Deep inside Humpback Mountain lies the Linville Caverns—North Carolina's only caverns open for tours. These natural limestone caverns feature stalactite and stalagmite formations and an underground stream. Guided tours (30-40 minutes long) leave every 10 minutes. Tours are limited to 15 people total, and it's recommended you arrive early in the day to purchase tickets for the next available tour. The caverns are located just a few miles from Linville Falls and four miles from the Blue Ridge Parkway. The temperature stays a comfortable 52 degrees F all year, so it's definitely one of our Favorite Spots to Beat the Heat.
Linville Caverns remain active as mineral deposits and continue to form stalactites and stalagmites. The water produced by this mountain, with its carbon dioxide, created the caverns by dissolving limestone and dolomite and thus creating natural passageways into the mountain. During the winter and early spring, you may see some Eastern Pipistrelle Bats or Little Brown Bats, which hibernate here and hang from the ceiling.
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.
As active caverns, there is some dripping water on normal days. During periods of heavy sustained rain, the caverns can be very wet and showery. They have ponchos for sale if you need one. Linville Caverns is one of a few caverns that is partially wheelchair-accessible.
Photography is allowed inside the caverns. They do not allow the use of tripods or unipods on the tour. You may carry a pet but they must remain in your arms. Strollers are not allowed.
See blind fish swimming in the underground stream.
Also on US 221, about 13 miles south, is Tom's Creek Falls.
- Adults: $13
- Seniors 62 & Over: $12
- Children 5-12: $11
- Children Under 5: Free
- March-November: Thursday-Monday, 9 AM-6 PM
- December-February: Saturday and Sunday, 9 AM-4:30 PM
Directions from Asheville: It's 56 miles, and a four-lane highway much of the way. Take Interstate 40 East to exit 72 (Old Fort), staying straight off the exit ramp on US 70 East for 10-12 miles to Marion. Turn left at the intersection of US 221, and go north for 18 miles. The cave entrance is on the left. Approximately one hour of driving time.
Directions from the Blue Ridge Parkway: Exit at Milepost 317 & turn left onto US 221 South for 4 miles.
For more information, call them at 828-756-4171. See more things to do in the Marion area.
Explore McDowell County east of Asheville, with the small towns of Marion, Little Switzerland, Old Fort and Linville Falls. Includes Pisgah Forest, with hiking, waterfalls, fishing, Lake James and… read more
Explore McDowell County east of Asheville, with the small towns of Marion, Little Switzerland, Old Fort and Linville Falls. Includes Pisgah Forest, with hiking, waterfalls, fishing, Lake James and many things to do. See their Blue Ridge Traveler's guide for details.