I had been to Howe Caverns in my teens, and then again in my early 20s so really, I never thought I’d need to see another cave in the area. You’ve seen one you’ve seen them all, right? Howe Caverns is beautiful to be sure, I loved the boat ride, the gorgeous formations,
the funny formations – like Jaws.
It’s a really neat thing to see and I can’t completely knock it. As this is certainly the more popular and touristic cave in the area – I didn’t love the big cattle-group tour I was stuck on or how you couldn’t touch the formations, except for one measly stalagmite.
But this post isn’t about Howe Caverns. It’s about the black sheep of a cousin, Secret Caverns [671 Caverns Rd, Howes Cave, NY 12092], and it is quite interesting to compare the two.
Every time I drive around the area I am captivated by those folk art signs. They’re so punny and unique…they’re definitely what lured me in.
The tour is $18 which is pricey, but you can print out a -$2 coupon online (it’s cheaper than Howe which is $25 a ticket) and lasts around an hour. If you need to go to the bathroom before the tour don’t hesitate, because it’s awesome.
It’s always about 50 degrees in both caves, so you want to wear a sweater. However if you visit in the winter, it might actually be warmer than it is outside! You have to walk down (and then up again) 103 stairs to get into the cave and the rest of the tour – out and back again is about ½ mile. If the stairs prove to be a problem, you may consider Howe instead because they have an elevator. Our tour was small and our guide was personable. He told us many historical facts about the first boys that explored the cave, geological facts, made fun of Howe Cavern a lot, pointed out a lot of funny looking formations, gave us a musical show, and we experienced total darkness.
He welcomed us to touch the formations and told us it has no adverse affect, it simply discolors them. There were so many gorgeous spots in the cave,
but the end was definitely the most spectacular sight! There is a 100 foot waterfall whose source is the lake above.
Interestingly enough our guide told us that a snapping turtle fell down the hole once, don’t worry – it survived. It was a great tour and had a totally different, funky, vibe. When you’re all finished make sure to visit the ice cave,
and walk around the trails by the adjacent lake where you may spot a kingfisher or bunny! If I had to pick between the two – I would totally go off the beaten path to Secret Cavern. Also, even if you’ve already been to Howe, Secret was a totally different experience lots of fun!