Today we headed down off of the Blue Ridge to the town of Luray to take a tour of the Luray Caverns. We had to drive 20 miles north to get the next exit off of Skyline Drive and then drop about 2500 vertical feet to the valley below.
Let me start by saying that I think these are the best caves we have been in so far. There was not a boring spot. It is a really commercial, busy place and even though the tour led us through the cave like cattle, if you are ever near here it is a must see.
It was really hot today so waiting outside to start the tour, even in the shade, was pretty brutal.
Once we were inside we felt much better and, of course, the cave itself was nice and cool.
The tickets were $25 a person. There is just a constant flow of people. Each tour had about 50 of us and lasts just over an hour. The guide goes ahead to each talking spot, waits for everyone to catch up, gives his speech and we immediately move on. It reminded us a bit of Antelope Canyon from last summer. There was not much time for stare in awe.
Our guide also didn’t have much enthusiasm and spoke in a very bored monotone. We actually didn’t listen much. We stayed near the back to get some picture with less people in them.
You first climb down these steps into the cavern. They were the only stairs and we took them back out. The rest was just gentle ramps and walkways. At our deepest we were around 60 feet underground.
Not a lot of description is necessary so let the flood of picture begin.
It was very well lit.
Bringing up the rear.
This pool was really interesting. It was only a few inches deep but perfectly reflected the roof and completely tricked our eyes.
This giant stalactite had fallen from the roof thousands of years ago.
In this room they had the stalactite organ.
A long time ago someone had gone around with a rubber mallet to find a stalactite that resonated with each note. Then they attached bars to strike them when the note was played.
They played a song for us and it wasn’t just a recording because I could see the plungers moving.
A fried egg.
There was a pool where they encouraged you to throw money, with the proceeds going to charity.
Onwards and out. The time went by in a flash because there was so much to stare at, at every turn.
We found some picnic tables and had lunch and then quickly went through the, include with our ticket, Luray Valley Museum. We mainly went for the air conditioning.
In the gift shop you could buy a bag of dirt and then “pan” for the gemstones inside. We did not.
Then on to some shopping while we were back in civilization and then the hour drive back to the RV.
Highly recommended. We will have to see sometime how it compares to the other east coast and southern caves, like Carlsbad Caverns.