The Best Caves in Minnesota, USA: Complete List

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Beware: You should never explore wild caves alone or without proper gear. Consider getting in touch with a Grotto of the National Speleological Society at or a qualified cave club. These groups are skilled and will train you. Without sufficient knowledge, preparation, and equipment, cave exploring can lead to serious injury or death.

Affordable, beautiful, and with plenty job opportunities, Minnesota is a great place for those who don’t mind the cold. Several famous names from Minnesota include the singer Prince, author F. Scott Fitzgerald, and “Peanuts” cartoonist Charles Shulz. In addition to an interesting history and some cold winters, Minnesota features several man-made and natural caves as well.

Mystery Cave

Located in the 19th century village of Forestville, this cave is the longest in Minnesota. Its over 13 miles long and filled with maze like passages decorated with stalactites, stalagmites, fossils, flowstones, and beautiful underground pools.

One popular underground pool, Turquoise lake, is famed for its stunning blue color and clear water. In addition to this, you can even see some formations that are actively forming as they drip, making for an even more interesting experience. The cave’s staff offer guided tours through different areas in Mystery Cave of varied difficulty and length.

Thanks to this you can expect a fun experience despite your knowledge/interest in caving. At 48 F year-round, the cave stays very chilly.

Niagara Cave

Niagara Cave is one of the most popular caves, not just in Minnesota, but the entire US. Named in remembrance of the beauty of the Niagara Falls, this cave is well known for its stunning visuals, striking formations, and even some fossils.

Niagara Cave was discovered by a farmer in 1924, explored by spelunkers, and opened eight years later in 1932. The cave contains many interesting formations likea gorge, limestone island, a concave ceiling, and a large underground river complete with a 60 ft waterfall.

If you wish to visit, the cave has a mile-long tour made for easy view of the many beautiful aspects the area has to offer. There are spots of interest outside of the cave too, like mini golf, a picnic area, and a shop.

An image shows the dimly lit passageway inside Niagara Cave in Minnesota.

Soudan Underground Mine

Soudan Underground Mine holds a wealth of history. As a historical landmark it’s the oldest, deepest, and richest iron mine in Minnesota. In the late 19th century, the area was found to hold precious minerals like hematite.

Thanks to this, it was eventually turned into an underground mining operation. When this ended, the mine was given to the state and turned into a National Historic Landmark, which led to it being able to be visited.

While visiting you can see many vintage mine remnants like drifts, adits, raises, and even massive headframes. Soudan Underground Mine can be explored via tour.

An image shows the remaining above-ground construction for the Soudan Underground Mine.

Spring Valley Caverns

Spring Valley Caverns is a privately owned cave system in a town of the same name. It’s in the ‘Driftless’ area of southern Minnesota, which is popular for its many caves and sinkholes.

The first couple of cave passages were discovered in 1966 and after this, discoverers Jon Latcham and  Roger Winters chose to commercialize it. Spring Valley Caverns were opened to the public in 1968. Ever since then more and more of the cave system has been discovered, and it was eventually named the longest of its kind in the state.

There are many different formations inside including flowstone, wall flows, streams, and tiny soda straws. Spring Valley is decently easy to explore but be wary of squeezes and crawls. All of the cave system can be accessed via permission from the Minnesota Cave preserve.

Note these caves are not generally open to the public.

Image shows one of the dark rooms inside the massive Spring Valley Caverns of southeastern Minnesota.

Tyson Spring Cave

A popular site among locals, Tyson Spring cave is well-known for its surprisingly stunning visuals. Formations like streams, tall limestone cliffs, soda straws, calcite dams, strikingly clear water, and picturesque passages make this cave a spot to be sure not to miss.

It was discovered in the 1800s and was popularized first by its use as a picnic spot for local farmers. Tyson Spring cave also rose in popularity thanks to multiple ice-age fossils found there. In order to protect cave life, this cave is only accessible a few times a year via permit.

When planning your visit here, bring a wetsuit. There’s tons of water bodies you have to swim through in order to fully experience this beautiful area.

A sea of slender stalactites hangs from the ceiling in Tyson Spring Cave.

Wabasha Street Caves

These caves can be explored only via tour. They are not open for the public to freely explore. Popular for its suspected hauntings, the Wabasha Caves of Minnesota are a group of manmade sandstone caves historically significant for their use for speakeasies. These speakeasies were popular places for mobsters like Ma Baker and John Dillinger to club.

Local legend has it that there was a shootout in the area, which caused the area to become haunted with former mob members who laid their lives there. This legend was backed by occurrences such as flying equipment in later years in the area, and visitors seeing ghosts glare at them as they drift about the caves. There are even famous ghosts, such as a woman said to linger near the bar and a man wearing a Panama hat.

Wabasha Caves don’t have any natural formations as they are manmade, but there are remnants of the clubbing that went on in the area. In addition to this, there’s even evidence of the shootout said to happen.

A large corridor and lots of lighting show the manmade Wabasha Street Caves.


Minnesota is bordered by a couple other states, if you’re making your way across the US. Found in the north central US, you can also explore some of these other states and their respective caves when you’re done here.

Iowa Caves

North Dakota Caves

South Dakota Caves

Wisconsin Caves

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