John Brown’s Cave is located on the Lehigh Portland Trails property. It is a type of natural cave known as a “Solutional Cave”, which is formed in rock that is soluble, such as limestone. The cave was formed as groundwater dissolved quantities of soluble rock by seeping along joints and faults, and over long epochs of geological time, expanding to become a cave. In the case of John Brown’s Cave, a small intermittent stream enters the mouth of the cave, flows through, and exits below the bluffs along US-169 highway. The length of the cave is approximately 200 feet. It has a large entrance you can walk into, and it’s possible to traverse the entire length of the 200-foot cave, albeit not without getting wet.
Accessing John Brown’s Cave
John Brown’s Cave is located along Cave Trail South. To visit the cave, you can park at the Eastern Trailhead, and walk or bike along the South Loop Trail heading south and east. Just past the entrance to the Rubble Ridge Trail, a new Cave Trail Connector splits off to the east. After a short distance, it meets up with 1650th Street. After yielding to any road traffic, cross the pavement to enter the Cave Trail.
Follow Cave Trail South for about a half mile, first heading east along a straight path, then south paralleling a small limestone bluff (the cave “exit” is located here), then south to a rock wall, then north along the top of the bluffs, before heading back west a bit. The cave entrance will be on your left, and will first be seen as a large depression. As you get closer, and enter the depression, you’ll see the large cave entrance heading east. After exploring the cave, you can either retrace your steps to get out, or continue following Cave Trail South, which creates a large loop that will eventually lead you back to the entrance path.
The approximate GPS coordinates of the cave entrance are 37.903559°, -95.383420°.
- Introducing the Cave Trails and John Brown’s Cave
- John Brown’s Cave History
- Cave Safety and Etiquette