Cave of the Mounds

Visiting Cave of the Mounds as a Couple in 2022

Visiting Cave of the Mounds as a couple

Visit Wisconsin’s National Natural Landmark, Cave of the Mounds in Blue Mounds. Prepare to be amazed as you follow the underground tunnels and explore caverns.

Voted the Top Romantic Trip Destination in Wisconsin

Wisconsin is a beautiful state that offers couples many diverse opportunities for fun and romance. Weekend road trips are an ideal way to explore Wisconsin.

Cave of the Mounds in Blue Mounds, Wisconsin. It’s listed #1 on the list of romantic trips in Wisconsin. If visiting a cave is not something you have on your bucket list, it should be.

In 1988, Cave of the Mounds earned the National Natural Landmark recognition. Although Cave of the Mounds is privately owned, a public-private partnership with the National Park Service ensures that the Cave will be managed & protected for future generations.

Cave of the Mounds is a prime example of Wisconsin’s Natural Heritage.

This National Natural Wonder is incredible. The variety of minerals in Wisconsin gives Cave of the Mounds its unique colors. When you hear the story of the discovery of the cave and then step one foot inside the cave, you instantly know why a visit to the Cave of the Mounds needs to be on your bucket list. No pictures or videos can do justice to its beauty. It is something you will want to experience yourself.

WHat to expect when visiting Cave of the Mounds

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Cave of the Mounds History

Cave of the Mounds takes its name from the Blue Mounds, two large hills which have long been a Wisconsin landmark. The West Mound, at 1716 feet, is the highest point in Southern Wisconsin; the East Mound reaches 1489 feet. Cave of the Mounds lies under the southern slope of the East Mound.

The area was settled by Ebenezer Brigham, a successful lead miner who became Dane County’s first permanent white settler in 1828. The West Mound is now a Wisconsin state park. While part of the East Mound still belongs to the Brigham family.

His house became a trading post, an inn, a stagecoach stop, and Dane County’s first post office.

Colonel Brigham helped build and commanded Fort Blue Mounds during the Blackhawk War in 1832. Ebenezer lived a long life on his Bringham Farm, never realizing that a more extraordinary discovery than lead lay deep beneath its surface.

Cave of the Mounds was accidentally discovered on August 4, 1939. Workers, who were removing high-quality limestone from a quarry on the Brigham Farm, blasted into the Cave. The blast tore the face off the quarry and revealed a great underground cavern.

All quarrying stopped and never resumed. The dynamite blast revealed a limestone cave more than twenty feet deep, opening into other rooms and galleries, all containing numerous breathtaking mineral formations.

The excitement of the discovery brought so many curiosity seekers that the cave had to be closed off to preserve it.

Lights and wooden walkways were added to preserve the cave of the Mounds and make it available for the public to enjoy. In May 1940, Cave of the Mounds was opened to visitors.

Over 59,000 people visited the cave in the first eight weeks of operation.

The original wooded walkways eventually had to be replaced with concrete. A large stone building was built to replace the original entry building. A picnic area, walking trails, rock gardens, gift shops, and a visitor center have all since been developed.

Entrance to the Cave of the Mounds
The view of the cave as you enter. This is the exact spot where the cave was discovered on August 4, 1939, during a quarry blast.

Preparing to visit Cave of the Mounds

Cave of the Mounds is open daily, rain or shine, all year. The temperature in the cave stays a consistent 50 degrees. Dress appropriately.

No food or drink is allowed in the cave—fuel up before venturing underground.

Photos are the best souvenirs. Plan to use only your phone or simple photo equipment. No backpacks or purses are allowed. The cave is fragile, and some areas are tight to walk through.

Caution must be used not to touch any of the cave formations. The oils from your skin will stop the growth of formations.

Purchasing tickets to Cave of the Mounds

Cave of the Mounds Entrance sign

Cave of the Mounds tickets can be purchased online or in person.

Timed tickets are assigned on a first-come, first, serve. You can purchase your tour tickets Online and pick them up at the cave. Or you can buy your tickets when you arrive at the Cave of the Mounds.

Cave of the Mounds is open daily from 9 AM to 5 PM
Tours depart hourly, starting at 10:00 AM
The last tour entry is at 4 PM

Cave admission prices 2022 ~ accurate at the time of publishing
Adult admission (ages 13+) $21.99
Childs admission (ages 4-12) $12.99

Visitors have their choice of taking a guided tour or a self-guided tour. Tour guides are stationed throughout the cave to answer any questions you may have if you choose the self-guided tour. We found the guides very friendly and informative.

The entrance to the cave is through the gift shop area.

What to expect when visiting Cave of the Mounds

The cave will be humid, and water may drip from the ceiling. Be prepared to have water drip on you or your camera. The water will also drip on the walls, which could then splash on you.

During our visit, a tour guide explained that it had rained the day before and that the rainwater starts seeping through the ground and into the cave about 20 hours after it rains. We found it fun to dodge the drips.

Michelle talking to tour guides in a cave
The tour guides are friendly and will share all they know about the caves.

Cave of the Mounds has different signs throughout the cave explaining certain areas. If you have any questions, Cave of the Mounds has some very knowledgeable cave tour guides that will be happy to answer your questions.

The formation of the columns in the cave starts with the limestone and water dripping from the ceiling. This dripping begins the formation of a small tube structure known as the soda straw.

cave Soda straws
Formations known as soda straws

The soda straw is the beginning of stalactite—a complex lime formation hanging from the ceiling of the Cave of the Mounds.

As the limestone water drips down, the straws or stalactite to the ground, and stalagmite forms. As this process continues, the stalactite and the stalagmite might someday reach each other.

The tour guides use a saying to remember the difference between stalactite and stalagmite. ‘Stalactite’ hangs ‘tight’ to the ceiling, and a ‘stalagmite’ ‘might’ one day reach the stalactite.

