Caverns in PA: 10 Fascinating Caves to Explore

9 mins read
pennsylvania on the map
By: Alexander Lukatskiy/Shutterstock

PA is famous for being called the Chocolate Capital of the USA, but did you know that nature also offers something equally magnificent?

It is truly said that nature has its way, and due to its unique geological creation,  Pennslyvania has so many different caves. And while many of these locations are off-limits to visitors or completely unexplored, some are free for tours and exploring.

Suppose you are a nature enthusiast, an ardent explorer, or just a normal person looking for a vacation spot; you might like to visit these river caverns in PA. Let me tell you that many beautiful caverns in PA that are open for tourists to visit. There are friendly for the young and the old and are adored by all generations.

Caverns in PA: 10 Fascinating Caves to Explore

Caverns are caves beneath the surface of the earth that lie underground beneath its many layers. Caves in Pennsylvania could be formed due to a river flowing through them or the earth’s shifting, but they leave the beautiful wonders of nature in their wake.

Tourists have been left awed at the beauty that lies beneath the earth. This article will let you know about the 10 Best caverns in PA. These caves, formed over a million years ago, are natural cavities formed in Pennsylvania’s ridge and valley regions.

1. Indian Caverns

These caves are situated in Spruce Creek, Pennsylvania. These caverns first came into existence around 500,000 years ago. They were first named “Franklin Caves” but were later changed to the “Historic Indian Caves” after the ancient artifacts belonged to the last tribes.

Spruce Creek/Mohawk Lakes Hiking Trail; Breckenridge, CO
By: Beth Harvey/Shutterstock

It is the second-largest cavern in PA and is made of limestone. One part adorns a phosphorescent mineral deposit that glows softly in the dark, making a pleasing effect in the dim caves. The caves remain around 13 degrees Celsius all year round, so if you ever decide to visit these caves, you should wear warm clothes.

2. Woodward Caverns

The Woodward Cave was first opened to people in 1926. It was formed by Penns Creek, forming many rooms that are open for tourists to visit. You can see ancient fossils on the caverns’ walls upon entering the caverns, which fascinates the explorers.

The caverns are made up of leveled walls with stalactites and stalagmites in most of its rooms but what is most interesting is that it shelters the largest stalagmite formation in the whole of PA known as the “Tower of Babel,” which is 14 feet in height.

This is precisely located in the room called The Hall of Statues. The other famous rooms this cavern consists of are The Hanging Forest, which holds the highest number of stalactites and stalagmites. The Ballroom holds dances and feasts, The Square Room features delicate cave corals, etc.

3. Lost River Caverns

Lost River Caverns is a spectacular masterpiece and can be found in the picturesque Lehigh Valley region, which is home to a wealth of great family-friendly activities.

Five beautiful chambers make up the caves in this location, home to numerous stalactites, stalagmites, and other crystal formations, as well as a wide range of glow-in-the-dark minerals.

Dark flooded abandoned mine tunnel.
By: Vladimir Mulder/Shutterstock

The cave consistently maintains a temperature of 11 degrees Celsius all year round, making it rather cool underground regardless of the weather outside.

An interesting fact about the cave is why it is called the Lost River Caverns, and it is said so because, to this date, the origin of the river flowing through it is unknown to humankind.

You can stroll around the 1,200 feet of paved pathways, which need just eight steps to ascend, and marvel at the magnificent natural beauty. It is fascinating to learn about how the Earth creates tunnels like these and actually to witness it in reality.

3.1 How long does it take to go through Lost River Cave?

A 20-minute guided walk to the cave entrance and a 25-minute boat ride through the cave make up the 45-minute cave tour.

3.2 How much does it cost to go to Lost River Cave?

When you visit the property to participate in any of the activities, you are charged $10. This information wasn’t provided when we bought our tickets or on the website that describes the Lost River Cave experience.

4. Penn’s Cave

The most widely publicized cavern in Pennsylvania, Penn’s Cave, may be seen on hoardings if you’ve traveled anywhere close to Centre County.

Because the entire Penn cave is flooded with the underground stream, it has been an extraordinary cave in the state as the full tour is on the boat. This is the only all-water cave in the country, making it even more interesting.

