visiting Northern Virginia for vacation. I've taken this tour a number of times over the years and many of our friends and family really have enjoyed this tour when they visit.
Skyline Caverns is located in Front Royal, about 90 minutes west of Washington, D.C. via I-66. For information about tour times, admission and other relevant information, you can visit Skyline's website.