|Image: Lithograph "The Drums. The Tapestry Room. Weyer's Cave." from Beyer (1858): Album of Virginia: Illustrations of the Old Dominion.|
I-81 exit 235, Weyer's Cave, onto Rt 256 to the town of Grottoes. Signposted.
All year daily 9-17.
Adults USD 18, Children (6-12) USD 11, Children (0-5) free, Seniors USD 16.
AAA: Adults USD 15.50, Children (6-12) USD 9.
Public Servants: Adults USD 15.50, Children (6-12) USD 9.
Public Servants are military, police, fire, and rescue personnel with proper id.
Grottoes Residents: Adults USD 11, Children (6-12) USD 8.
Groups (12+): Adults USD 13, Children (6-12) USD 8.
|Guided tours:||L=1,600m, D=70min.|
|Address:||Grand Caverns, PO Box 478, 5 Grand Caverns Drive, Grottoes, VA 24441, Tel: +1-540-249-5705, Free: +1-888-430-CAVE. E-mail:|
|As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.
|Image: The Cataract. From David Strother (1857): The Adventures of Porte Crayon and his Cousins.|
|1804||discovered by 18-year-old Bernard Weyer, a young trapper, looking for his missing trap.|
|1806||opened to the public, first show cave of the United States, named Weyers Cave.|
|26-SEP-1864||visited by W. W. Miles.|
|1889||electric light installed.|
|Image: Solomon's Temple. From David Strother (1857): The Adventures of Porte Crayon and his Cousins.|
Grand Caverns is the oldest show cave in the USA. It is open for the public continually for nearly 200 years. At first it was called Weyer's Cave, after an early owner of the cave, later it was renamed Grand Cavern. The cave is famous for its numerous formations. Most unususal are the rare shields, which are shaped like disks. Grand has an abundance of 250 shields. Cathedral Hall is 85m long and 21m high, the biggest chamber in this cave and one of the largest rooms of any cavern in the East.
The caves of the Shenandoah Valley were formed in mostly horizontal limestone layers. This cave is extraordinary, as the limestone is folded at this place. At the place of the cave, the layers are vertical not horizontal, turned on-end by tectonic forces. The result are rather uncommon profiles of the passages.
Around Grand Cavern several smaller caves are also open to the public. They can be visited by groups after appointment.
An early description of the cave written by David Hunter Strother in his story The Adventures of Porte Crayon and his Cousins. Porte Crayon is actually his pen name, derived from the french porte-crayon or pencil. This story is actually a sort of autbiographic travel diary from the pre-war Virginia. It is also full of nice drawings (hence his en name). This story was published in 1857 in Virginia illustrated. To read the full story follow the link below.
During the Civil War the cave was visited by both Confederate and Union soldiers. As common in this times, the visitors left their names on the walls of the cave. More than 230 signatures on the walls could be identified being from civil war soldiers.
A funny story is told about the famous Confederate General, Stonewall Jackson. He once camped nearby and allowed his men to visit the cave. But when asked, if he was going to enter the cave, he answered "No, I think not. I fear I shall be underground soon enough, and I have no desire to speed the process!"