Visit One Of The Largest Cave Systems In The US At This East Coast Destination

If you're dying to see some humongous caves but don't want to travel all the way to Hang Son Doong cave in Vietnam, the largest cave in the world, you may have to settle for Luray Caverns, the largest in the Eastern U.S. However, there is nothing ho-hum about Luray Caverns. Located beneath the Blue Ridge Mountains in Shenandoah National Park, this cave system is truly a sight to behold. These limestone caverns were created by underground rivers millions of years ago, but today, they exist as a mind-blowing example of the wonders of planet Earth.

The caverns cover about 64 acres and feature paved walkways that transport you from one cathedral-sized space to the next, with some rooms reaching over 10 stories in height. Massive stalactites and stalagmites reach up from the floors and down from the ceilings, with some even meeting in the middle to form large stony columns. However, it's not just the size of the Luray Caverns that's impressive. There is another feature that makes this place truly special.

The most unique feature of the Luray Caverns

When you visit the Luray Caverns, you might hear an eerie noise as you move through the rooms. This is because the stalactites of the Luray Caverns comprise the largest musical instrument in the world. How? Well, it was all thanks to a man called Leland Sprinkle, who worked at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. He saw tour guides in the caves tapping on the stalactites to demonstrate how they make different musical tones. Inspired by this, he wanted to see if he could create a huge musical instrument using these stalactites.

Using tuning forks, Leland selected stalactites across three and a half acres of cavern to use for his instrument, even altering them as needed to produce the correct tone. Through a complex system, he connected the stalactites to an organ in one of the rooms. Today, this instrument is called the Great Stalacpipe Organ.