…A lazy stroll or adventurous crawl will amaze
Feeling a little adventurous one day or weekend? Have you ever considered descending into one of the oldest caves to get a glimpse of just how life as we know it was formed?
Then taking a short 25 mile drive to Marengo Cave will fuel your sense of wonder, amazement and adventure. Keep it simple with an easy stroll along a 40 minute walking tour or crawl and slither your way through small caverns on your belly only find a hidden waterfall.
If you have never been cave exploring it is truly a unique, memorizing, tantalizing yet calming experiences. Marengo Cave provides that right in your backyard.
The cave began to form nearly one million years ago, yet it’s believed to lie undiscovered until September 6, 1883 when brother and sister Orris and Blanche Hiestand stepped foot inside for the first time.
With candles in hand they climbed into the sinkhole only to find passages, waterfalls, and nocturne creatures. They waded through cold slimy mud and unearthed these formations that sparkled only by their candlelight.
Since then only three families have owned the land the cave sits on and they continue to discover new passages that shape our geological makeup.
Marengo Cave is the most visited show cave in Indiana with the above ground park comprised of 122 acres of woodlands, hills and valleys. Venture below into over five miles of caves featuring an upper drier passageways while just below are two parallel underground rivers.
Think spelunking in not for you then think again and can be enjoyed by the whole family.
Marengo Cave offers a variety of options.
The Dripstone Trail – This one mile trek takes about 60 minutes to complete and is designed for adults and kids alike with well-lit walking paths showcasing soda straw and totem pole like stalagmites. If you want to add your mark one area known as the Penny Ceiling has thousands of the copper coins adorning the ceiling and you can add one as well. Midway through they will briefly turn off the lights to let you experience true total darkness.
Crystal Place – You’ll understand why this area got its name as you walk the 40 minute tour. It has rooms filled with lots of formations (you aren’t allowed to touch so that the deposits keep forming). Just as Orris and Blanche first saw the caverns you can relive what it looks like by candlelight during a brief historic presentation.
Waterfall Crawl – If you’re feeling more adventurous this is the excursion as you can “get muddy with a buddy.” You enter through the Red Room ladder entrance not discovered until 1992. You descend into and explore the “Valley of the Lost Souls” all the while crawling, squeezing, and contorting your body to maneuver through ever forming passageways.
But what awaits are creatures not seen above ground. Look close they may be hard to see except with your headlamp. Then you empty into Stewart Spring followed by the Waterfall. See Stewart Hall, a massive 350 foot wide and 250 foot long room with a 60 foot high ceiling.
When you finally exit from the aptly named “Pig Pen” you will be covered in the wet, muddy slimy clay and will have a better appreciation for what the siblings first unearthed. This tour takes over two hours including the cleanup at the end.
Canoeing – Ok so after the underground exploration try paddling a canoe trip along the Blue River. All skill levels are welcome and they design trips for you from a half day to full day. Bring a waterproof camera and to snap a photo of ducks, blue herons, turtles and others.
Kids love it – Your kids can mine for gemstones, minerals and just sift through dirt like the miners once did. Best of all they can take them home with them.
Lodging – After an exhausting day camp outside or stay in a cabin complete with heat, air conditioning, campfire pit, electricity, bunk beds and mini-refrigerator. Bring your pillow and sleeping bag. Its rustic but very functional.
Park hours change between Memorial Day and Labor Day. 888.702.2837 www.marengocave.com