New York
The Best List of Caves in New York

The Best List of Caves in New York

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New York is filled with breathtaking mountains and magnificent high peaks. Amid all these, it is easy to forget so much beauty lying underneath and waiting to be explored. Before you can ask, “are there caves in New York”, let me tell you that one can find caves in New York, which are top-rated tourist attractions.

The Best List of Caves in New York

There were innumerable caves at one point in time, but some of the caves no longer exist today, while a few are very difficult to explore. But all these would fail to deter any spelunker from exploring up the caves. The caves in New York are relatively safe, but one should only think of exploring the caves when armed with the correct gear and equipment. 

The Top Caves to Visit in New York


The state is filled with geological treasures like caverns and caves, and for that, you need to dig deep. Cave exploring in New York would reveal a new level of enjoyment for adventure lovers and adrenaline junkies. You can go spelunking with your friends, or you can join a caving club to go with the professionals.

It is good to remember that caves are natural living places, and one should consider all factors like bats, insects, and running water before going in. The most famous caves in New York are –

  • Cave of the Winds
  • Clarksville Cave
  • Ellenville Fault Ice Caves
  • Howe Caverns
  • Lockport Cave
  • Schroeder’s Pants Cave
  • Tory Cave
  • Secret Caverns
  • Natural Stone Bridge and Cave
  • Sellecks Karst Preserve
  • Ella Armstrong Cave
  • Bentley’s Karst Preserve
  • Onessquethaw Cave
  • Knox Cave
  • Indian Caves

If you are looking to explore any specific type of caves, you would probably want to know how these caves can be classified. Keeping this in mind, let’s break this down a bit into different groups for your easy reference. 

Caves to Visit in New York

Best Caves in New York

A quick look into the state’s best caves will help you understand which ones are worth exploring. 

Ice Caves in New York

Ellenville Fault Ice Caves at Sam’s Point Reserve

The Ellenville Fault Ice Caves are said to be the natural air conditioner of Shawangunk Ridge. Even in the hot summer days, the ice caves at the Sam’s Point Reserve have a thick layer of ice! The ice caves are located within the US’s most extensive known fault system, the Ellenville Fault.

The faults have deep crevices that remain obscured from the sun, and the temperatures stay below freezing for most of the year. This is why ice collects here in late summer and remains there till the following winter. The microclimate which is created by the ice caves has allowed the plants to exist at a much higher elevation, such as mountain ash and black spruce. 

New York Flowers

Salt Caves in New York

If you are still unsure about the benefits of the salt cave, then we suggest that you visit any of the following salt caves to rejuvenate yourselves. 

Salt of the Earth Center for Healing, Chestnut Ridge

Right in the village of Chestnut Ridge is a healing center that is more relaxing than you could ever imagine. A 300 sq ft Himalayan Sat Cave will take your breath away and help you relax your tired limbs and rejuvenate your senses.

If you have any respiratory problems, then this is the place where you should be. Just book a 45-minute session in the cave and experience the change for yourself. 

Salt Sanctuary, Johnson City

The unique cave of Salt Sanctuary at Johnston City offers some fantastic deals on salt therapy sessions. The Himalayan salt rooms promise to unveil all the benefits of salt therapy so that you feel relaxed and breathe better.

The therapy sessions last here for 50 min, and you will enjoy every minute of the session in the salt cave that boasts of an allergen and pathogen-free environment. 

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Crystal Caves in New York

Lockport Cave

Authorities built the Lockport Cave to supply water from the Erie Canal, not far from Niagara Falls. An underground boat ride in the Lockport Cave starts with a walk through the water tunnel passing through geological formations, stalactites, and objects left behind by the men who built the tunnel in the 1800s.

The underground boat ride is 70 min and is operated at 40 ft underground amidst a muddy atmosphere and little light. 

Check out our list of caves by State

Limestone Caves in New York State

Howe Caverns

Located in Howes Cave, the Howe Caverns lie 156 ft underground and are composed of two types of limestone, which had been deposited millions of years ago. There is a lake inside the cavern known as the Lake of Venus, and it features multiple speleothems.

One can opt for the guided tour of the cave who will take you to sections that were not accessible for the public before. It is good to note since there is no electricity or light inside the cave, you should make your arrangements. You are also advised to wear a good pair of shoes as the inside is muddy and cold. The tour will end at the Lake of Mystery, where the visitors will be asked to crawl through a low passage that is waterlogged. 

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Tory Cave

The Tory Cave is a small and shallow limestone cave that is part of the Thatcher State Park in Albany. There are reports that Jacob Salisbury or Tory, who worked as a spy during the American Revolution, hid in this cave. The decision must have been very uncomfortable as the cave had minimal shelter.

However, it does have ice stalagmites in the spring season, which is usually not found in local caves. The cave is not accessible to tourists. 

Sellecks Karst Preserve

There are four interconnected caves in this region, and most of these caves require vertical climbing equipment and ropes to access the entrances.

The main highlight here is the underground waterfall that disappears into the cracks. The fourth cave is a natural bridge cave composed of limestone and situated at the base of the sinkhole. The cave is just a 40 min drive from Cooperstown. 

Indian Caves in New York

Indian Caves in New York

Inwood Hill Caves

The Lenape people once used the beautiful Indian Caves of Inwood Hill Park as a seasonal camp. The caves got created due to the tumbling of rocks in a glacial retreat more than 30,000 years ago. These caves are a gentle reminder of the Native people who once lived on the Manhattan Isle. 

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