I don’t know about you, but I’ve always been intrigued by caves. Going underground and exploring an environment created thousands of years ago just seems pretty cool. You may not realize New Hampshire has a couple of places where you can do just that. Take a look!
Follow the boardwalk at the Lost River Gorge and Boulder Caves that leads you right into the forest. You can’t help but appreciate the natural surroundings around you. While this area was formed millions of years ago from glaciers that melted during the Ice Age, the first documented exploration wasn’t until the 1850s.
You can stay on the boardwalk, or to make your trek through a little more challenging get off the path and climb through the caves. One of the first caves you’ll come to is the Cave of Odin. Keep your head low as you crawl through and look for the deep pool of water down below.
Climb into the Center of the Earth and check out the hole in the boulder above you. It lets in just enough light to make you feel as though you are deep down in the center of the earth. Be sure to stop and enjoy the beautiful Paradise Falls which is right nearby.
As the name suggests, the Lemon Squeezer, is a tight fit to get inside. But don’t worry there are tips on how to get through. (Hint: If you’re not up to it, you can always go around).
In all there’s about 20 or so caves to explore with varying degrees of difficulty, so there’s a little something for everyone. Plus there are several spots where you can stop and enjoy views of the gorge and surrounding mountain ranges too. If you think you might like to explore the caves at night, check out their Lantern Tour!
Just south of Lost River, in Rumney are the Polar Caves – the other site of our caving experience. The Polar Caves also took shape during the last Ice Age when a massive continental glacier moved across the landscape.
Pick up the path just outside the main lodge, head across the Kissing Bridge and up to the Guide’s platform to begin your tour of the caves.
One of my favorites here is the Ice Cave. No surprise why it’s called that once you crawl inside. It’s not uncommon for ice from winter to still be here in August – how cool is that!
Fat Man’s Misery is the longest cave here with two chambers and a set of steep stairs – be sure to watch your footing and keep your head low as you go through.
They’ve got a cave called Lemon Squeeze too! If you’re not fond of small spaces – opt to take Orange Crush which is the cave around it. This is such a great place to visit on a hot New Hampshire summer day – talk about natural air conditioning!
In addition to the caves, there’s some cool rock formations to see along with sweeping views of the Baker River Valley. And check out the interpretive signs that give some great insight to the history here. If you’re looking to elevate your adventure even more, check out the rock climbing attractions they recently added.
New Hampshire has some other geological wonders you might consider checking out. The Sculptured Rocks Natural Area in Groton and the Madison Boulder Natural Area in Madison. If you haven’t already be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram for regular updates!