Sand Cave – Ewing, Virginia - Atlas Obscura

Sand Cave

Cumberland Gap National Historical Park
Ewing, Virginia

Erosion has transformed this sandstone boulder into a massive dune-filled cavern. 

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Visitors to Sand Cave, tucked inside Cumberland Gap National Historical Park, will be surprised to find themselves standing on beach-like sand, rather than stone. The cavern’s sandy floor is mostly due to erosion.  The cave was once a huge piece of sandstone, but over many years, wind hollowed out the rock, forming Sand Cave, a 250-foot wide grotto filled with, you guessed it: sand.

These days, few venture into Sand Cave, most likely because of the long hike to get to it.  However, those who do take the time to visit this cavern are sure to be impressed with the sheer scale of the structure, as well as the scenic woodlands around it.

Know Before You Go

Sand Cave is accessible via a 3.9 mile hike through Cumberland State Park.


The trail begins at Civic Park Trailhead, located in Ewing, Virginia.  Entrance is free, and dogs are permitted, but motor vehicles (including hang-gliders, apparently) are not allowed on the trail.


The cave itself is actually in Kentucky, but almost all of the trail is in Virginia, so both states have claimed this landmark as their own.


If you’re willing to do some more hiking, the White Rocks of Cumberland are within a few miles of Sand Cave.

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May 14, 2024

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