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Review: A visit to the Skyline Caverns, Front Royal, VA Special

By Leigh Goessl     Apr 11, 2012 in Travel
Front Royal - Skyline Caverns sits in the heart of the beautiful Shenandoah Valley region.
Located in Northern Virginia, this creation of nature's beautiful handiwork can be found in Front Royal, Va.
A quaint area, away from the hustle and bustle of Washington, the caverns house some of nature's mysteries.
Entering the tour, at this time of the year where spring temperatures have been pleasant in the region, you can immediately feel the coolness inside the caverns. But that's just the beginning, once you get down into the chamber with your tour guide and group, it's evident the chambers have not been altered much by humans, but for the most part, left in its natural state.
Once inside Skyline Caverns, you can get a close up and personal view of Mother Nature's talents.
While the cavern itself is very old, its modern history begins in 1937 when the series of chambers were discovered by Dr. Walter S. Amos. Amos had discovered a sinkhole where the current parking lot is located, and prodded further knowing sinkholes are created when a cavern collapses. He began to search for openings to caves, and after doing quite a bit of digging through clay and mud, he discovered Mother Nature's secrets buried beneath, ultimately finding a spectacular world housed underneath the Blue Ridge Mountains
Skyline Caverns began giving tours to the public in 1939, shortly after Amos' discovery. The inside of the caverns in modern day exists very much like it did when discovered, once the digging out was completed to clear the mud and clay out of the chambers; remarkably many were accessible naturally. Over time, some modern items, such as lights and railings, have been added.
Aside from these conveniences, not a lot of changes appear to have been made inside the caverns. The natural preservation done at Skyline is evident as you walk through the chambers which are described to be 60 million years old. This is not a self-guided tour, and the tour guides are very friendly and happy to answer questions.
One of the unique features of Skyline is the presence of anthodites. These astonishing formations are very rare. According to the tour guide, this is one of the few public displays of these remarkable creations in the entire world, and the only one in the U.S.
The tour of these caverns itself is quite interesting, and it is pretty fascinating to see all the stalactites, stalagmites and the unique anthodites. There are other activities on the property, but the highlight is definitely the cavern tour.
Great for a trip off the beaten path for those visiting the Washington D.C. area, or an interesting couple of hours for those who live in the region.
With the hot scorching days of summer approaching soon, if looking for something interesting to do, the caverns are an ideal way to spend some time or to escape the heat, as the temperature remains a steady 54 degrees Fahrenheit (about 12 degrees Celsius) year round.
When planning to visit Skyline it's a good idea to bring a jacket and a comfortable pair of walking shoes. This cavern is more in a natural state (there are railings) than some of the other caverns which have paved pathways. Skyline Caverns is located about 90 minutes west of Washington D.C. off I-66.
More about skyline caverns, front royal, blue ridge mountains, Northern Virginia, Caves
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