The cave was formeed out of the Devonian limestone of the Elbingerode (Harz) complex during the shaping of the Bode Valley. It was discovered in 1866 during road works and was soon opened up to visitors.
As a result of being protected early on its rich dripstone stalactites and stalagmites have been largely preserved. The cave is well known for, amongst other things, the discovery of numerous bones of cave bears. The cave was comprehensively surveyed by J. H. Klooß, Robert Nehring (1888) and Dr. Ing. Friedrich Stolberg (1932). Progressive exploration since 1970 has uncovered and surveyed previously unknown chambers.