Crystal Caverns at Hupp's Hill

Battlefield Crystal Caverns

Useful Information

Location: Strasburg, Virginia.
I 81 exit 298, 2 km south on Rt 11, the historical Valley Pike.
Open: Closed.
Fee: Closed.
Classification: SpeleologyKarst cave. Ordovician limestone, Edinburg (Chambersburg) Formation.
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension: T=12 °C
Guided tours: L=400 m.
Address: Crystal Caverns at Hupp's Hill, 33231 Old Valley Pike, Strasburg, Virginia 22657, Tel: +1-540-465-5884, Fax: +1-540-465-8157, Email: contact
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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First human visitors were the Native American tribes, whose hunting parties frequented the northern Shenandoah Valley region.
~1755 the Hupps, "Dutch" (German) emigrants settled just north of what is now Strasburg, VA. They soon discovered the cave.
1825 mentioned by Samuel Kercheval in his History of the Valley of Virginia as "cavern, rumored to be extensive...with much in the way of stalatictic matter".
1861-1865 Hupp's Hill was in the center of several of the great battles of the American Civil War including Fischer's Hill and Cedar Creek (Fall 1864).
1919 the caverns were acquired by Bruce Hupp of Strasburg, paths were built, electrical lights installed.
30-MAY-1922 opened for the public.
1998 on Memorial Day weekend reopened with a newly designed lighting system.
2010 cave closed.


As this cave is known for a very long time, it was always used by man. First, the hunting parties of Native Americans used it as shelter. The Hupps took advantage of the cavern's constant 12 °C to store food. Tales have been recounted that the caverns were the refuge of escaped slaves, making their way to freedom through the Underground Railroad. Actually, the Underground Railroad is neither a railroad nor underground in the speleological sense, except probably the Crystal Cave part of it.

During the American Civil War deserters from both sides of the conflict hid in the cave. It also may have been used as an ammunition dump and bomb-proof. Two important battles, the Battle of Cedar Creek and the Battle of Fisher's Hill during Sheridan's Valley Campaign, took place right outside the cave. There was also a Civil War Prison Camp on site. Because of this the Stonewall Jackson Museum at the cave interprets Stonewall Jackson's 1862 Valley Campaign and Sheridan's Valley Campaign of 1864, named after Union General Philip Sheridan who led it.

The Ordovician limestone of the cave contains very few other minerals, so the formations in this cave are very white. They shimmer like crystals, which led to the name. Very famous are the microgours, tiny rimstone pools covered with calcite crystals. The typical speleogenesis of the Ordovician limestone produced high and narrow fissures, with heavily decorated shafts and domepits at the intersections of the fissure passages.