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Boonsboro, Maryland

Crystal Grottoes Caverns

Bizarre Cavern. 

This small show cave is the only cave with public access in the state of Maryland. There are no colored lights, no statuary, it’s largely a natural cave.

The pamphlet at the site says it all: The cavern has more formations per square foot than any Cave know to man and at 54 degrees year round, is the most naturally kept Caverns in the world.

In the words of one visitor: “I last visited this cave in the summer of 2007 and there had been a terrible fire in the building that covers the entrance. The fire and water had damaged the electrical system and so the lighting was supplied by a small generator which could not power multiple rooms at once. The result was a very creepy tour where the guide would turn off the lights long enough to walk in complete darkness to the next chamber where we could once again turn on the lights, being careful to not overload the generator. If you’re lucky, you might get to meet the owner and proprietor, Jerry Downs. If you aren’t delighted by the cavern itself, this colorful character will leave an impression!”

The site has been nicely made over since 2007, and bears no fire damage.  Cost is $20 per adult.  There is ample parking, and the twin bathrooms are particular nice and well-kept.  The lighting inside the caverns is well done, with the guide switching lighting schemes on and off as you pass through the galleries in an attempt to save energy.

The tour takes about 30 minutes.  The cave is full of beautiful drape-like stalactites and thick columns.  There are some passages that are relatively low, about four feet high, and there are a few narrow/twisting passages, so the tall and the wide need to pay attention and move slowly and carefully.  There are no provisions for those with mobility challenges.

Know Before You Go

Located 1.5 miles outside of Boonsboro, MD, on State Route 34 in Washington County. Six miles from Antietam Battlefield and 18 miles from Harper's Ferry. It is right off the road and very easy to see (on your left) if you are driving west, but the bluff which forms the cavern essentially blocks the entrace if you're driving east, into Boonsboro.