What is the DC Grotto?
District of Columbia Grotto (DCG) is the local chapter of the National
Speleological Society (NSS). Organized caving began in Washington DC in
1939 and we consider our grotto to be the oldest caving organization in
the United States.
We bring unique people together to explore caves in the region. The
Grotto promotes cave exploration, project caving, new cave discovery
and conservation. We take pride in transforming new cavers into
What does DCG do?
The DC Grotto makes your social media accounts incredible. We know,
ours are extraordinary, unbelievable, and astonishing. Actual comments
from normal people. Well, not normal to us but normal to you!
Sport trips are 3-6-hour adventures underground. These trips explore
well known or well-traveled caves. An experienced caver will lead these
trips. Typically, you will travel with 6 to 12 other cavers. A sport
trip will be your first trip with the Grotto. These are the best way to
appreciate the caving experience and expose yourself to Grotto life.
Normally, lots of walking passage, some tight squeezes, mud, wet feet,
and more mud.
As you develop into an experienced caver, your curiosity in project
caving will be overwhelming. Project caving can be several things:
conservation (Cleaning graffiti or trash) mapping/surveying, digging to
discovery virgin passage or connecting existing cave systems together.
Project caving will expose you to the vast community of cavers that
exist in the country sometimes internationally.
As your caving obsession intensifies, vertical rope work will become
attractive - if not a necessity. Many caves consist of pits or vertical
drops. Some are simple 20-foot nuisance drops, others are hundreds of
feet deep. Knowledge is passed from one caver to the next. Many
opportunities for vertical training exist. The high angle techniques
are very specific to caving and shared amongst our most cherished
Would you like to spend two weeks underground? Would you like to
explore one mile under the Earth’s surface? While DC Grotto does not
host these advanced trips – We know who does! We know who and how to
get on a Discovery Channel documentary. Just sayin!
Who are the members?
Every type of person that exist in America! Our members are therapists,
geologists, fire fighters, PHD’s, pizza delivery people and the
unemployed. The unemployed are the hardcore cavers. Trust me -- you
will fit in!
The Grotto meets each month on the third Sunday of the month. You do
not need to join to attend a meeting. Meetings are a great way to meet
members and gain a better understanding of the Grotto. We meet at a
local bar/restaurant. The Grotto has a 40-year history in Montgomery
County and currently meet in the Silver Spring/Bethesda area. Guests
are always welcome at meetings.
How do I join?
We don't have any entrance requirements except a commitment to safe
and cave conservation. You do not have to be a member of the
Speleological Society to join the DC Grotto (although there are many
to NSS membership).
Your best option is to come to the next meeting, meet some of the
cavers and sign up. If you can't wait,
membership information is available