Crystal Cave

Useful Information

Location: 1.5 km west of Spring Valley on Hwy 29, exit 19 or 28 south from I-94.
From Eau Claire, go west on I-94 to Exit 28, turn south on Hwy 128 and follow the signs to Spring Valley.
From Hudson, go east on I-94 to Exit 19, turn south on Hwy 63 and go 10 km. Follow the signs to Spring Valley.
Open: APR to Memorial Weekend Sat, Sun 10-16:30.
Memorial Day to Labor Day daily 9:30-17:30.
Labor Day to OCT daily 10-16:30.
Tours frequent, last tour 15 min before closing.
Fee: Adults USD 9, Children (13-17) USD 7, Children (4-12) USD 5, Children (0-3) free, Seniors (with AARP card) USD 8.
Groups (15+) [2006]
Classification: SpeleologyKarst Cave Prairie du Chien Dolomite, 450 Ma, Ordovician, three story cave system.
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension: L=632 m.
Guided tours: D=60 min, L=335 m.
Address: Crystal Cave, Blaze and Jean Cunningham, W965 State Road 29, Spring Valley, WI 54767, Tel. +1-715-778-4414 or +1-800-236-2283. 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.


1881 discovered by 16 year old local farmboy, William R. Vanasse.
1941 Henry A. Friede, and his wife Mary, purchased the property surrounding the cave entrance and started development.
1942 opened to the public.
1944 construction of the entrance building was completed.
1986 purchased by the geologists Blaze and Jean Cunningham.
1991 a new part of the cave was discovered making Crystal Cave the longest cave in Wisconsin.
2011 purchsed by Eric and Kristen McMaster of Minneapolis.


The sixteen-year-old William R. Vanasse discovered a small leaf-filled sink while he was walking through the woods just a half mile from his home. He probed and pushed with a stick which accidentally slipped from his grasp, disappearing into the ground.

The initial exploration of the cave took place the next day when William and his younger brother, George, descended into the dark vertical entrance. They entered a clay and debris filled dome from which they then dropped down to what is now the main room of the cave's second level. In other directions, the boys saw only shallow entrances to clay-filled galleries on the upper level. The existence of other levels and galleries was not suspected.

The hole in the ground was bought by Eau Claire advertising professional and amateur geologist, Henry Friede. He renamed the cave, then called Sanders Corner Cave, into Crystal Cave and developed it as a show cave.