Lockport Cave – Lockport, New York - Atlas Obscura

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Lockport Cave

Lockport, New York

Take an underground boat ride through a former hydraulic raceway that was built in the late 19th century. 

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Beneath the City of Lockport, New York, lies one of the longest underground boat rides in the United States. It goes down one of two caverns that exist under Lockport, following the path of the Erie Canal through a manmade hydraulic raceway that was constructed between 1858 and 1900 to supply water to local industries. 

The other cave in Lockport is a naturally-formed cavern in the underlying dolomite and limestone bedrocks and was unsuccessfully attempted to be explored due to funding and flooding issues until its mouth was sealed in 1886. Although the true extent of the natural cave system is unknown, it is estimated to be in an area of several square miles. 

Over the years other entries to the original Lockport Cave have been discovered, and several people made trips into the cave system in the 1960s and 70s. In an interview with the Buffalo Newsone of those explorers described a series of complicated passageways and tight tunnels, as well as a wide cavern filled with several feet of sediment and 10-foot waterfall in a side passage.

Today, it’s the human-made tunnel that tends to get more attention. The raceway was first opened as a tourist attraction in 1977. Along with the boat ride, a walking tour of the surrounding area is also available. Haunted cave lantern tours are held around Halloween and the cave is open to paranormal research teams after being featured on Syfy’s Ghost Hunters in 2012.

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