Melrose Caverns Offers Stalactites, Stalagmites, and Stories

Visitors have been entranced by Melrose Caverns, located near Harrisonburg VA, in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley, for decades. These caverns are both a historical and natural attraction. If you’re exploring the other caverns of the Shenandoah Valley, then you won’t want to miss these. The caverns are part of a larger area rich in natural beauty, history and geological wonders.

Looking for other fun things to see and do in Harrisonburg? Check out The Virginia Quilt Museum and The Aristocat Cafe!

The caverns themselves are a natural limestone cave system that has formed over millions of years. Inside, visitors can find a variety of stalactites, stalagmites, and other unique geological formations. The temperature inside the caverns remains relatively constant, offering a cool escape during hot summers.

We visited just after several days of heavy rains. Several portions of the path through the caverns was flooded — a reminder of just how the caverns came to be! Melrose Caverns includes the obligatory fried egg, bridal veil, bacon and animal-shaped rock formations, as well as colored lights. But it was fun to listen to the one child on the tour ooooh and ahhhh.

A Little History Thrown In

Beyond their natural appeal, Melrose Caverns are steeped in history. The area around Harrisonburg and the Shenandoah Valley was a significant site during the Civil War, and the caverns were not untouched by this period. It is said that they were used for various purposes, including as a hideout and a storage facility, during the war. The caverns have been open to the public for tours at various times throughout their history, offering insights into both the geological beauty and the historical significance of the area.

Many of the soldiers who used the caverns during the Civil War signed their names. You can also see the holes the soldiers left when they drilled holes to hold torches. Notably, a relative of Abe Lincoln, whose family came from the area, signed the cave in 1829!

While Melrose Caverns might not be as widely known as some other cave systems in the United States, it offers a unique blend of natural beauty and history that makes it a noteworthy destination for those visiting the Shenandoah Valley and Harrisonburg, VA area.

Know Before You Go

The surrounding area of Melrose Caverns is also worth exploring, with the Shenandoah National Park and the broader Valley offering hiking, scenic drives, and a wealth of outdoor activities. The region is known for its picturesque landscapes, with rolling hills, farmland, and forests providing a backdrop to the caverns and other attractions. There are numerous things to see and do in nearby Harrisonburg.

Pro tip: purchase tickets ahead of time from the website below, to ensure they’re open.

Getting there: 6639 N Valley Pike, Harrisonburg, VA
Hours: hours vary seasonally; check the website below for tour availability
Website: Melrose Caverns

Craving more cave? Check out:
Crystal Grottoes in Maryland
Penn’s Cave in Pennsylvania
Grand Caverns just down the road at Grottoes VA
Shenandoah Caverns (Shenandoah Valley, Virginia)
Skyline Caverns (Shenandoah Valley, Virginia)