Ledge View Nature Center
W2348 Short Road, Chilton, WI 53014
Ledge View Nature Center Website
Ledge View Nature Center has caves. These natural holes in dolomitic limestone bedrock were formed first by groundwater, then additionally by meltwater from the Wisconsinan glacier thousands of years ago. A lot of sediment came in with the meltwater, too, and some of it’s still here. Four distinct caves offer visitors unique spelunking experiences.
Bat Cave Sink
Bat Cave Sink is a walk-in cave and is accessed by stairs and then a walk-in door. People tend to love starting their cave exploration here in that it is less intimidating than some of the other caves (and because the guide has very entertaining stories about the cave!). Like the other caves, this cave began as a sink hole. Many tons of mud and loose rock poured through the cave with glacial melt waters. Over a period of years volunteers excavated the debris and found the cave. In this Niagara Dolomite cave, you will find stalactites and cave drapery, among other formations. This cave is, as its name indicates, used by bats for winter hibernation. Also found in this "live" cave are cave spiders and cave crickets.
Carolyn’s Caverns is the favorite of many with its large "Dave’s Sink". This ever evolving cave system is accessed through a metal door and down a ladder, involves many passageways, and leads to a large room known as "Dave’s Sink" (formally a sinkhole). Prior to 1986, the whole cave system known as "Carolyn’s Caverns" was also just a sinkhole. However, in that year, members of the Wisconsin Speleological Society, including Carolyn Schleis, for whom the cave was named, dug through a sinkhole and broke into the cave. Much of the first and second rooms were plugged up with rocks and mud, until members of the Wisconsin Conservation Corps dug them out. Even today the caves continue to be dug out and expanded by volunteers. The depth of the cave is over 35 feet, with an overall passageway in excess of 300 feet. Cave formations include a cave coral, cave drapery, stalactites, drip cups, columns and flowstone. Like Montgomery Cave, Carolyn’s Caverns are formed out of Niagara Dolomite.
Montgomery Cave has been visited since the 1860's. This popular cave has a vertical depth of about 30 feet and a total linear passageway over 225 feet. The cave has at least three rooms. Unique features in the rooms include circular chimneys, calcite crystal fromations, and many side passageways. The cave temperature is approximately 46 degrees. Wildlife in the cave is scarce, excepting a few cave crickets, and in winter months, a small colony of hibernating little brown bats. It is believed this cave had its origins before the last glacial melting, about 10,000 years ago. The cave is a "solution" cave and was formed in a limestone named Niagara Dolomite.
Mothers Cave is for the most adventurous spelunker! It involves plenty of belly crawling fun passageways. The passageways span a linear distance over 300 feet. The first part of the cave involves climbing down a seven foot vertical drop in the limestone and then lying down and crawling through a passageway known as "The Squeeze", a narrow tunnel. The ceiling height of the first room is only two and a half feet! An ascending 20 foot channel leads to a second room, which is approximately 45 feet long and 20 feet wide, with a whopping three foot ceiling height. Cave features include a large stalactite, beautiful flowstone, domepit, and fossils. Mothers Cave was discovered on Mother’s Day 1986 by Wisconsin Speleological Society member, Norb Kox.