Crystal Grottoes Caverns


Useful Information

Location: 2km outside Boonsboro, Maryland, on State Route 34 in Washington County. 10km from Antietam Battlefield and 30km from Harper's Ferry.
Open: APR to OCT daily 9-18.
NOV to MAR Sat, Sun 11-16.
[2010]
Fee: Adults USD 10.
[2010]
Classification:  Karst cave Tomstown Dolomite
Light: electric
Dimension: L=1,000m, T=12°C.
Guided tours: D=40min., L=300m, V=7,000/a.
Photography:  
Accessibility:  
Bibliography:  
Address: Crystal Grottoes Caverns, 19821 Shepherdstown Pike, Boonsboro, MD 21713, Tel: +1-301-432-6336, Fax: +1-301-432-6336.
Last update:$Date: 2013/04/25 23:05:30 $

History

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

Description

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 2m wide and 15 to 20m high. This main passage is almost level and of unsurpassed beauty, continually lined by speleothems. Stalactites, stalagmites, pilars 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 10m wide, 6m 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.


See also


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