This limestone cave is situated between the Brush Valley and Penn’s Cave and is about 30 million years old. Tourists can tour this place on a motorboat with a guide introducing them to these massive caverns’ inner beauty of Penn’s Cave.

Stalactites and stalagmites in these caves have taken up amazing forms over time. Some of these are called the Statue of Liberty and the Pope. Besides its amazing rock features, the cave also houses the Little Brown bats.

The cherry on top is that this place has more to explore than just the cave, which includes a farm nature wildlife park tour, a maze, and several other fun attractions.

Penn’s Cave also attracts many tourists because of its famous folklore. It’s said that a French man named Malachi fell in love with a local tribeswoman. Still, their love was considered taboo by the locals, and Malachi was caught and forced into this cave with no possible escape, and therefore it is said one can still hear him calling for his lover in this particular cavern in PA.

4.1 How cold is Penn’s cave?

The inside of the cave is always 52 degrees, so it is advised to wear a jacket or sweatshirt. It’s recommended to wear cosy shoes.

5. Lincoln Caves

Lincoln Caverns Pennsylvania
By: Jennifer Halper/Shuttertstock

Take in the beauty of Central Pennsylvania’s natural gallery, crafted by time and water. You get to explore two different caves together. These places also allow you to witness the ever-sparkling beauty of stalactites and sparkling crystals, which have a history behind them related to the site’s geology.

The Lincoln Caves were first discovered in 1930 when workers blasted the mountain to build a highway. This unique cave in Huntingdon is one of the easiest reachable caverns in PA. The name was kept by its owner, Myron Dunlavy Sr., after his favorite president.

Later his son found another cavern near it, which he named the Whisper Caverns. Though discovered later, the Whisper Caverns are sometimes considered more beautiful, by few tourists, than the Lincoln Caverns.

Leaving that aside the caverns’ main tourist attraction is The Frozen Niagara, a large flowstone, as the name suggests, The Pearl Room. The three rare cave pearls were found in Pagoda Avenue, which consists of pagoda-shaped stalagmites.

There are also occasionally special tours here, like the annual Batfest in February, a family-friendly event with workshops and displays of animals. One of the best things to do when visiting this area is to explore the local caves.

5.1 How much does it cost to get into Lincoln Caverns?

The popularity of Lincoln Caverns as a display cave is closely linked to Route 22, which runs just a few miles west of Huntingdon’s central business district.

6. Laurel Caverns

Laurel caverns are situated in Farmington and are Pennsylvania’s largest cave. Laurel caverns have very few stalactites and stalagmites, with smooth walls lining this all-water cavern.

This cave was formed by shifting the earth from a river that flew through, taking away the soft soil and leaving solid rock walls and formations behind. Nature and natural wonders always find their way, and their fantastic geological formations always leave us shocked in Laurel caverns.

Besides the usual tour, a person can also choose to go spelunking or rappelling, attracting many cavers from far and near. The Gravity Wall is a spectacular feature in Laurel caverns, which presents an illusion of defying gravity, like the image of a ball rolling upwards.

Lights also surround Laurel caverns, and usually, the tour ends with a spectacular light show, unlike other caverns in PA.

6.1  How long does it take to walk through Laurel Caverns?

This 600-foot stroll through Laurel Caverns’ most accessible sections lasts 30 minutes. No steps are involved. There are 1,200 feet of colorfully lit corridors to be seen because this portion of the cave is a maze.

6.2 How cold is it in Laurel Caverns?

The cave maintains a comfortable 52 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the year, making it the ideal getaway on a hot summer day.

7. Crystal Cave

Crystal Cave. Kutztown , PA , USA
By: MarinaMonroe / Shutterstock.com

Crystal caves in Kutztown were first found in 1871 by John Gehret and William Merkel. As the name suggests, the Crystal cave is most famously known for its crystal-like projections on ceilings, walls, and natural wonders.

Besides that, in the crystal cave view, the stalagmites and stalactites are of a milky white color attracting people’s attention. Gemstone panning also intrigues the visitors. Explorers say that some whisper rock formations are more than half a million years old in Crystal cave.

