Maribel New Hope Cave

Useful Information

Location: Cherney Maribel Caves County Park, near Maribel, County Highway R, Manitowoc county.
Open: Cherney Maribel Caves Park: APR to OCT daily 6-20.
Maribel New Hope Cave: MAY to SEP 3rd sunday of the month 10-15.
OCT 2nd Sunday of the month 10-15.
Groups (10+): after appointment.
Fee: free, donation welcome.
Classification: ExplainKarst cave. ExplainRiver cave Niagara Dolomite Bedrock
Light: bring torch
Dimension: L=200m, VR=18m, A=200m a.s.l., T=8°C.
Guided tours: L=166m, VR=18m, ST=2, D=25min.
Address: Cherney Maribel Caves County Park, Chuck Behnke, Manitowoc County, 3500 STH 310, Manitowoc, WI 54220, Tel: +1-920-683-4189. E-mail: contact
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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05-FEB-1984 discovered by members of the Wisconsin Speleological Society.
31-OCT-1990 cavers break through into the first official cave room.


The Maribel New Hope Cave is one of several caves in the small caves reserve Cherney Maribel Caves County Park. It is open as a semi-wild show cave on certain Sundays during summer. The cave was discovered by the Wisconsin Speleological Society in 1984. Ongoing exploration intermingled with digs continually increases the size of the cave.

The caves at Maribel have formed as river caves in the Niagara Dolomite, draining towards nearby West Twin River. They are very young and unfortunately dolomite is not as good for karstification as limestone. The consequences are numerous rather small caves. And finally the last Ice Age transported a lot of debris, gravel and sand, into this area and much of the caves was filled with those glacial sediments. Thats the reason why so much digging is necessary to reconnect the different branches of the caves.

Maribel New Hope Cave was discovered because it was one of the coldest winter days in winter 1984 and steam was coming out of a pile of rocks. Because of the weather the cave air with its high humidity became visible. The cave entrance was closed by a huge pile of debris or talus from the cliff face of the 20m high escarpment. Initial digs revealed a small opening about the size of a small apple where the steam had been coming out of. This discouraged many volunteers, and so the digging went on only on a low scale until 1990. On Haloween the first breakthrough into the cave gave the entrance hall its name: Halloween Room.

Beneath Maribel New Hope Cave there are several other small caves. Most of them are closed, but Pancake Cave and Coopers Cave are open to the public during park hours. They are wild caves and you need a little enthusiasm and gear, but they are not difficult.