ROADSIDE MICHIGAN: Bear Cave: Michigan’s Only Glacial Cavern
A glacial cave? Here in Michigan? You betcha.
You'll find Bear Cave not far away, a few miles north of Buchanan in Southwest Michigan. A glacial drift formed this creepy but cool cave over 10,000 years ago and is thought to be the only cavern in Michigan.
Before you expect too much, it's not as expansive and intricate as Mammoth Caves or some of the others in the continental United States...it's only approximately 150 feet but it does have multiple rooms, odd formations, fossils, boulders, pools of water, and cave pearls. Many limestone deposits - called tufa - cake the cave walls up to 18 feet thick.
There is also a hidden room called the "Slave Room," as it was part of the 1800's Underground Railroad that was used to hide & protect slaves escaping for freedom.
And yes, there are bats.
Within an area that was once inhabited by the Potawatomi tribe, this cave is open to seekers of the curious and formations are marked & identified.
You'll also see the "Tulip Tree" where the Potawatomi held council; the tree has branches that are said to have been bent permanently by Indian braves who stood or sat on them as they were on the lookout for intruders.
Take M-60 through Niles west to Buchanan. Go north on 'Red Bud Trail N' to 'Bear Cave Road'...turn right and there you are!
Pretty darn cool...add this to your Michigan roadtrip; but hurry before summer's over!