One of its main features is the “Upside-down Ice cream Cone,” which resembles vanilla, chocolate, and mint ice cream layers due to the calcite deposits of different colors. These features make it stand out among the other caverns in PA.

Crystal cave is also one of the country’s longest, continuously evolving show caves, and it’s well worth stopping by if you’re in the Kutztown, Berks County region. This region is one of the main attractions in Pennsylvania Dutch Country, which serves as a charming getaway with its unique charm.

7.1 What should I wear to Crystal Cave?

The cave temperature is a comfortable 54 degrees; however, a light sweater or jacket and comfortable walking shoes are recommended.

8. Coral Caverns

These caves are located in Manns Choice, PA. It was first founded in 1928. The name Coral Caverns was kept because of the fossilized coral found there.

According to the guided tour, this place had been underwater a long time ago, and thus many fossils of coral caverns are still embedded in the walls of these caves and date back to around 400 million years old.

The rock wall which consists of these corals is called the Coral Reef. This makes these coral caverns well-known and unique among all the other caverns in PA. It’s also lighted by different colored lights creating crystalline formations of a beautiful ambiance.

9. Indian Echo Caverns

A beautiful cavern lake located at Indian Echo Caverns in Pennsylvania.
By: Amy Gillung/Shutterstock

These caves are located in Hummelstown near Swatara Creek in PA. The caves consist of two passages. The intersection of these two passages, the eastern cavern, and the northern cavern, opens into a big empty area known as the “Indian Ballroom.” The limestone caves have stunning geological structures, and lakes sparkle in the clearest waters.

Once inside, you may see wonderful, naturally created spaces like the Wedding Chapel and try to imagine yourself in the shoes of the early discoverers who first came upon this cavern and how they must have felt.

Various Crystal formations adorn these caves, including The Elephant, Mummy, and The Cave Guardian. This complements any schedule greatly because there are many alternatives for local stay-and-play getaways. The Wedding Chapel can be reached by following the Northern Passage.

Their gift shop has many items to choose from as a souvenir. It was first commercially introduced to the people in the late 1920s and then closed during the Great Depression but reopened in the early 1940s.

9.1 How long does it take to go through Indian Echo Caverns PA?

The tour lasts about 45 minutes. An expertly trained interpretative guide describes the geology and history of the caverns and displays their stunning formations. Every tour starts in the gift store. Indian Echo Caverns aims to provide fun and knowledge for visitors of all ages.

10. Tytoona Caves

Tycoon caves are between Tyrone and Altoona, so they’re named as such. It is situated in a deep sinkhole without many rock formations.

It mostly consists of well-lit passageways, a part of which is separated by water sumps. It also consists of some dry, airtight rooms with unharmed crystal formations. There were two attempts to commercialize in the 1940s and 1970s, but both failed.

Students mostly visit it for recreational and educational programs which these caves have to offer. It also offers an endless number of caves to tourists who are interested in it. Its entrance is marvelous, and its landmarks are also very photogenic and different from other Pennsylvania caverns.

Closing Thoughts

Pennsylvania is hiding these treasures beneath its surface, which have been thankfully found over time for us to witness and learn so much from. If you want to get away at the weekend for a little fun trip, you should consider visiting these caverns in PA.

Tourists flock to these areas from all over the world annually. For tours or educational purposes, these caverns are some of the best for these jobs.

It’s a soul-enriching experience to witness the beauty beneath the simple-looking dirt-covered earth in the forms of these caverns. Now that you know about these magnificent caverns in PA, we hope we can inspire you to visit at least one of these caverns once in your life.

Also, check out Best Amusement Parks in NC.

Click here to read more articles like this.

Infographic that explains the formation of different cave typesUSA Tales

Verified Content by Experts

USA Tales has content written by niche experts, travelers, students, and those with real-life experience. Our content is also periodically reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure content accuracy and relevancy. Have a question? Email us at team@usatales.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Latest from Blog

Exclusive Guides & Discounts

Get how-to guides to shopping online, deals on things you love, & starting essentials to launch your business. Discounts when you use our content writing services. More details here.