NORTH CAROLINA'S LARGEST
Address: 19929 U.S. 221 Marion, NC
Inside A Mountain
Located at the southern gateway to western NC’s High Country region, Linville Caverns is an ideal designation for visitors of all ages. The beauty of our mountains is echoed within Humpback Mountain and visitors are invited to explore the splendor and wonder nature created “inside a mountain.”
Linville Caverns are privately owned, and operated active limestone caverns located in northern McDowell County. The caverns are open year round for guided tours. Linville Caverns have been open for tours since the late 1930s and remain the only show caverns in North Carolina.
In the fall and winter months, cavern visitors may be able to view the cavern’s most popular residents, the eastern Pipistrelle and the Little Brown Bats. These insect-eating creatures hibernate in the caverns from late fall until early spring.
For centuries, the marvels of Linville Caverns were unknown to man. In the early 1800s a fishing expedition headed by Henry E. Colton of Eastern North Carolina were astounded to see fish swimming in and out of what appeared to be rather solid rock. A small opening in the mountainous terrain allowed them to enter the subterranean recess that is still home to native trout in an underground stream.
Linville Caverns was opened for public touring in 1937. Since that time, many upgrades to the pathways and lighting system have enhanced the safe touring experience that now exists. Courteous and experienced guides take you into the subterranean world, giving you the history of the caverns and allowing you to view the grand work of nature. We invite you to visit often and experience the beauty of nature. We invite you to visit often and experience the beauty of these age-old mountains from the inside.
Admission and Hours
Children under 5 years of age are admitted free with adult/senior admission
Discounted rates are available to groups with 25 or more paying customers. Schools, churches, scouts, summer/day camps, reunions and etc. are eligible for group rates.
Linville Caverns is a seasonal operation.
January & February
Saturday & Sunday only 9am to 4:30pm
Open daily 9am to 4:30pm
April & May
Open daily 9am to 5pm
June through August
Open daily 9am to 6pm
September & October
Open daily 9am to 5pm
Open daily 9am to 4:30pm
Saturday & Sunday 9am to 4:30pm
Tips for Visitors
Dress: the cavern temperature stays at a comfortable 52 degrees year round. As an active caverns, there is some dripping water on normal days. During periods of heavy sustained rain the caverns can be very wet and drippy. For maximum comfort, please consider a jacket or sweater most days and rainproof jackets after a heavy rain. Show comfort is up to the individual. The caverns walkway can be damp or wet in places. It is best to avoid shoes with hard or thick soles. High heeled shoes are generally not recommended due to walking on an open grate at one point of the tour. Sweatshirts and rain ponchos are available for sale in our gift shop.
Strollers and Backpacks: Due to the confined spaces and low hanging rocks, we do not allow strollers or child-carrying backpacks within the caverns. If you are waiting in line to tour you may wish to keep your infant/child in the stroller or backpack until the time for your tour. Our porch person will gladly store your equipment while you are on tour or you may consider locking these items in your vehicle. Baby front carrying backpacks are allowed on the tour. For older toddlers please consider carrying your child while on your tour.
Wheelchairs: Linville Caverns is one of the few caverns that is partially wheelchair accessible. Please note that there is one step onto the covered porch where tours begin and there is a concrete ramp with approximately 30 degrees slope down to the cave floor. Once inside the caverns the concrete walkway is fairly smooth and level. There are two places that a wheelchair cannot access – first is a dead-end passage into the narrowest section of the caverns and you may wait at the entrace to this section, and second is in the back of the caverns where it is necessary to climb a few flat steps going into one room and you may move to the left to meet the tour as it comes back to the main level. If you need assistance getting a wheelchair onto the porch area, please let our staff know and we will gladly assist you. Restroom facilities are wheelchair accessible.
Restrooms: There are no restrooms within the caverns. The restrooms are cleaned and locked each day at closing. If you are on one of the final tours of the day, the restrooms will be closed by the time you come out of the caverns. Please take the time to use the facilities before starting the tour.
Photography: Flash photography is allowed inside the caverns. If using a video camera, we ask that you not use an external light source such as a spotlight. We do not allow the use of tripods or unipods on the tour. Due to dim lighting in the caverns, please be respectful of others when aiming your flash within someone’s direct sight. Disposable flash cameras are available in the gift shop.
Payment: Linville Caverns gladly accepts cash,VISA, MasterCard, Discover Card, American Express and travelers checks as payment. They do not accept personal checks.
Pets: Visitors may carry a pet on the 35-minute tour. Pets on a leash are not allowed within the caverns.