The glittering state of New Hampshire is not just one of the United State’s hottest travel destinations but also a land of immense possibilities and ever-new adventures.
With its unmatched range of experiences, stunning natural landscapes, vibrant arts, high-street shopping extravaganza, and extensive granite formations, New Hampshire is also relentlessly pursuing its dream of being the “center of the American Revolution.”
Wondering where to travel in Hampshire or looking for trip ideas for a weekend getaway? This article examines some of the most incredible caves to visit in New Hampshire.
From dreamy winter landscapes of the Polar Caves Park to the massive pegmatite deposit in Ruggles Mine— there’s truly something for everyone on this list.
Lost River Gorge and Boulder Caves
Lost River Gorge and Boulder Caves is located in North Woodstock, New Hampshire. It’s a land of immense beauty that features rock-strewn glacial boulder caves, jagged rock walls, and cascading waterfalls.
One can explore the caves without the need for a tour guide. Smaller caves like the Lemon Squeezer, Bear Crawl, and the Cave of Silence have narrow passages and may require squeezing or crawling to get past them. Larger caves are lit with oil lamps to guide visitors into the darkest sections.
Apart from spelunking, you can explore the Forest Adventure Trail and discover the suspension bridge and the treehouse. Follow the winding wooden boardwalk through the gorge and meander along the Lost River. Elevate your adventure further by going into the Giant Bird Nest to catch the beautiful view of the surrounding.
- Address: 1712 Lost River Rd, North Woodstock, NH 03262, United States
- Website: Lost River Gorge & Boulder Caves
- Phone number: +1 603-745-8031
- Entrance fee: Ranges between $22 and $26 for ages 4+ ($22 when booking online in advance and $26 walk-in on-site) and is free for children below 3.
- Google Maps link: Lost River Gorge & Boulder Caves
Polar Caves Park
Polar Caves Park is home to nine boulder caves with an intricate maze system that is fun to explore. It is well maintained with proper sign markings on the cave trail to guide. There are narrow passageways that may require crawling or squeezing through them.
Explore the caves and learn the stories behind the attractions! The caves are well-lit, with proper factual signs to read as you explore. It can stay cool even during the summer hence an ideal place to visit on a hot summer day.
- Address: 705 Rumney Rte 25, Rumney, NH 03266, United States
- Website: Polar Caves
- Phone number: +1 603-536-1888
- Entrance fee: : $24.50 for adults between ages 12 and 64, $21.50 for seniors above 65, $15.50 for children ages 4-11, and free for children below 3.
- Google Maps link: Polar Caves Park
This is a privately operated attraction site in Salem, New Hampshire. It’s most likely among the oldest man-made construction in the United States, at over 4,000 years. The cave was built by ancient people quite familiar with astronomy and stone construction. It features man-made chambers, walls, and ceremonial meeting places.
The most interesting thing about America’s Stonehenge is that it has been determined to be an accurate astronomical calendar. The site has been used for a long time to determine specific solar and lunar events of the year.
Before touring the site, all visitors are invited to watch the 11-minute introductory video that gives an overview of what to expect in this spectacular attraction.
- Address: 105 Haverhill Rd, Salem, NH 03079, United States
- Website: America’s Stonehenge
- Phone number: +1 603-893-8300
- Entrance fee: : $7 for adults, $6 for seniors 65+, $4 for children between ages 5-12, and free for children below 4.
- Google Maps link: America’s Stonehenge
Big Rocks Caves
Big Rock Caves is an interesting natural feature located in the valley of Whitin Brook. Visitors must first climb over Mt Mexico to access the cave. The cave was formed by huge boulders and is famed for a triangle opening beneath the massive boulders. Its presence in the forest makes it perfect for hiking through the woods and into the Sandwich Range Wilderness until you reach the top of Big Rocks.
Some sections of the trail may be difficult to maneuver because they steepen and narrow considerably as you advance. But it’s worth exploring since it offers adventurers the opportunity to catch sight of the beautiful surrounding.
- Address: Albany, NH 03818, United States
- Google Maps link: Big Rock Caves
Bear Cave is located at the Flume Gorge around the Franconia Notch State Park. It’s quite small and easy to explore. The hiking trail to the cave is worth the experience if you are looking for an easy outdoor adventure.
The cave can be explored without the need for tour guides. It is cheap as there are no fees for the residents and a small fee for the non-residents. One can also enjoy rock climbing, bird watching, and camping, among other outdoor activities.
- Google Maps link: Flume Gorge
Devil’s Den Cave
Devil’s Den Cave is located at the end of Devil’s Den Trail. It offers a fun attraction that’s different from what you will find on most New Hampshire trails. The 5.6-mile Devil’s Den Trail is moderately difficult but has plenty of rewarding views, including the awesome cliff edge rocks.
The area is full of boulders and rocks, making it hard to pinpoint the one housing the Devil’s Den Cave, so it would be best to follow the map through all trails.
The cave’s entrance is small, so be ready to poke around a bit to find it. You may need to crawl through the narrow opening, though there is enough room inside to shimmer around and feel like a true explorer. Besides, it’s not well-lit, and flashlights or headlamps may be necessary to explore the cave. Towards the cave’s end is a ladder to help people climb out.
- Address: New Durham, NH 03855, United States
Soleil’s Salt Cave
Unlike other caves, this is a privately owned salt cave in Exeter, New Hampshire. It’s one of the unique caves in the state since it works as a sanctuary for health, relaxation, and wellness. Soleil’s salt cave is an advanced spa idea to enable people to come and relax in a place full of Himalayan Salt.
The guides are well-informed about halotherapy and how to perform spa massages or steam baths. Private or group sessions can be booked in advance, depending on preference. It is recommended to book early for a session to plan.
- Address: 130 Water St, Exeter, NH 03833, United States
- Website: Soleil’s Salt Cave
- Phone number: +1 603-418-7508
- Entrance fee: $50 per adult, $ 30 per teen between ages 13-17, and $ 25 per child. You can also check their group rates here.
- Google Maps link: Soleil’s Salt Cave
UPDATE: Permanently closed.
This is a famous tourist site in Northwest Concord, New Hampshire. It is an open-pit mine with tunnels, chambers, and caves, some of which have water. Minerals were mined here long before the place became a tourist attraction. Visitors were permitted to keep any minerals they came across while exploring the site. Unfortunately, Ruggles Mine is now closed and was recently put on sale.
The mine can, however, be accessed by the Mineral Clubs and educational institutions such as the Micromounters of New England, which occasionally run field trips.
- Address: 286 Underhill Rd, Grafton, NH 03240, United States
- Google Maps link: Ruggles Mine
Almost all of New Hampshire’s caves were formed due to boulder rocks piling upon each other. Most of these caves are also not very big, but one incredible thing about them is the cave trails or the hike trails you will use to get to the caves. They offer otherworldly views of the surrounding, making them an ideal destination for photographers, hikers, and spelunkers.
Top image: rickpilot_2000 via Flickr / Creative Commons.