Island Ford Cave of Covington

Island Ford Cave of Covington

Island Ford Cave is along Valley Ridge Road, next to the Jackson River, parallel to US Route 60, on the outskirts of the city of Covington, Alleghany County, Virginia.

Island Ford Cave of Covington

This cave is one of the easiest accessible non commercial caves in Virginia. It begins as a massive rock opening entrance and ends inside with a freshwater pool. This water is home to crayfish and isopods. There is evidence of the geological Pleistocene age at this site.

Island Ford Cave of Covington
The West Virginia Cave Conservancy Kiosk

It is thought that the cave was discovered in the 1930’s when the US-Route 60 was being created.

The cave itself is almost 600 feet long. Not even measuring a quarter of a mile it still offers a moderate caving experience for beginners.

Old Photo of Island Ford Cave
Photo from Caves of Virginia Book, Pre – 1960’s.

There are two levels; an ‘upper’ and ‘lower’. The upper is where cave spelunkers walk and the lower provides a stream. This water exits underneath the entrance and into the Jackson River.

Part of the management plan set up by the West Virginia Cave Conservatory are as follows :

  1. No camping or open fires will be permitted.
  2. All trash and human waste must be packed out.
  3. Motorized vehicles are prohibited except in designated parking areas and roadways.
  4. The collection, destruction, and/or removal of plants, animals, minerals, or
    historical/cultural items are strictly forbidden.
  5. Defacement or marring of the cave in any permanent or semi-permanent manner is
    prohibited. This includes the placement of bolts, anchors, graffiti, and/or directional
    paint markings.
  6. No littering or glass containers are allowed.
  7. Hunting and/or the discharge of firearms or fireworks are prohibited.
  8. No commercial activity, including cave-for-pay, will be allowed on the property.
  9. Visitors’ conduct shall conform to National Speleological Society conservation
    guidelines, and to NSS Safety and Techniques Committee recommendations.
  10. Visitors are expected to comply with all applicable state and federal laws.
Island Ford Cave of Covington
Dead bear carcass near the cave entrance and river

Where is Island Ford Cave located? You can find it with these coordinates. 37.780429, -79.923159.

island ford aerial location

Photographs from Abandoned Playgrounds. Except image four which is used under fair use / education from Caves of Virginia Book.

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