Smooth formations in a cave

Another type of formation found in Cave of the Mounds is called flowstone. There are several areas in The Cave of the Mounds covered with flowstone.

One of the largest flowstones has been named ‘The Painted Waterfall’ and is incredible with a smooth, flowing, and falling appearance. The flowstone consists of many different natural colors.

cave bathtub

Cave of the Mounds has a ‘cave coral’ above a small pond located on a lower level of the cave. There is a waterline that shows where the water level once was.

If you look closely, white specks on the water look like dust. They are tiny insects called ‘spring-tails.’ Spring-tails are the only living creature living in the Cave of the Mounds.

There is a magnificent large open area in the cave with groupings of larger stalactites collectively named the ‘Cathedral Room.’ Using a bit of imagination, the stalactites look like pipes from a pipe organ. Several weddings have taken place in the Cathedral Room.

One of the unique formations in the cave resembles a parrot. It won’t bite, but if you touch it, the oils from your skin could kill it. The oils will repel the falling water and thus stopping the growth. The parrot is a ‘stalagmite’ that is growing on top of a fallen chunk of ‘stalactites.’

Glow in the dark cave wall
Another unique feature of the cave is the glow-in-the-dark stone wall.

A trip to the top romantic trip destination in Wisconsin wouldn’t be right without a bit of fun.

Check out this little video on YouTube. You won’t want to miss Gary’s shenanigans!!

Near the end of the cave, or at least the end as far as anyone can go, is an area where you can see the reflection of the ceiling in the still water. Every turn in the cave is impressive.

reflection pool

The cave, past this point, is getting too small for people to travel through, so no one knows how far the cave goes.

Things to do when visiting Cave of the Mounds

There are several hands-on activities for adults and kids of all ages to enjoy while visiting the Cave of the Mounds.

Sluicing for gemstones, cracking open ‘geodes,’ or digging for fossils and gems gives everyone a chance to get their hands on gems and get a feel for discovery.

Butterfly Gardens, rock gardens, and hiking and biking trails await the outdoor lover. The beauty of Blue Mound does not start underground. The area in which the cave was discovered offers everyone a chance to get out and enjoy nature.

A romantic picnic area is available for those wanting to pack a lunch and enjoy a hike after exploring the cave. If you forgot to pack a lunch, don’t worry there is a snack shack available.

The visitor center at Cave of the Mounds offers visitor fun shopping. Take home a geo and see what beautiful gems are awaiting you when you take it home and break it open.

Geo

Cave of the Mounds is the ideal day trip for couples. It’s a day filled with excitement and wonder as couples explore underground. There is so much that can’t be shown in pictures and videos. The colors, the textures, the size, and even the feel of being underground traveling through the cave. Even more, is waiting for you above ground.

Start planning your visit to the Cave of the Mounds and experience it yourself. If you visit the Cave of the Mounds, please let them know you read about them in our blog.

The Cave of the Mounds website posts monthly special events like ‘Cave After Dark: Summer Trollstice.’

Things to do near Cave of the Mounds

There are many places to explore and things to do near Cave of the Mounds. You could easily make it a weekend trip with lots of fun and romance.

Troll Town USA ~ Mt. Horeb, WI

Just a few miles from the Cave of The Mounds is the small town of Mount Horeb. The self-proclaimed Troll Capital of the World.

Driving into Mount Horeb, there is no doubt this town has embraced its Scandinavian heritage. There are trolls everywhere. We counted more than 30 lifesize trolls.

Michelle hugging a troll outside Grumpys

Trolls are outside the dentist and businesses. Trolls greet you at the visitors center, and many businesses have trolls on their signs. You can stop in the visitor center and pick up a map of the trolls throughout the town. Each is unique; you won’t want to miss any of them.

The Mount Horeb troll story can be traced to one local gift store, “Open House Imports.” One of the items they sold in their store was trolls, and in 1970, they started placing trolls throughout the town to entice visitors to stop in. The trolls became a special feature of both locals and visitors.

In 1980 a clever marketing campaign was launched using trolls to entice visitors to Mount Horeb. The marketing has worked. The Mount Horeb trolls are mischievous creatures protecting the town and hidden gems.

Michelle kissing a troll
Even trolls need a little love.

In addition to enjoying the trolls around town, a stop at the Driftless Historium, the town’s museum, is a must. Yes, it’s filled with trolls and so much more.

It wouldn’t be right to make a stop in Mount Horeb and not stop in Grumpy’s, the local pub and brewery, for a local draft and a great bite to eat.

House on the Rock ~ Spring Green, Wisconsin

House on the Rock infinity room

House on the Rock is another Wisconsin wonder. To call The House on the Rock unique, quirky, or peculiar is an understatement. This man-made house ( and I use that word very lightly) is a must-see! House on the Rock is only 30 miles from Cave of the Mounds.

House on the Rock was built by Alex Jordan with construction starting in 1945. Many mistake this for one of Frank Loyd Wright’s homes. Speculation is that Jordan built House on the Rock to spite Frank Loyd Wright. Acquaintances that knew Jordan say there is no connection between Jordan’s design style and Wrights. The truth will never be known.

House on the Rock is not just a home. Although Alex Jordan spent most of his life building and furnishing House on the Rock, Alex only spent four nights at the home.

House on the Rock has 13 rooms and can take several hours to go through. Nothing about House on the Rock is ordinary.

house on the rock whale tail

The worlds largest carosel is located in the House on the Rock, an Infinity Room that tapers 218 feet from the house to a point, without any support underneath, creating the uncanny illusion that this room extends into infinity. A larger than lifesize whale doing battle with a squid, a zen garden and so much more.

Gary and Michelle Signature


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