Crystal Grottoes Caverns

Useful Information

Location: 2 km outside Boonsboro, Maryland, on State Route 34 in Washington County. 10 km from Antietam Battlefield and 30 km from Harper's Ferry.
Open: APR to OCT daily 9-18.
NOV to MAR Sat, Sun 11-16.
Fee: Adults USD 10.
Classification: SpeleologyKarst cave Tomstown Dolomite
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension: L=1,000 m, T=12 °C.
Guided tours: D=40 min., L=300 m, V=7,000/a.
Address: Crystal Grottoes Caverns, 19821 Shepherdstown Pike, Boonsboro, MD 21713, Tel: +1-301-432-6336, Fax: +1-301-432-6336.
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.


1920 discovered as a result of quarry operations for road material.
1922 opened to the public.
1935 first wedding in The Chapel.
1942 stone entrance building built.
1966 purchased by Mr. Downs.
1968 cave surveyed.
1976 owned by Jerry Downs, the grandson.


Crystal Grottoes is entered through a stone entrance building in a former limestone quarry. The cave was discovered during quarry works for the construction of a road. The location of the cave was left out in the continuing quarry works, and as soon as the road was built it was developed and opened as a show cave. Crystal Grottoes is the only commercial cave in Maryland and is also one of the largest caves in the state.

The tour starts with a stair going down three meters into the entrance room. It was originally full of speleothems, but they were mostly destroyed by quarrying operations and clearing of passages. After a narrow passage the path goes down two more meters to the niveau of the main cave passage. Now follows a fissure-like passage, between 1.50 and 2 m wide and 15 to 20 m high. This main passage is almost level and of unsurpassed beauty, continually lined by speleothems. Stalactites, stalagmites, pillars and curtains, almost white or with some fawn tints, predominate. Extraordinary are the light blue speleothems of Fairyland, probably coloured by copper oxides.

The largest room is called Blanket Room, about 10 m wide, 6 m high, and full of curtains, which are called bacon rinds or blankets here. The Golden Lake is a small pool fed by dripping water and marks the end of the speleothem rich passage. The cave is left through a passage with rather sparse formations.