Wisconsin April 04, 2018
The Little Known Cave In Wisconsin That Everyone Should Explore At Least Once
Up in the middle western part of the state, about midway between Eau Claire and Minneapolis, is an amazing cave system that it seems not many people outside that area are familiar with. Crystal Cave is a stunning natural formation and the tour here takes you to three different levels and more than 70 feet under ground.
Although it was first discovered in 1881 by local farm boys, the cave wasn't made into an attraction until the 1940s.
It took massive amounts of debris excavation to unearth the cave situation as it remains today. Much of the material that was brought out of the cave was used in the construction of the entrance building.
The cave does have a total of about 50 stairs as well as a series of ramps, so take that into consideration when planning your trip. Strollers aren't allowed inside. The first set of 30 stairs takes you into the caves and there's another set of 20 stairs to take you down to the third level.
The tour lasts about an hour and you'll have breaks in between each level. The first descent takes you to the first level, where you are for just a few minutes before heading further underground. You'll spend most of the tour on the bottom, third level.
According to the Crystal Cave website, "Water that seeps through the soil enlarges the widest cracks in the underlying bedrock. As the soil subsides into the largest of the growing openings, surface depressions gradually form - or sinkholes. As sinkholes enlarge, greater amounts of water are funneled into the widening cracks below them. With time, the fastest-growing cracks become caves."
This area of the state is actually known for the sinkholes that form in the area farmland because of the bedrock changes.
There are tons of different stalactites and stalagmites in the cave, as well as cave pearls. "Crystal Cave has many small helictites throughout the cave. Helictites are finger-like growths of calcite that look like clusters of spaghetti, branching and twisting without regard for what is up or down. They are formed by water that seeps into the cave in amounts so small that it moves by capillary forces, rather than by gravity."
This is Wisconsin's longest cave and there's so much to see and learn in the underground cave, which is always a comfortable 50 degrees.
Once you're down in the cave, you can always add gem panning to your cave experience. Any gems you find are yours to keep.
The whole cave area invites you to stay and explore for the day, making it a perfect family day trip. Plan a picnic and then head out to hike and explore.
There's plenty to read and discover and learn throughout the area.
It's really a gorgeous location that has been made into super educational attraction. This is the perfect spot to spend the day with your family.
Crystal Cave is located at
W965 WI-29, Spring Valley, WI 54767. Admission is $15.98 for adults, $9.98 for kids. If you want to add the prospector package, the price is $22.96 for adults, $16.96 for kids.
Have you ever explored Crystal Cave? Let us know about it in the comments!
Looking for more spots to learn about Wisconsin geology?
Check out the ancient trails at Amnicon Falls State Park.