Known for nearly two centuries as Saltpetre Cave, this area is a geological wonder. The cave complex is named for potassium nitrate or saltpetre—the white, crusty efflorescence that appears on the ceilings of several recesses. While only 14 acres in size, the preserve features a remarkable display of recess caves.
One cave, featuring a natural arch at the 100-foot opening, is 124 feet deep with an 8-foot high ceiling that permits easy access for about the first 75 feet. A second cave is 143 feet deep and 125 feet wide at the opening—again with an 8-foot high ceiling toward the entrance. Yet another cave is actually 3 recess caves stacked one atop the other.
Beaver and other wildlife abound among the hemlock, birch and tulip trees that grow on the slope below the caves. While not a wildflower showcase, partridgeberry, pinesap, Indian pipe, and several fungi provide splashes of color along the trail that connects the cave entrances.
An access permit from the Division of Natural Areas and Preserves is required to visit the preserve.