Exploring the Sunderland Caves

Have you ever been inside a cave? I find that entering a cave is a surreal experience. The sounds of the forest become muted. Suddenly, everything is silent.

the entrance of the cave

With the desire to discover some new places, I did some online research. After going through websites, videos, and trail maps, I learned about the existence of a secret cave.

Located in Sunderland Massachusetts, the cave is actually just passageways in-between cliffs. It’s made up of conglomerate rock, which is a mix of little rocks. The resulting texture of the stone is intricate and beautiful.

conglomerate rock

The Adventure

I invited my friend, Emme, to join for this adventure. After a 30 minute drive to the reservation, and a 20-minute hike up
Mt. Toby, we found the caves.

Near the cave entrance, Emme discovered a Geocache. In it, there was a small logbook dating back to 2003.

After entering the cave, we spotted a porcupine in an offshoot. We tried not to disturb the creature, and proceeded onward.

The inside of the cave was so silent, it felt like being underwater. Light was shining through an opening in the roof. Through the gap, you could see some tree branches in the wind.

The cave itself is small. It starts off narrow and opens up to a spacious room. From this space, a corridor branches off to form a bumpy hallway. Something about this “hallway” seems almost constructed or man-made. Look at the below image to see what I mean.

The corridor

Using Photography for Exploration

As we traversed the caves I took many pictures. I use my camera as a means of connecting with places in a new way. This is because the camera challenges me to absorb all the details of the scenery. By photographing the scene, I form a personal connection with my environment.

I appreciated the chaotic formations of the rocks. The darkness was like a blank canvas for light. The cramped spaces were claustrophobic but fun. However, there was something even more fascinating than the caves.

The Surroundings

The surroundings of the cave were flourishing. Unlike the rest of the forest, which was normal, the area surrounding the caves was filled with life. Being outside the caves was invigorating.

Have you ever heard of ley lines? Some people believe that there’s an interconnected network of energy on the earth. If ley lines are real, then these caves are undoubtedly a part of that network.


Something about this place sparked my imagination. It made me wonder about the history of the area. Had anyone ever taken shelter there? How long have these rock formations existed?

For some reason, I felt like there were more secrets waiting to be uncovered. Maybe if life were like a movie, there would be some secret door hidden in the cliffside. Perhaps the secret doorway leads to an old library. Long lost knowledge of a forgotten time.


Exiting a cave is intense. As I emerged, my senses became heightened. After having been conditioned to the cold silence of the cave, the sensory experience of the forest was overwhelming. The sunlight felt warmer, the colors looked more vibrant, and the air smelled like cedarwood.

I recommend you try exploring a cave. I found it to be an exciting experience. Just be careful as caves can be very dangerous. Proper gear and precautions are necessary. Never go alone. As compelling and beautiful as they are, they’re indifferent to life as they are to death.