The abandoned Lowmoor manganese mine can be found in the vicinity of Rich Park Road near Karnes Creek in Low Moor, Alleghany County, Virginia.
Lowmoor Cave is a dry maze meaning it lacks running water through it. The ground is red ceramic clay, very thick mud. It has elements of lead and iron. The rocks contain many fossils that can be seen on the walls and ceilings. Helictite (also known as eccentric stalactite) can be seen on some ceilings and even one spot on the cave floor. These are distorted forms of stalactite, much smaller and resemble twigs. Helictite is easily broken, very fine and made from calcium carbonate.
The magnificent quarry entrance rises over 50 feet and is held in place by large rock pillars. Debris from quarrying is very evident at this entrance as it is big enough for trucks to drive into.
It seems as if a complete mapping of the cave system has not been fully documented. The map that was used for this adventure was dated 1949, from a book published in 1964. This traverse occurred in 2014, 65 years after the map was made and 50 years since the book was published! Karnes Creek was also spelled Carnes Creek in documentation.
There are several locations noted through Lowmoor cave and quarry. These include : Hell’s Auditorium, Mud Room, Break Room, the “Hell Hole”, Ship Room and features beautiful spots like Dragon’s Teeth, a Natural Bridge, Devil’s Desk and the Crystal Room.
The “Break Room” was a vast room filled with large boulders. These chunks were so big it looked as if they fell from the ceiling itself. A large under ground room in the midst of passage ways.
Dragon’s Teeth was a bunch of stalactites and stalagmites. The “Crystal Room” was a beautifully filled space that glittered in the glow of the flashlight.
The “Mud Room” was filled with initials or words of people who had rolled some very sticky, dense red clay into shapes of there their choosing.
Markings through out the cave varied greatly in date ranges some very old but prevalence definitely picked up in the 1980’s. It obviously became popular with local youth as beer cans filled one a large crater hole near the cave entrance (not the quarry entrance).
An old iron ladder was even used as a crossing “bridge” over a large circular hole. This ladder is even mentioned in the book!
It is so very easy to get lost, turn around or confused when spending time in caves. Make sure to always ask owner permission and to alert multiple parties of your whereabouts. As with any place that is abandoned, forgotten caves, unused mines, etc; do not damage, take, break or abuse the natural state of things. A cave’s ecosystem and life is very delicate. The future of these precious things remain in our hands.
The previous owner was Martha Lipsey and it resides right alongside National Forest. Hunting is done on the property and there is also a rifle range nearby, unauthorized access to this land and cave is not allowed. It is located on Private Property.
You can find Lowmoor Cave and quarry around these coordinates. 37.783615, -79.891293.
REMINDER : Caving is dangerous. Trespassing is illegal. This information is for education purposes only. Abandoned Playgrounds and associated is not to be held accountable for any persons actions or decisions.
All images by Abandoned Playgrounds except #3 which is from aforementioned book and being used under Fair Use act for educational purposes.