You can walk inside a mountain in Western North Carolina! No, I’m not talking about exploring a cave or going through a road tunnel. You can actually walk through a mountain! How? Visit Linville Caverns in Marion, NC.
Visiting Lineville Caverns
This experience is like nothing you have ever done before, and it is truly magical! Opened to the public in 1937, Linville Caverns are the only public access tours to caverns in North Carolina. Located in Humpback Mountain, the caverns are a wonder of nature. They developed over hundreds of years of exposure to water and carbon dioxide, which eroded the limestone within the mountain and formed the stalactite and stalagmite formations within it.
A quick geology lesson
For those that have forgotten exactly what these formations are from your high school days: According to study.com:
“Stalactites are mineral formations that resemble icicles. They grow from the ceiling of a cave. They form over time when water slowly drips from cracks in the ceiling. There are minerals dissolved in the water that build up over time as the water drips, eventually forming stalactites.
Stalagmites form and grow up from the cave floor when water drips down from the stalactites on the cave ceiling, which is why they are usually found right underneath them. The minerals in the water build up, just as they do on the stalactites, but this time, they land on the ground and grow upward.”
What to Expect
Inside the caverns, the temperature stays in the 50s year round. There is also an underground stream with native trout swimming in it and a bottomless natural pool with clear water. The huge stalactites and stalagmites are amazing, and there are more than you can imagine! Lighted walkways within the caverns make exploring easy. Parts of the walkway are even wheelchair accessible. (Please note that the entire walkway is not wheelchair accessible, though.)
Guided tours of the caverns start every 30 minutes. You do not have to make reservations for tours. Simply come to the caverns. The experienced tour guides will tell you the history and answer any questions that you have. Cameras are permitted, so be sure to bring one. There are bathrooms and a gift shop, as well.
Hours & Admission
The hours the caverns are opened to the public change with the seasons and weather conditions, so be sure to check the calendar before you visit.
2019 Linville Caverns Admission
- $9 for adults
- $8 for senior citizens
- $7 for kids 5 – 12 years old.
- Kids under 5 years old are free with an adult admission.
Linville Caverns are remarkable and something you really must encounter! There is nothing else like them in the state. You can literally walk within a mountain and see creations that have been growing for hundreds of years. Spend the day exploring one of North Carolina’s wonders!