Smoke Hole Caverns is located along State Route 28/55 about eight miles west of Petersburg in Grant County, at the western end of the North Fork Mountain water gap. The cave was opened for tours on May 30, 1940, and is one of four commercial caves in West Virginia. Smoke Hole Caverns is probably the most-visited cave in the state. The tour covers about 500 feet of the main passage; the total surveyed length is nearly 1,600 feet.
Smoke Hole Caverns developed geologically along bedding planes that have been tilted into a vertical position by the earth’s tectonic movements. The cave follows a generally straight passage, tending north with a small stream flowing along the east side of the passage. The passage height reaches more than 100 feet above the floor. The cave is beautifully decorated with stalactites hanging in rows along the ceiling bedding planes. Numerous calcite flowstone draperies line the walls. The main room is called the ‘‘Room of a Million Stalactites.’’ The cave is developed in Tonoloway limestones of Silurian age. Smoke Hole Caverns, named for the nearby Smoke Hole canyon of the South Branch Potomac, should not be confused with the Cave Mountain Cave in the Smoke Hole.
This Article was written by William K. Jones
Last Revised on October 29, 2010
Cite This Article
Jones, William K. "Smoke Hole Caverns." e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia. 29 October 2010. Web. 30 April 2016.