Bear Cave

Useful Information

Location: 5 km north of Buchanan on Red Bud Trail. St Joseph Valley Parkway, Snow Rd exit, turn west, then south onto Red Bud Trail.
Open: MAY to OCT.
Fee: .
Classification: SpeleologyTufa cave, Speleologyprimary cave
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Guided tours:
Address: Bear Cave, Bear Cave Resort, 4085 Bear Cave Road, Buchanan MI 49107, Tel: +1-269-695-3050, Fax: +1-269-695-2442. Reservations: +1-888-643-6569
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.


1875 prey from an Ohio bank robbery was hidden in the cave.
1903 featured in the movie The Great Train Robbery.


Bear Cave has a common name, there are probably hundreds of Bear Caves all over the world, but the cave itself is rather exceptional. It is the only show cave in Michigan. This is, because it is one of very few caves existing in this area. The geology of Michigan is not suitable for the development of karst, there are rather few karst caves. The Bear Cave not a karst cave, but a Speleologytufa cave, a primary cave which was formed together with the surrounding rock.

The geology of this part of the United States is not very suitable for the development of caves. During the Ice Ages the area was covered with ice, and so the forming of caves was not possible. Probably existing caves were destroyed by the ice.

But the limestone is there and for about 10,000 years the ice is gone. The water started to dissolve limestone and to form tufa at every spring. And this growing tufa always leaves spaces, grows irregular and sometime encloses the gaps to form caves. One of them is Bear Cave.

The cave is entered through the gift shop building and left through a second entrance. A waterfall close to the exit is probably the reason for the existence of the cave and already working on the next one.