185 stairs fill this narrow passage developed within a vertical joint in the granite between the Rock Pile and Pulpit Rock. The top portion of the joint is a mass of boulders and blocks, some of which have fallen into the crack and created the "eye of the needle.” As you thread your way through the Needle's Eye, hang on tight and stay focused on the light at the end of the tunnel. You have just conquered the “Ultimate (Outdoor) Stairmaster!”
Near the bottom of Needle's Eye is Moonshiner's Cave, an example of a talus cave, which formed when a very large slab of Henderson Gneiss exfoliated from the main mountain wall and slid to the cliff base. It formed the small cave by leaning back against the mountain and creating an opening. Talus or fissure caves are very different from limestone caverns (Mammoth Cave, Carlsbad Caverns), which form through dissolution of limestone by acid water. The often picturesque stalactites and stalagmites are normally missing in non-limestone caves. The cave is too cold for bats to use as hibernating quarters, but in summer a few are often found resting in the high recesses.