Did you ever see the 1939 movie “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” and was fascinated by the surroundings when Tom and Becky get lost in the cave?

Well, this cave in Michigan isn’t as cathedral-like or filled with stalactites, stalagmites, and hundred-foot drop-offs…but it does have its perks. The Hendrie River Cave is just what it says…a cave that was carved out of stone underground by the Hendrie River over thousands of years. Although the entire Hendrie River is a little over thirty miles long, the underground river cave stretches out 1,500 feet, making it Michigan’s longest cave..

The cave was formed over an approximate period of ten thousand years, aided by the last glaciers to melt through Michigan. Tripping your way thru this cave, you’ll come across little waterfalls, springs, sinkholes, fossils, unique stones and rock structures, many caverns, detours, forks-in-the-road…and tunnels. Many tunnels you can walk through; others you need to squee-e-eeze through, crawl through, or walk sideways through. Although public is welcome to the nearby abandoned limestone quarry, you need to have a guide and permit to spelunk through this cave. It is definitely cool but can be extremely dangerous. Guides know which tunnels to use and which ones are safe.

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The water spills out at the end of the cave, forming the west branch of the Hendrie River.

Looking at the photos in the gallery below, you may be enticed to go into the cave…but if you are an amateur cave explorer, then you’ll need that afore-mentioned guide. The cave is undeveloped and you’re in for rough conditions: even with a guide, you will get muddy, bruised, gouged, cut, soaking wet, many head bumps....and sometimes temporarily lost. The cave is closed from the middle of October to the middle of May so the cave bats won’t be disturbed. So if you attempt a go-thru in that time period and get bit by a rabid bat trying to sleep, you have been forewarned.

This cave is a tight fit but spectacular…take a look at the gallery below!

Michigan's Longest Cave: Hendrie River


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