Nature July 26, 2018
The Underrated Natural Wonder Every West Virginian Should See At Least Once
Some of West Virginia’s greatest natural wonders are not above ground, but below. Lost World Caverns is one such wonder that has to be seen to be appreciated.
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Lost World Cabins, located in Lewisburg, is one of the most stunning natural wonders in the state.
The ancient cave was discovered on July 11, 1942 when J.L. Wingfield, John Suter, George Mann and Leroy Frazier heard that Col. H.P. Moore had a mysterious hole on his property.
The four men visited the Colonel's farm to investigate. They found a large grapevine leading into a large hole. Wingfield was the first to go down the grapevine and descended 120 feet to the floor of the huge cavern. From that point forward, it was known as Grapevine Cavern.
In the 1960s, a survey team descended the cavern and began to map its passages.
They discovered over a mile of interconnected passages filled with stalactites, stalagmites, waterfalls, domepits, rimstone and flowstone that reached depths of 245 feet below ground.
In 1967, the remains of a prehistoric cave bear, called Arctodus pristinus, were discovered in the cave.
In the 1970s, in order to open the cave to tourists, a new entrance was dug out that allowed for easy passage to the cavern below. This was followed by the construction of lighted pathways to facilitate safe passage through the cave.
This renovation also included the addition of a gift shop and visitors center.
Today, the cave is open to tours, the most common of which is an hour long and leads visitors through the cave and many of its most popular formations. A series of walkways and steps guide you along the caves winding paths.
Along the way, you will discover formations such as the Smurf Village (pictured below); the Bridal Veil, a column of sparkling white calcite; The Snowy Chandelier, a stalactite weighing 30 tons; and the War Club, a 28-foot stalagmite.
If you're in the mood for a more adventurous tour of the cave, you can take the 4 to 5-hour Wild Cave Tour, which does not follow the normal tour path, but instead takes you in the deeper, darker parts of the cave. You will crawl through narrow passages, such as the The Birth Canal, The Squeeze Box and The Drain. You will crawl through the dirt and mud to discover those parts of the cave that are essentially hidden on the walking tour.
Whichever tour you choose to take, it is important to remember to wear shoes with good traction and to prepare for an average temperature of 52 degrees, regardless of the outside temperature.
Aside from the cave tour, be sure not to skip a visit to the Lost World Caverns Visitor Center and Natural History Museum.
The gift shop is 3,000 square feet of geological items, such as gemstones, geodes, fossils and minerals. The neighboring museum has the largest collection of fossil replicas and dinosaur bones in the state. You can also purchase a bag of soil and go gemstone mining.
This is definitely a trip worth taking. The natural, random and almost chaotic beauty in the caverns will be sure to astonish you and give you an appreciation of the fascinating processes through which this world was created.
Lost World Caverns is located at 907 Lost World Rd. in Lewisburg.
For more information about Lost World Caverns, such as fees and hours of operation, visit their website
Have you ever been to Lost World Caverns? What other natural wonders in WV would you recommend? Feel free to comment below and join the discussion.
These caverns are not the only magnificent natural wonders of the Mountain State. Check out
these 12 incredible natural wonders in West Virginia.