|Location:||From Baar about 3km walk, by car or by bus (Zug-Menzingen, bus stop Tobelbrücke) 20 min walk. Signposted with brown signs from Baar.|
|Open:||APR to OCT daily Mon-Sat 9-12, 13-17:30, Sun 9-17:30. |
Adults CHF 9,-, Children (6-16) CHF 4.50, Students CHF 8, Teachers CHF 8, Apprentices CHF 8, Soldiers CHF 8.
Groups (10+): Adults CHF 8, Children (6-16) CHF 4, Students CHF 7.50, Teachers CHF 7.50, Apprentices CHF 7.50, Soldiers CHF 7.50.
Groups (50+): Adults CHF 7.50, Children (6-16) CHF 3.75.
|Classification:||Tufa cave, Primary cave|
Gerog Wyssling, Phaffhausen Eikenberg, Jost Eikenberg ():
Entstehungsgeschichte und Altersbestimmungen an Quelltuffen,
20pp, DIN-A4, CHF 4, available at the cave.
|Address:||Höllgrotten Baar, Leihgasse 2, CH-6340 Baar, Tel: +41-41-7618370 or +41-41-7611568, Fax +41-41-7603620. Restaurant, Tel: +41-41-7616605. E-mail:|
|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.
|1863||first cavern called Dom (dome) discovered.|
|1892||Bärenhöhle (Bear's Cave) discovered.|
|1902||Zauberschloß (Sorcerers Castle) discobvered.|
|2012||LED light system installed.|
The caves are inside a huge deposit of tufa or travertine. This are primary caves, as they have the same age as the tufa. When the tufa formed, large caverns were spared.
The travertine was quarried for some time, but when the railroad Zürich-Affaltern-Zus was built in the middle of the 19th century, the quarrying was intensified. Subsequently various small caves were discovered. The biggest discoveries were the Dom (dome) in 1863, the Bärenhöhle (Bear's Cave) in 1892, and the Zauberschloß (Sorcerers Castle) in 1902. The owner of the quarry, J. L. Schmid-Arnold, was aware of the uniqueness of this caves and opened them for the public. The caves were connected by artificial tunnels, the path designed as a round trip, and the cave was equipped with electric light.
The cave is a result of the last ice age. The area to the north of the Alps was covered by glaciers. At the end of the last ice age, the glaciers melted and huge layers of debris were deposited. Here, in front of the northern limestone Alps, the gravel was mostly limestone. Because of the abundand cracks and fissures the ground moraine, the rain water immediately drained away. The huge surface of the gravel is an optimal condition for the limestone solution. However, the water was not able to cross the layers of the Molasse below the moraine, which are solid and impermeable. It was flowing underground, at the bottom of the gravel to the Lorenztal (Lorenz valley). Here the limestone rich water reappeared in various springs and was falling down the valley walls, depositing the dissolved limestone.
The cave is locted at the end of a narrow road along the small river. The ticket office is a small hut, selling postcards and beverages. Right across the hut at the foot of the tufa cliff is the iron door into the cave. The tour path winds through nnarrow and sometimes low passages, which conect various rooms. The cave is richely deocrated with various kinds of speleothems. Beneath stalactites and stalagmites, the most abundant speleothems are bulbos calcites, the size of peaches or grapes. There are cave corals and rounded, bulbous rims all along the cave. Typical are chambers which are covered by bulbous calcite at the floor and up the wall to the watermark. The upper part of the chambers is travertine, often with fine and fragile structures, covered by various stalactites. There are only a few stalagmites which are covered by cave coral.
The first passage goes down a little, until a branch off leads to a small cave lake at the deepest point of the cave. A bulbous calcite in the lake, called the beehive, was relocated to this place. This passage has almost no speleothems. But the room above is decorated abundantly. Another chamber, called the dome has various extraordinary formations. A hole at the ceiling, now closed by a wall, was the original entrance. The cave leads continually upwards, until finally an iron door marks the end of the cave. A turnstile allows to leave the cave now, for the second part is much more strenuous.
The path leads uphill in serpentines, until finally another cave is reached. The iron door opens into a spacious artificial tunnel, which leads up a staircase. The long tunnel finally turnsright and the first natural caves appear. Still connected by artificial tunnels, various small caves, every one filled with an abundance of speleothems is visited. Then the chambers become bigger and bigger. Long and thin stalactites, five or six meters long, but only 15cm in diametre, end only half a metre above the floor. The tip is often covered by bulbous calcites and thus thicker than the stalactite above.
One chamber, caller root chamber,shows strange tree roots. The surface is only two meters above, and so roof of acorn trees eter the caves for water. The main roots are covered by calcite, but they continuallly grow thin roots to get more water. Some of the roots, completely covered by calcite, look like strange stalactites.
The cave again ascends conntiinualy from chamber to chamber. Finally at the end, the visitor leaves the cave cave high above the entrance. Another turnstile at the exit leads onto a paved path and after numerous u turns the visitor arrives back at the tickeet office. The cave is visited self guided. This is very good, as it allows to look as long as you want. And there are many fine speleothems to discover. Visitor which are not fit enough, or want to avoid too much sports, may leave after the lower cave, a short visit takes only 20 minutes. The second part takes much longer, especially the ascent takes its time. And it requires some fitness. However, this second cave is even more interesting and worth the affort.
In 2012 the cave light was replaced by a modern light based on LED technology. The light was planned and supervised by the famous designers Roland Eberle and Daniel Christen, the lamps were istalled by Germtec. The result is not only a more dramatic illumination, there is now also a light and music show in the cave.
Hell Grottoes is the name given to a group of very interesting limestone caverns near Baar, on the bank of the River Lorze about 20km NNW of Schwyz. The caves are located in the middle of the wild romantic Lorzentobel and they are covered with unusual stone formations. Small lakes, stalagmites and stalactites of various colours give each chamber it own unique character. The Hell Grottoes in Baar were formed over the course of thousands of years from calcareous springs, and were discovered at the end of the 19th century during the removal of tufaceaous limestone. Today this underground magical realm is lit by electricity and the separate chambers are connected by good footpaths. A typical visit to the caves lasts about ¾ hour, extends for 300 m and a guide is not necessary. The Hell Grottoes are 2.5km from Baar and can be reached via a good road by either bicycle or car. Walkers can reach the caves from the railway station Baar in about 1 hour or from the bus stop at Lorzentobel Bridge (on the Zug - Menzingen road) in about 25 minutes. In addition, there is an idyllic garden restaurant to help extend your visit (closed Mondays)
Text by Tony Oldham (JUN-2001). With kind permission.