Urbania caves

Urbania caves near Stewiacke, NS


This trail was given a rating of 5 out of 5 stars This trail was given a rating of 5 out of 5 stars This trail was given a rating of 5 out of 5 stars This trail was given a rating of 5 out of 5 stars This trail was given a rating of 5 out of 5 stars
3 kms
2hours
moderate
Hiking, Snowshoeing
Summer, Fall, Winter, Spring
Stewiacke, NS
User Benlalonde

This is a rare treat. After beating around the bush in a bunch of places in Nova Scotia, I have discovered two unknown caves…… woohooooooo!!!!!!!. These are unknown in the sense that they are not on any list of caves sites compiled by NS DNR or by the NS Speleological Society. One of the caves is big enough for you to get in and walk upright a good 20m or more….

I started to look at caves back in the winter of 2011. My true passion has always been to seek out the many beautiful and hidden waterfalls of Nova Scotia. However this pastime becomes difficult in the winter and the pictures usually do not reflect the beauty of these places. After spending some time over old reports from Canadian caver magazine, NS Speleological society, NSDNR documents, etc…I began to seek out the “known” caves in NS. Some of these I have posted in the past on trailpeak.

However, in order to truly explore, I wanted to find some caves that were unchartered. Well as of this week, I can finally strike off this wish. It started when I was looking at some maps showing limestone/gypsum deposits in the province. By reading these descriptions and cross-referencing with topo maps, I made up a list of possible locations.

You start off in a pasture off the main highway. Walk to the back end of the pasture and down the small hill covered by ferns and small birch trees. At the bottom of the hill to your left, you should see the brook. Cross it as it is easier to walk on the opposite side. On the opposite side, you will, maybe, find an ATV trail that will take you to the first big limestone outcrop. If you do not find it just follow that little stream. After only 5 minutes or so, the stream will disappear under a large limestone mound. At first (see my gps track), I did not see the stream disappearing as I was on the right hand side of the brook (facing downstream). I had made it to the large limestone outcrop and I followed it seeking out some opening. There was a somewhat large one that you could probably dig through but the opening was full of porcupine dung…I am not such a keen caver to pursue that one. After looking at the base of the limestone cliffs on that side and not finding anything else of value, I made my way to the top of the mound. Up there is a lot of blow down and lots of sinks so watch out!

I eventually made it back to my starting point in front of the mound of limestone but this time I followed the small stream. To my surprise, it disappeared under the large mound. The opening here is only 3/4ft. I then followed the limestone cliff on that side of the limestone mound and saw the stream reappear from a hole in between huge limestone boulders. The stream then disappeared under some more boulders. There are some high exposed cliffs of limestone in this area and immediately in front of those cliffs is an old pasture. Just a few meters more and I saw a large opening. I easily slipped inside the cave and stood up. There is a small brook that is actively carving the cave. The walls and ceiling are pure white in color.

In times of high water, the brook has deposited lots of mud on the sides of the limestone passage but you can still step on either side of the brook so as not to get your feet wet. Off in the distance, I could see on the left side a small skylight. There is a smaller opening at this point to the outside. Just across from this skylight is a secondary passage that takes you in another direction. This passage was low and I did not explore any further that way. Following the brook you come to a large boulder in the middle of the stream that has been carved out by the water leaving a small natural bridge. The cave seems to end a few meters beyond this but I am sure the passage of water has carved out some more passage but I am not sure if they are passable.

Got back outside and saw where the water exits the limestone outcrop. I then followed the stream for a minute or so as it entered a mature evergreen forest. Amazingly the small stream disappears in a sump in the middle of the forest. The water does not enter a cave in that sense but more or less enters a hole in the forest floor. You can see that sometimes the water will sit there and create a pond until the water is able to flow into the hole. I then walked incorrectly in a direction where I thought the water would exit. I did not find the water but ultimately found an ATV track. I followed the track and then reentered the evergreen forest top finally spot a small pond where water was actively entering. This must be the outlet.

Since the stream disappeared after this little pond, I again did not follow the right track and spent a few minutes in the woods in an area with small sinkholes. On my way back to the evergreen forest mentioned before, I finally saw and entered a small area where the ground has slumped exposing some limestone cliffs of about 20ft. At the base of the cliffs, you can see the small stream appearing and disappearing a few times into the rock. One of those opening is big enough to crawl in...cave #2.

Directions:

Highway 215 to Urbania. Park opposite the Rose Meadow Rd. The field I started in is the one opposite the Rose Meadow Rd.


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