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Ultimate Guide to Spider Cave, Michigan (Tours, Pricing, History, Map)

Ultimate Guide to Spider Cave, Michigan (Tours, Pricing, History, Map)

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Spider Cave, near Fayette, is a water-cut cave that is not particularly large and offers two key features for the cavers to check out. It contains four pictographs and is also the site of artifact collecting that includes a collection of projectile points from the Middle Woodland period. Since the projectile points had shattered tips, it does suggest that the projectiles were fired into the cave itself. All this makes Spider Cave one of the most important caves in the region. 

Spider Cave Cover Image
Photo Credit: Tripadvisor

It is interesting to note that around 100 broken arrowheads and spear tips have been recovered from the cave. An 18th-century explorer has said that there are rock paintings in Northern Minnesota wherein it is seen that Indians are shooting arrows as they pass by in their canoes. It is presumed that this practice has ritual significance, maybe firing in the cave signifies an offering for good luck in hunting.  

History of Spider Cave 

The caves on the Burnt Bluff were first occupied by humans around 1200 BC. It is estimated that around 165 caves and shelters were used. Several theories float around as to what importance this archaeological site had for the people who lived here, but all these theories are inconclusive. Some of these theories say that the cave was the site of Midewiwin rituals, a boundary marker, a winter camp, a burial location, a site of a grisly murder, or a place for demonstrating warrior prowess. 

The earliest recorded history of people in the Burnt Bluff area is the Noquet people who had inhabited the land before the European Settlement, as early as 1500 BC. The Ojibwe people who live here trace their heritage back to these people. In 1867 a large portion of the Garden Peninsula was deeded to the Jackson Iron Company, which had plans to build furnaces at Fayette. From the 1880s, several private parties owned the land around spider Cave. 

The earliest records of the pictographs in Spider Cave can be traced to the Primitive Man in Michigan by Hinsdale. In 1963, Charles E. Cleland and G. Richard Peske excavated the cave. A huge number of artifacts were collected from the cave, and the majority were projectile points from the Middle Woodland period. The bulk of the projectile points had the tips shattered, which suggests that they were fired into the cave, and these had shattered against the cave’s back wall. The vast quantity of projectile tips and the absence of other artifacts suggest that this cave was never used as a regular living place. 

Ruth and Henry Lang purchased the land in 1947 and advertised the cave as a tourist attraction. The State of Michigan acquired the area in the 1970s, and it is now an integral part of the Fayette Historic State Park. However, it is closed to the public. 

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Geological Cave Formations

Spider Cave or Burnt Bluff Cave is not known for its geological formations. The cave has four pictographs inside cave and on the walls near the entrance. 

Wildlife in Spider Cave 

Spider Cave wildlife

Different species of spiders are common in Spider Cave. Most of these species do not pose any threat to humans, but some can be poisonous. 

Is Spider Cave Haunted?

Spider Cave is not haunted, but the mysterious pictographs attempt to tell a tale. The experts have only come up with different interpretations, but all are merely speculative.  

How Big is Spider Cave?

Spider Cave is the largest cave in the region and is 90 ft long and 30 ft deep. It was formed approximately 4000 years ago. Two 12 ft pillars support the roof, although they have become weak and collapsing slowly. 

Spider Cave Tours

There are no tours available for this cave, but you can explore it yourself. You need to call the park authorities to know whether they are allowing public entry. The cave is on a private property, and the pictographs are at the base of a 140 ft limestone cliff. There were thirteen such paintings with a height ranging from 6 inches to 2 ft. Four of these paintings can be clearly seen at the Spider Cave, but the rest have gotten eroded with time.

If the water level at the Great Lakes is high, then you can view the pictographs by boat as they appear at eye level. If the water level is low, you can descend down the cliff via a stairway and view the paintings from the rocky shore. The ‘Big Man’ is the largest of these paintings, which features a reddish-colored human shape and is at least two feet high. 

A unique painting is ‘Spiderman’, which depicts a man connected by an umbilical cord to a spider. Nobody knew who created these rock arts or the purpose behind these paintings. Since the subjective designs have not been deciphered, these pictographs remain a mystery even today. 

Tour Prices and Discounts

 No tours are available for Spider Cave. 

Is Spider Cave Cold?

The inside temperature of Spider Cave is unknown, but it assumed that its temperature would be lower than the surroundings, just like any other cave. 

What to Wear?

You can wear any clothing you are comfortable in but do invest in a good pair of shoes as you may have to walk over the rocky shores.  

Spider Cave Hours

You can visit the cave from dawn to dusk.  


What to Do at Spider Cave (Beside Tours)

If you have time in hand, then you can walk a quarter-mile to the North, where you will come across six additional pictographs that are scattered horizontally over the face of the cliff. 

Best Time to Visit

The cave is accessible throughout the year, but the summer season is ideal for visiting as the weather is pleasant and there is little or no chance of rain. 

How to Get to Spider Cave

It is located is in Burnt Bluff, a cliff in Michigan, and has an elevation of around 248m. Spider Cave is to be found to the west of Mud Lake.  

Provide a safe bat habitat
Provide a safe bat habitat!

Hotels Nearby

Getting a place to stay overnight would not be a problem here as there are several hotels of varying budgets and comfort levels.  

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Visiting Spider Cave

Do you need more information before visiting? Call (906) 644-2603 for an information packet. 

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