Useful Information

Location: Burggaillenreuth
Open: closed.
Fee: closed.
Classification: SpeleologyKarst cave BiologyCave Bear TopicBears' Caves
Light: bring torch
Dimension: L=969 m, A=437 m asl.
Guided tours:
Bibliography: K.G. Poll (1972): Die Zoolithenhöhle bei Burggaillenreuth und ihre Beziehung zum fränkischen Höhlen- und Kluftsystem, Erlanger Forsch. (B), 5: 63-76; Erlangen. Deutsch - German
Brigitte Hilpert (2004): Der Beginn wissenschaftlichen Arbeitens in Höhlen, Die Befahrung der Zoolithenhöhle bei Burggaillen-reuth durch Joh. Fr. Esper (1774). Natur und Mensch, Nürnberg 2004 Deutsch - German
(1972): Die Zoolithenhöhle bei Burggaillenreuth/Ofr., 200 Jahre wissenschaftliche Forschung 1771-1971, 131pp, ISBN: 3922135072 Deutsch - German
Address: Forschungsgruppe Höhle und Karst Franken e.V., Schloss Almoshof, Almoshofer Hauptstr. 51, 90427 Nürnberg, +49-911-383213 (only Wed 20-22).
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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1602 first written mention.
1774 finds of wolverine, cave bear and human bones by Rosenmüller.
1971 previously known passages rediscovered as well as previously unknown parts discovered.


The Zoolithenhöhle near Burggaillenreuth is a historical cave. This means that it was visited and explored by people hundreds of years ago, so it has its own history and has also become part of science history. Because of this importance and in order to protect it, the cave is closed today and can only be visited for scientific reasons and in consultation with the cave association in charge. But although the cave is strongly protected, it is also well published, so we decided to introduce it briefly here. Its importance for cave bear research is immense, and it is frequently mentioned in cave bear related literature.

The entrance is located at the foot of a rock face not far from Burggaillenreuth. The cave is easily recognizable, especially by its "fortifications", which resemble the former German/German border. Contrary to the rumours there are no land mines. A massive door allows easy access to a spacious hall, even if you have to bend down a bit from time to time. At the end of the hall, an iron ladder leads down a few metres into a series of smaller halls, shafts and passages. The large part of the cave is accessed by wooden walkways and iron ladders and is quite easy to navigate. Nevertheless, it is an undeveloped cave with climbing sections, narrow passages and gullies. A highlight is the Lion's Den, a high hall containing two exceptionally tall, slender stalagmites and cave bear skulls covered by flowstone.

The Zoolithenhöhle was long known as the Gaillenreuth Cave, named after nearby village. It was first mentioned in a document as early as 1602, by Magister Johannes Bonius as an annex in a city map of Bamberg.