Smoke Hole Caverns
Earlier settlers called the place “Smoke Hole” because the Seneca Indians used the front part of the cavern to smoke game and it sent swirls of smoke out into the valley. The caverns is a must see place, due to its many rooms and it’s unique formations of stalactites and stalagmites; these are formed by the nonstop trickle of mineral water throughout the caverns. It is said that settlers and immigrants back around the Civil War time made “moonshine” or corn whisky with the water from the caverns. There were probably about thirty mills going at one time; a still mill is on display there at the park along with its story.
The caverns are still forming today and gain about an inch of deposits every 120 years.
Backstory and Context
Hidden in the hills of Cabins, West Virginia, the Smokehole Caverns provides visitors with an unforgettable and educational experience. Visitors can explore the caverns on a one hour guided tour that describes the formation of the cavers and their historical significance. The caverns can be enjoyed anytime of year because the temperature stays at 56 degrees all year. The guided tour begins at the foot of the caverns, which are protected by a gate. The caverns are only accessible if you have paid for a tour for a tour guide to escort you.
You will walk through the gate to the entrance to the cavern and the tour guide will begin providing some information about the caverns themselves. There were three groups of people who have used the cavern. The Seneca Indians used the caverns for smoking their meat, which is why it is called Smoke Hole caverns. The tops of the cavern near the entrance are black from the smoke. Then it was used during the Civil War for smoking meat and holding supplies. Finally, and most interestingly it was used for the production of moonshine due to its source of running water and hidden location.