Ohio is home to a myriad of beautiful caves and caverns (see my previous article “Ohio Caves dazzle with underground beauty”) but if you are a Clevelander who is a cave and cavern enthusiast, you need to check out the Lost World Caverns in Lewisburg, West Virginia.
Lost World Caverns Designated a National Natural Landmark in 1973, the Lost World Caverns were discovered in 1942 and feature a vast array of stalactites, stalagmites and other dazzling formations that were found to reach a depth of 235 feet below the surface and are connected by over a mile of various passages. The remains of a prehistoric cave bear were discovered in the cave in 1967.
Visitors to Lost World Caverns can take a 45 minute, 1/2 mile, self-guided walking tour of the cavern. A provided guide sheet explains the formations you will encounter as you explore at your own pace.
The walking tour section of the caverns is composed of a large chamber that is 120 feet high (the equivalent of 10 stories), 1000 feet long and 300 feet wide. Among the formations that can be viewed are the Bridal Veil (a column of sparking white calcite), The Snowy Chandelier ( a compound stalactite weighing 30 tons presumed to be the one of the largest in the United States) the Castle and the Ice Cream Wall.
One of the Lost World Caverns’ claim to fame involves the the “War Club” stalagmite formation. In 1971, a West Virginia caver named Bob Addis sat atop the towering 28 foot “War Club” for 16 straight days earning himself and the Lost World Caverns a place in the Guinness Book of World Records. That record still stands today.
For those visitors with a truly adventurous spirit, Lost World Caverns also offers a 4 hour guided Wild Cave Tour where visitors explore and traverse more than a mile of passageways and chambers (like The Birth Canal and The Keyhole) in undeveloped parts of the cave. Lost World provides helmets, lights, kneepads, gloves, a light snack and water. Your experience will be captured on film and each participant receives a free set of photos of their experience. Reservations are required for the Wild Cave Tour and cost is $70 per person with a 2 person minimum.
Lost World Caverns also includes a Natural History Museum on the property that features the largest collection of dinosaur and fossil replicas in West Virginia. The 3000 square foot gift shop in the Visitor Center has items like geodes, replica fossils, minerals and geological and scientific oriented gifts for purchase. The Visitor Center also has a picnic and playground area.
Lost World Caverns has a constant temperature of 52 degrees so it is recommended that you bring a light jacket — and good walking shoes for your tour.
Lost World Caverns is open daily. Hours from now to Memorial Day weekend are 10 a.m. – 5 p.m Hours from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day are 9 a.m. – 7 p.m. Check hours for other seasons.
Admission is $12 for adults (13 and above), $6 for children 6-12 and children under 6 are free.
Lost World Caverns is located on Fairview Rd. in Lewisburg, West Virginia ( named one of National Geographic Magazine’s Top U.S. Communities). 304-645-6677 or 866-228-3778. Lewisburg is 350 miles from Cleveland and its is approximately a 5.5 hour drive.