Maine Caves  

Maine caves can be found in limestone, granite and sandstone. While one does not connect caving with Maine, it does have some very nice small caves of various origins. There has been no continuing caving organization or group in Maine but there have been several different groups working independently which has lead to many different names. Most of the caves in Maine are found on private lands so cavers should always ask before they explore. Caving can also be a cold experience as you squeeze through tight wet places with the underground temperature ranging from just above freezing in the north and mountains to 5C in the south. While many of the caves are not found in limestone many of the caves do have formation, mostly white and small some are very interesting. Maine has several caves that are closed to the public, include Horse Mtn. Cave* in Baxter State Park, Champlain Mtn Cave* and a large pseudokarst cave* on Champlain cliffs that conatains a large natural bridge both in Acadia National Park. These caves are closed not because of past human activity but because they are nesting areas for the Peregrine Falcon. Maine caves have many interesting life forms examples include the tidal pool deep sea life in Anemone Cave*, the salamanders and frogs found in Enchanted Cave*, the unique mushrooms growing in the Allagash Ice Caves*, the Luminous Moss found in several downeast caves*, or the healthy population Little Brown Bats found wintering in several of Maine's Caves. Some caves are very well known to hikers such as The Cave at Baxter State Park or Fat Man's Misery* found on the Tumbledown Mtn Trail. But most of the caves in Maine are not well known or visited. Currently, the best publications on the caves of Maine appear in the form of articles in the regional NSS publication the Northeast Caver or the NSS Speleodigest.


Maine Caving

Information

 


Maine Sea Caves

Sandstone sea caves and erosional sea caves are found in several places along the Maine coast. The sandstone sea caves are in the downeast region just north of Eastport near Robinson. While the erosional sea caves are found in the granite that makes up much of the Maine coast line. These caves include such caves as Day Mountain Cave, Blowing Cave* and Gulliver's Hole*. The caving sea kayaker has a number places to find small sea caves on the many islands and in the rocky coves along the Maine coast.

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Maine Talus/Fissure Caves

These caves are found mostly in the various types of granite across ther state of Maine. They are caused by large slabs or piles of house sized boulders and have formed across the state. These caves are the most common types of caves found in Maine and include Allagash Ice Cave*, Inmans Cave* and Grotto Cave*.

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Maine Limestone Caves

There are a number of small bands of limestone found in the southern part of Maine and most of the northeastern part of Maine is limestone. While there are large deposits of limestone most of it does not favor the formation of caves. There are some small pockets of limestone that do have caves which include Indian Pond Cave, Marble Pond Cave* and Enchanted Cave*.

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Maine's Ten Longest and Deepest Caves

Longest /Deepest

Witherle E-T Cave

400 m

Allagash Ice Cave

21 m

Allagash Ice Cave

291 m

Witherle E-t Cave

15 m

Mahoosuc Ice Cave

660 m

Little Peaked Mtn Cave

18.1 m

Moose and Squirrel Cave

233 m

Grotto Cave

13.8 m

Saddleback Mtn Talus Cave

210 m

Champlain Mtn Cave

13 m

Champlain Mtn Cave

210 m

Saddleback Mtn Cave

12 m

Twin Towers Cave

178 m

Inman Cave

11.6 m

Southwest Pathfinders Cave

170 m

Mahoosuc Ice Cave

10 m

Enchanted Cave

140 m

Southwest Pathfinder Cave

7.0 m

Marble Pond Cave

119 m

Debsconeag Ice Cave

4.9 m

The length and depth of Maine Caves are constantly changing with every new discovery and lead pushed, so this list is subject to a great deal of change in the near future.

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Maine Caves by Region

These regions are the same as the Maine Tourist Regions

making Maine Tourist Information easier to find.

Cave Regions

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Southern Maine Coast

There are few caves found in this area that would interest the cave explorer. What caves there are can be found on the off shore islands and have been reported by sea kayaker. These is one small cave in Kennebunkport called Blowing Cave,* where a sea cleft spouts spectacular surf up to 30 feet into the air just before high tide. The water enters a small cave and is force out the cleft in the back.

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Greater Portland & Casco Bay

There are few caves found in this area. What caves there are can be found on the Casco Bay Islands. These small sea caves are often explored by sea kayaker but offer little interest to the cave explorer.

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Maine Lakes & Mountains

This region of Maine is best known for its wilderness lakes and mountains. Most of the area is remote will rocky steep areas. The area has many talus caves which include Mahoosuc Ice Cave* found in one of the larger talus system, Greenwood Ice Cave* a very popular cave near Bryant Pond and Table Rock Slab Cave* or Moose Cave* located in Grafton State Park. Moose Cave* is as close as Maine has to a commercial cave with its underground walkways.

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Mid-Coast

There are a number of small bands of limestone and marble found in this area but because it has a long history of farming and mining so many sections have been quarried away. There still remain reports of sinks and small limestones in this area. The caves in the area include Inman's Cave* in Camden Hill State Park, Murderer's Cave* near Bath and Delano Hill Cave near Freindship, one of Maine's few protected caves.

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Downeast Acadia

There are many caves found in this area of the state. The large number of caves in the region is because of the number of summer explorers found in this area of Maine. Caves can be found in three distinctly difference sections of the region. Caves are found on Mount Desert Island, Downeast (eastern coastal Maine) and amoung the inland cliffs along route 9.

In the inland areas of Downeast there are many caves that are caused by the southwestern movement of the glacier. Examples of these caves would be Grotto Cave* near Ellsworth, Blueberry Cave* in Waltham, and Little Peaked Mtn Cave* near Aurora.

