July 19, 2003
Skyline Caverns is located in Front Royal, Virginia, one mile from the northern entrance to Skyline Drive and Shenandoah National Park.
We chose Skyline Caverns because we needed a rainy day event and my husband thought it would be the most "natural". We enjoyed the ride from McGaheysville to Front Royal via Highway 340, which is also known as the Stonewall Jackson Memorial Highway.
When we arrived at Skyline Caverns, the tour had just recently departed. Rather than wait an hour until the next tour, we opted to catch up with the group and were given a quick introduction to the cavern. Heather, our tour guide, was an anthropology student who had worked at the cavern before going to college and had returned to do her internship.
As we turned and ducked through areas named "Capitol Dome", "Wishing Well", and "Trout Stream", (an area where the caverns were doing a study about the effect of darkness on trout), we were given both historical and geological information about the cavern’s beginning. A 37 foot waterfall named Rainbow Falls could be heard, but was barely visible to me. As we continued along the path, we saw formations that some say resembled Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus at the spot known as Grotto of Nativity. One of the most popular areas at Skyline Caverns is "The Shrine", where many weddings are held today.
I had two favorite areas in the cavern and one was "Fairyland Lake". This was a seepage pool where stalactites (formations that hang from the ceiling resembling icicles) could be seen reflecting in the water. Stalagmites, (formations rising from the floor), which usually have rounded tops and are formed by water dripping from stalactites, could also be seen here. The different colored lights that were shining on the formations presented an unbelievable sight.
My other favorite area was the "Anthodite Rooms". Skyline Caverns is one of only a few places in the world where these rare and unique calcite formations can be seen. Anthodites are delicate, brilliant white spikes that spread in all directions, including upward, from the cave ceilings. They are said to grow at only one inch every 7000 years. These were both interesting and awesome to see.
Our tour lasted about 45-60 minutes and included about 50 steps to exit the cave.
Skyline Caverns operates every day of the year from 9am with varied closing hours depending upon the time of year (4 to 6:30pm). Admission prices are $14 for adults, $7 (children 7-13) and children under 6 are admitted free. Internet coupons can be printed at Skyline Caverns which will give a discount of $1 off a children’s or $2 off an adult’s regular admission fee. There is also a small train ride onsite, The Skyline Arrow, which can be ridden for a fee of $3. This was not operating on the day of our visit.
Additional information and driving directions can also be found at Skyline Caverns.
From journal Spending Time in Shenandoah