Maybe you LOVE exploring caves like I do, or maybe you’ve come across Seneca Caverns in Bellevue, Ohio and are looking for an adventure you’ve never done before. Either way – you’ll want to read this post first! The outside looks like what you might expect out in the country farm fields in the Midwest. (which is not very much!) In fact as I drove out there on the dirt roads I thought perhaps my GPS had taken me to a wrong location!
As I drove down the road I did see the Seneca Caverns sign right away…..but the strangest thing was that there was a cemetery literally RIGHT next to the Seneca Caverns parking lot. That fence you see in the bottom left – that’s right where my car is pulled up on in the parking lot! I’ve been to over 30 caves in the USA and I’ve never seen such a location. It definitely intrigued me. Nothing about this experience was anything at all like any of the other caves I’ve been in – and I’ve been in A LOT!
Seneca Caverns boasts itself as “the caviest cave in the USA” – gosh darn it I’d totally agree! I’ve been in some pretty intense cave tours but this one wins hands down – it’s hard as heck! It’s very tight, extremely steep, and involves a lot of climbing. I personally do NOT recommend it for kids under 6 at all, and I definitely don’t recommend it for anyone who isn’t in very good physical condition. If you do bring young kids expect to need to pass them down the “steps” and take great caution near the drop offs. This is not an adventure your grandma will likely want to join in on! In fact I’ve taken my daughter to more than 10 caves before she turned 2 years old and I would not bring her to Seneca Caverns. For several reasons which you’ll read below.
Before you enter the caverns you’ll see a great map of the different levels of the cave. During the tour you’ll actually be able to see the water table – that’s how far down you go! Not only is it steep but the entire way down is via tight switchbacks where you will have to climb down rocks to get to the next level. I had worked up quite a sweat by the end of the tour! I’m just glad the lady behind me didn’t pass out as she had quite a bit of difficulty during this tour!
Our tour guide was fantastic and I was shocked at the size of our group! For the caverns being located in the middle of nowhere I definitely found it extremely busy the day I went! You can see above the pathway is narrow – there’s quite a drop off! I wouldn’t want my young kids in this cave and I’m pretty adventurous. I even had to walk through a cave while nursing my baby once!
If I haven’t scared you off yet it’s definitely worth stopping in if you’re up for a challenge! I have a bit of a cave obsession so I can’t turn down the chance to tour a cave I’ve never been in! I was totally enamored with this cave and it’s truly unique formation although I’m a little hesitant to go again simply because of the physical strain. There’s even a ceiling in this cave with tons of fossils embedded which I have not come across before on a cave tour so that was pretty cool.
I know this post seems like it comes with a rather dire warning but I’d rather you know what you’re up for before you go!
Outside of the caverns is a map of historic Bellevue if you’re looking for something else close by in the area to do! I took a ton of photos while I was on the tour but honestly it was so tight and physically straining that I did not get many decent photos! I’m very glad that I went and experienced it. We’ll certainly stop by again if we find ourselves in the area.
If you’re traveling through the Midwest area you can check out some of our other cave posts below: