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!
How Difficult is Seneca Caverns to Explore?
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!
Is Seneca Caverns Safe for Kids?
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:
Crystal H says
I’ve taken up adventuring, and drag my husband along, he enjoys it now too though, lol. And sometimes my kids, depending on danger levels.
You seem to like caves, and adventuring. You really NEED to try wild caving (don’t call it spelunking, lol.
I used to love “walking tours” like this, until I discovered what it was really like to be in a natural cave. Hardhats, headlamps, kneepads. Rock climbing, canyoning, and chimneying, tunnels that are about one foot tall, and squeezing through 9 inch holes. But you get to see and do the MOST amazing things, that regular tours will never see.
Mammoth caves has a great wild tour for adults, that’s great for beginners. They’ll supply gear, you just need study boots, and a squish-proof sack lunches. Their guides are great, and they keep everyone safe. And they also do a few easier, less dangerous wild tour for younger kids, but I can’t remember the ages. They tend to fill up quick so book a few months than early. And there are also other places that do wild tours, and clubs that you can join that will help you learn and loan you gear.
As a mom, going on crazy adventures is one of the best things I’ve ever done. My kids were 8-9 when I started adventuring, and until then I’d been afraid of everything. They’re 15-16 now, and my daughter especially is so inspired by what I do. She talk about it a lot, and she even dressed up an an adventurer for Halloween this year (she wore my clothes and gear, it was almost like she dressed up as me for Halloween,)
I seriously recommend giving the wild caves a try. I think it’ll be a life changing event for you.
lori jackson says
We did this today. I wish to God I would have read it first. I shared it.
Thank you for sharing Lori! I hope you were still able to have a nice time even though it’s a rather rough tour!
lori jackson says
It was cool, but would have been better 30 years ago. Not at all like the Ohio Caverns. Sorry I did not turn around. Had no idea we had to go up the same way we went down…again, unlike the Ohio Caverns. This 60 year old grandma regrets yesterday`s adventure.