Howe Caverns

As a little kid, I used to watch ads on TV for this upstate wonder and always got sucked in by the shadowy lights playing off the rough formations and lake surface of the caverns.  I knew better than to beg my parents to take me, because even at the age of 6, I knew that it was not possible to get there without a car.  This obstacle did not dampen my desire in the least over the years.  I am happy to report that decades later, I finally got to see these caverns with my own eyes.

You can explore the caverns through one of three tours.  There is one where you can go spelunking with gear, which I was too chicken to do; an evening tour done only with lanterns, which I was also too chicken to do; and the traditional tour with boat ride, which I was very much able to do.

Although there are plenty of shadows to be found in the caverns, the walkways built to explore them are pretty well lit and fortified for safety.  If you think about it, the place is mainly geared towards children – that means you are dealing with a tamed environment.  If this is not your thing, I would suggest doing the 2-hour spelunking tour instead where you can climb the walls and get your hands dirty.

Howe caverns

I was more than thrilled to finally see the stalactites and stalagmites up close and personal, even if the dramatic lighting scheme was more amusing at my age than awe-inspiring.

Howe caverns

Howe caverns

Howe caverns

Howe caverns

Having gotten this out of my system, I can honestly say this is worth it if you are planning to do a roadtrip upstate anyway.  It is close to a 4-hour drive from the city each way, so I do not recommend this as a day trip.  We did this as part of an extended weekend trip that also included exploring some famous estates, spending the night in the Rhinebeck area, and hitting some antique shops on the way back.   That’s just one idea.  It is also on the way to Cooperstown (Baseball Hall of Fame) or Albany, if you wanted to cover one of those cities as well.
For the most current hours, tour rates, and directions to the caverns, click here.

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6 Responses to “Howe Caverns”

  1. richard Says:

    Another great review and photos.

  2. gargupie Says:

    I remembered visiting these caves in Yellowstone Park?? (Can’t really recall since I was really young). I love the layer formation of the rocks. So naturalistic and raw. Glad you had a great time!

    • TheOutdoorNewYorker Says:

      I didn’t know they have them in Yellowstone too! I was in New Mexico a few years back and wanted to do Carlsbad Caverns, but it was a 6 hour drive from Santa Fe and we decided not to do it.

  3. Traci Says:

    Carlsbad in NM is an 8 hr drive from here. Especially nice if the bats are flying.

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