You Can Ride A Boat Down An Underground River In New York, Just A Few Hours From Montreal

You'll have to explore some caves to get there.
Senior Editor
At Howe Caverns New York, You Can Take A Boat Ride Down An Underground River

Hidden beneath the rolling hills of the New York Capital District are the Howe Caverns. In these limestone caves, "solid rock appears fluid: creating strange formations, flowing sheets, and dripping stalactites" that feed the underground River Styx as  it flows "downward to the glassy surface of an underground lake that trails off into the absolute darkness." The hellish depths are open to visitors.

The tour begins with a 156-foot plunge into the Earth.

When elevator doors open, you'll find yourself in a damp, alien environment where the air remains at a cool 11 C with 70-75% humidity.

"As your eyes adjust to the underworld," your ears will have to adapt to the echoing chamber as they whisper tales from hidden cracks and rooms.

A guide will take you through "the enormous main cavern" and "immense galleries," passing "under huge boulders which hang precariously overhead." 

"Your journey will wind through limestone corridors, cavernous galleries, under massive boulders, until you discover a subterranean riverbed carved over countless millennia."

A boat ride takes guests down the mysterious dark stream.

Along the way, you'll get a peek into "grottos [leading] off into distant, unexplored passages" with "secrets" hidden in their "deep cracks and crevices."

The most daring adventurers can reserve a spot on the even more intense "Adventure Tour."

Participants are dressed in coveralls, gloves, boots, and knee pads with only a lighted helmet to illuminate the path before them.

"Your guide will take you through the Mystery Passage, across the dry underground stream bed and up to the Great Rotunda," a "107-foot high, silo-shaped natural dome" reachable by the public "for the first time in more than 125 years."

The "Traditional" 90-minute walking tour and boat ride cost US$25 per person. No reservations are required.

The two-hour adventure tour will set each participant back US$125.

For US$45 on Friday and Saturday, you can also embark on the two-hour "Lantern Tour," for which you'll grab a flashlight and join other fearless scouts for a nighttime exploration of the caves.

Get all the details below.

Howe Caverns

Where: 255 Discovery Drive, Howes Cave, NY

When: Opening hours; check the caverns website and social media pages for updates


Traditional Tour: US$25/person

Lantern Tour: US$45/person

Adventure Tour: US$125/person

Why You Have To Go: For a boat ride down an underground river


We strongly advise that before you go swimming or visit any location, you check the most recent updates on potential hazards, security, water quality, and closures. If you do plan to visit a location, respect the environment.

Thomas MacDonald
Senior Editor
Thomas MacDonald is a Senior Editor for MTL Blog focused on Montreal public transit and is based in Montreal, Quebec.
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