Merlins Cave Preserve consists of 35 acres and is located in the town of Canaan in Columbia County, New York.

Merlins Cave currently exists in nearly pristine condition. Therefore, all trips require a trained Cave Steward who is thoroughly familiar with the cave and as participated in Steward-training exercises. In addition all trips are at the discretion of the Preserve Managers. Steward trainings are held periodically and will be announced via the NRO/NSS and Northeastern Cave Conservancy list-serves.

Cavers visiting Merlins cave should be aware of areas marked by caution tape, as these areas are either particularly fragile or unstable. A trail is marked from the parking area past the Dragon Bones Cave entrance to the Merlins Cave entrance. Established trails should be used to access the caves.

Due to the nature of the cave, at this time institutional users may give surface tours of the property only. Please contact the NCC special use coordinators for more information.

  • Minimum group size is 3; maximum group size is 8; maximum number of simultaneous trips is 3.
  • All persons entering the cave must have at least the following minimum equipment: helmet with a chin strap; three (3) sources of light, one of which must be helmet mounted; and knee pads. In addition, some parts of the cave also require vertical gear to safely negotiate.
  • Cave exploration and hiking on karst terrain may involve risk or injury, even death from various hazards, both obvious and obscure, including, but not limited to, slippery and uneven ground, open pits, injury by acts of other people, falling, being struck by falling objects, becoming lost, the presence or sudden appearance of water, and hypothermia. All cave visitors are expected to abide by the normally accepted rules of safe and conservation minded caving as outlined by the National Speleological Society, 6001 Pulaski Pike, Huntsville, Alabama 35810-1122.
  • Merlins Cave must be treated as a unique natural resource, and nothing should be taken out of the cave except trash.
  • All work projects must be clearly defined and authorized beforehand.
  • Each group is expected to clean up any trash in the cave or on the property.
  • Special Use Groups: Insurance or certificate thereof may be required for private groups such as schools, camps, and scouts. Groups such as the Boy Scouts will be required to show proof that they are complying with their own rules regarding caving.
  • Follow US Fish and Wildlife's decontamination procedures for WNS