In the Downeast coastal section there are several caves that would be of interest to the cave explorer. Examples of these caves would include Gulliver's Hole* (West Quoddy Head Cave) near Lubec, Magurrewock Cave* near Baring and the Lewis Cove Sea Cave near Robinson. There is a long rocky coast with little access and few town as well as many off-shore island offering the sea kayaker/cave explorer many chances to explore.

Mount Desert Island is the home of most of Acadia National Park which is the site of Maine's only recorded caving death in 1969. It is also the center for sea kayaking in Maine and the many island in the area offer the sea kayaker the chance to explore the many small caves that are found on these islands. The man-made stone bridges around located on the park paths have a large number of formations on the underside due to the limestone used to hold them together. Caves on the island include The Ovens* a series of natural arch caves near Salsbury Cove, Day Mtn Cave an emerged sea cave and Anemone Cave* with its deep sea tidal pools.

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Kennebec & Moose River Valley

This is Maine region for waterwater and does not have many towns in the upper valley. It does have Maine's longest limestone cave which is called Enchanted Cave* and the Enchanted system which is located just south of Jackman. Most of the other caves in the area are formed from small talus fields or rock piles of rocks along the edge of streams, Houston Brook Cave just north of Bingham is an example of one of these caves.

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Katahdin Moosehead Penquis

This region of Maine is popular due to the presence of Baxter State Park. Caves in this area be found outside the park and inside the park both on Katahdin and in other areas of the park. The region is remote and contains several deposits of limestone as well as many talus fields.

In Baxter State Park the caves that are found on the mountain (Mt Katadhin) are generally found along trails or they have well maintain trail to their entrances. Examples of the caves that can be found on the mountain would include The Cave (more a shelter cave) on the Hunt trail, Pamola Ice Caves* on the Dudley trail and Chimney Pond Talus Cave* on the edge of Chimney Pond.

Baxter State Park is a large park and contains a large wilderness area as well as many other mountains. Examples of caves that can be found in the northern section or the more remote sections of the park would include Horse Mtn Cave with its view of the lake, Witherle E-T Cave* with its year round ice and Pahtfinder Cave in the remote talus fields of the northwest basin.

There are also cave found outsude the park that are much easier to access and just as interesting to explore. Most of these caves have a long history. Examples of these caves would include Marble Pond Cave* one of the few limestone caves, Twin Towers Cave* or Moose and Squirrel Cave* found in the large Barren Mountain talus field and Indian Pond Cave near the start of the Allagash Wilderness Waterway.

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Aroostook

Large deposits of limestone can be found in eastern Aroostook County including a town called Limestone but most offers little potential for caves. The caves that are found in Aroostook county are fissure or talus caves. The caves that are know are on public lands, not because of lack of access but because of a lack of exploring. Examples of the regional caves include Allagash Ice Caves, Deoullie Caves and Haystack Cave.

The Deboullie Caves* located in the Deboullie Township Public Lands, which is seventy miles north of Baxter State Park in the center of Aroostook County. It is a remote and isolated area that is biologically diverse containing over twenty-two deep spring feed ponds, which are all over 1000 feet in elevation and four rugged mountains with sheer cliffs, talus fields and ice caves. These intrusions are rare in northern Maine so when the glacier made its mark on the region the harder rock had remained to formed many sheer cliffs and at least a dozen large talus fields.

Allagash Ice Caves* are fissure caves located on the south shore of Allagash Lake in the Allagash Wilderness Waterway 100 miles west of Ashland by dirt roads. The caves are extensive with many formations found in the deeper passages. This is one of the more visited caves in the state yet shows little underground evidence because most people visiting the caves visit only the first fifty to one hundred feet because the caves are tight, wet and cold.

Haystack Cave is on Haystack Mountain in the Haystack Public Lot maintained by the community of Castle Hill under an agreement with the state. There have also been caves reported on the Squa Pan Public Lot and there have been reports of caves in the Rocky Brook area in the very north.

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Cave Hunting in Maine

Much of Maine is forested which coupled with the fact that there has been little caving done in Maine makes it an excellent place to find new caves. There is a large band of cliffs running southwest from Otis to the sea that has a number of fissure caves with many areas still unexplored. There are a number of extremely large talus fields in Baxter State Park but most are extremely remote. The largest are found in the Little North Basin and Northwest Basin. There are a number of small deposits of limestone and marble found across the state that offer good potential for finding new caves. Finally the coast of Maine is rock bound with many cliffs, coves and islands. Much of it has not been explored for caves and sea kayaking in just beginning to become structured and allowed around many of the privately owned islands off the coast. Unlike most of the country where ridges and mountains have been explored extensively, Maine has had little structured exploration therefore offers the cave explorer the chance to find something new and be the first to explore. In the north there have been caves reported in the Squa Pan Public Lot and reports of caves in the Rocky Brook area near the Quebec border. In the Rockland area there has been reports of a small limestone cave, still remains to be rediscovered. Then there is the report of a cave in Orland located somewhere on Cave Hill. If you like pirate stories there is the report of Captain Kidd‚s Cave near Deer Isle. The list of old cave report just continues to go on and on. Some are there and some are just stories from the past either way there are many caves still left to be discovered in Maine.

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Caves in Canada

There are a number of caves that can be found in Canada in the areas surrounding Maine both to the north and the east. The caves that are found in the Quebec area mostly limestone caves while the caves of New Brunswick are made of both limestone and gypsum. Below you will find links to regional information on caving in Canada.

New Brunswick Caves

Caving Canada

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The information contained in this page is not designed to be a cave guide for the state

but more of a sample of what the state has to offer the cave explorer.

Maine does not have large limestone caves but Maine caving is unique

giving the cave explorer a chance to explore without crowds

and a chance to discover something new.


* indicates that further cave information can be found in either

Speleodigest or the Northeast Caver


For more information please contact :

This page created December 8, 1998.

 Last updated 14-Dec-98