North Carolina is home to over 900 caves and caverns. Although many aren’t open to the public, there are a few that welcome visitors. Below, we’ve created a list of five accessible NC caves and caverns that beckon all to explore. Afterward, if you are looking for more ways to explore the NC mountains, take a look at our free Chimney Rock/Lake Lure Vacation Guide. Our guide is full of recommendations on hidden treasures, including gardens, river rafting, hiking trails, and more!
5 Unbelievable NC Caves and Caverns
1. Linville Caverns | Marion, NC
Linville Caverns is one of North Carolina’s most mysterious caverns. It is located inside of Humpback Mountain, a 4,245-foot peak within the Pisgah National Forest. These unique caverns offer visitors a glimpse into the subterranean world. Guided tours of the cavern are available. These tours are an excellent way to learn the history of the mountain and snap some photographs inside, flash allowed!
Because temperatures stay at about 52 degrees throughout the year, we suggest bringing a jacket or sweater. The Linville Caverns are open at different times during each season, so consult their website before making your journey. These unique caverns are only a 60-minute, scenic drive away from our bed and breakfast!
2. Boone’s Cave | Lexington, NC
Boone’s Cave is named after Daniel Boone, a legendary pioneer whose family settled on the banks of the Yadkin River in 1730. Interestingly, when Daniel was about 16 years old, he would use the cave as his secret hideout!
Boone’s Cave is a part of the 110-acre Boone’s Cave Park. Here, you will also find hiking trails, river access, a picnic area, and a 1700s-style cabin. The park is also home to the state’s tallest cottonwood tree.
3. Tory’s Den | Walnut Cove, NC
It’s no secret that the mountains of North Carolina boast magnificent views, but Hanging Rock State Park is truly one-of-a-kind. This park is the site of Tory’s Den, a cave that is rumored to have been used by the Tories as a hideout during the American Revolution. Before you make your trip, make sure your flashlight is charged. Very little light makes its way into Tory’s Den, and it is very dark! The cave, as well as four nearby waterfalls, are easily accessible from the 2.7-mile Tory’s Den Trail.
4. Rumbling Bald Caves | Lake Lure, NC
Rumbling Bald Mountain in Chimney Rock is a popular hiking, camping, and spelunking destination. The caves at this mountain are easily accessible. Inside of the caves, there are many fun places to explore and unique rock climbing opportunities, too. The trails surrounding Rumbling Bald Mountain also offer breathtaking views. You’ll walk through shaded oak forests and over enormous cliff faces on your way! The Rumbling Bald Caves are only 10 minutes away from our bed and breakfast!
5. Asheville Salt Cave | Asheville, NC
Though not one of the naturally formed caverns in North Carolina, the Asheville Salt Cave is a sustainable cave-like structure focused on rejuvenation. This spa in downtown Asheville uses salt rock crystals for therapeutic purposes. These crystals have helped heal respiratory ailments, skin problems, arthritis, digestive issues, and more. Breathe in the salty air and let the cave work its magic! The beautiful city of Asheville is only 30-minute, scenic drive away from our bed and breakfast.
Stay Near It All at The Esmeralda Inn & Restaurant
After exploring these NC caves and caverns, head home to The Esmeralda Inn & restaurant. Surrounded by Western North Carolina’s natural beauty, our boutique bed and breakfast is the perfect place to enjoy the best of what the NC mountains offer. Our inn is tucked away in one of the most incredible canyons and nestled along the Rocky Broad River. Complimentary breakfast, spa services, an onsite restaurant, and proximity to the bustling city of Asheville are just a few perks that you can enjoy during your stay!
If you aren’t sure which accommodation to choose for your next outdoor adventure, we recommend The Rocky Broad River Cabin! This beautiful mountain cabin features stunning views of the NC mountains, the Rocky Broad River, extraordinarily comfortable beds with luxury linens, and more! If you are ready to plan your next getaway, check our current specials and book your stay. We look forward to hosting you soon!