Mindemoya Cave

Skeleton Cave

Useful Information

Location: Rock Garden Terrace Resort, Spring Bay, near Mindemoya. Manitoulin Island.
Follow Highway No 6 to Espanoli until you reach Little Current on Manitoulin Island. From Little follow Highway 540 south to West Bay. Turn left onto Highway 551 and drive for 5 minutes until you see a sign for Cross Hill on the right side of the road. Turn right and follow the Cross Hill route until you see the sign for Rock Garden Terrace Resort.
Open: All year daily.
Fee: Guests of the Resort: free.
Visitors: small fee.
Classification: SpeleologyKarst Cave
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension: L=26 m.
Guided tours: self guided, part of Fairy Tale Trail
Address: Rockgarden Terrace Resort, The Argman Family, 1358 Monument Road, R. R. #1, Spring Bay, Ontario P0P 2B0, Tel: +1-705-377-4652. E-mail: contact
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.


1888 discovered by three Mennonite preachers while out hunting.
1986 restored by the Argmann Family.


Rockgarden Terrace Resort is a hotel, located on top of an 25 m high limestone cliff facing Lake Mindemoya. Mindemoya comes from the Ojibwe word mindimooyenh, which means old woman. This small lake is located on Manitoulin Island, the world's largest freshwater lake island. Manitoulin Island is located at the northern shores of Lake Huron, one of the Great Lakes, and separates the larger part of the lake to its south and west from Georgian Bay to its east. The island consists mainly of dolomite, but because of the mostly low relief karstification is rather low.

The whole landscape of the Great Lakes area is a result of the Ice Age. Glaciers covered the area and leveled it, the landscape is covered by the moraines until today, and erratic rocks are found all over. The melting water of the glaciers resulted in erosion, and often in the formation of underground rivers, boosting the formation of caves. After the glaciers were gone about 10,000 years ago, there is no more melting water and cave formation has come to an end.

Mindemoya Cave, named after the homonymous lake, was discovered in 1888 by three Mennonite preachers while out hunting. They discovered a number of skeletons in the cave which explains the other name of the cave, Skeleton Cave. Without any archaeological excavation they believed them to belong to the Ottawa Indian Tribe. There is a story that they had hidden there from the Iroquois who were attacking the Island. However, there is no archaeological evidence, even the whereabout of the skeletons is unknown.

During the 1930s John Miller from Missouri came here and created a rock garden on top of the limestone cliff. He was a lover of horticulture and created what soon became the World's Largest Rockgarden and a first class tourist attraction during the early 1940s. But after his dead in 1945 nobody was willing to continue his work and soon the garden was starting to decompose.

In 1974 the Argmann Family purchased the property, including the rockgarden and the cave. They built a resort complex on top of the cliff, right behind the garden, it is named after. In 1986 the cave was restored to show its natural beauty to the guests of the resort. It is part of a Fairy Tale Trail, which also includes the homes of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, the Three Little Pigs and the Big Bad Wolf, and Hansel and Gretel.