Caverns in PA: 10 Fascinating Caves to Explore

6 mins read
caverns in PA
Source: Wikipedia

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

You might already know about it and if not, let me tell you there are many beautiful caverns in PA that are open for tourists to visit.

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 caverns in PA. It is friendly for both young and the old and is equally adored by all generations.

First, how about I introduce you to the meaning of caverns? Caverns are simply caves beneath the surface of the earth that lie underground beneath its many layers. They could be formed due to a river flowing through it or due to the earth’s shifting, but they leave in its wake beautiful wonders of nature.

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

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 previous tribes.

caverns in PA
Source: Pinterest

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

2. Woodward Caverns

The Woodward caverns were first opened for 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 on entering the caverns, which fascinates the explorers.

The caverns are made up of leveled walls with stalactites and stalagmites in most of its room 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.

Source: Meetup

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

3. Lost River Caverns

One of the caverns in PA is known as the Lost River Caverns, situated in Hellertown. It was first found in 1883. It consists of five large rooms that hold many stalactites and stalagmites, and glow in the dark mineral deposits.

caverns in PA
Source: Flickr

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

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

4. Penn’s Cave

This limestone cave is situated between the Brush valley and Penn valley 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.

caverns in PA
Source: Wikimedia

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

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.

5. Lincoln Caves

The Lincoln Caves were first discovered in 1930 when workers blasted the mountain to build a highway. This cavern 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.

caverns in PA
Source: Flickr

Later his son found another cavern near it, which he named the Whisper Caverns. Though discovered later, the Whisper Caverns is 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, the Pagoda Avenue consisting of pagoda-shaped stalagmites.

6. Laurel Caverns

These caverns are situated in Farmington, Pennsylvania, and are the largest cavern in PA. It has very few stalactites and stalagmites with smooth walls lining these caverns. This cave was formed by shifting the earth and from a river that flew through it, taking away the soft soil and leaving behind solid rock walls and formations.

caverns in PA
Source: Wikimedia

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, which presents an illusion of defying gravity like the image of a ball rolling upwards.

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

7. Crystal Cave

Crystal caves situated in Kutztown were first found in 1871 by John Gehret and William Merkel. As the name suggests, the caves are most famously known for their crystal-like projections on the ceilings and walls.

caverns in PA
Source: Wikipedia

Besides that, the stalagmites and stalactites are of a milky white color attracting people’s attention. Gemstone panning also intrigues the tourists. Explorers say that some of the rock formations there are more than half a million years old.

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

8. Coral Caves

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

According to the tour guides, this place had been underwater a long time back, and thus many fossils of corals 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 caves well known and unique among all the other caverns in PA. It’s also lighted by different colored lights creating a beautiful ambiance inside.

9. Indian Echo Caverns

These caves are located in Hummelstown near the Swatara Creek in PA. The caves consist of two passages, and the intersection of these two passages, the eastern cavern and the northern cavern, opens out in a big empty area known as the “Indian Ballroom.”

caverns in PA
Source: Wikipedia

The Wedding Chapel, one of its other attractions, can be reached by following the Northern Passage. Various rock formations are adorning these caves, including The Elephant, Mummy, and The Cave Guardian.

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 then reopened in the early 1940s.

10. Tytoona Caves

Tytoona caves are located in between Tyrone and Altoona, and therefore it’s named as such. It is situated in a deep sinkhole with an absence of many rock formations.

caverns in PA
Source: Wikipedia

It mostly consists of a wide passage, a part of which is separated by water sumps. It also consists of some dry airtight rooms with unharmed formations in them. There were two attempts to commercialize back in the 1940s and 1970s, but both failed then.

Students mostly visit it for recreational and educational purposes, which these caves have to offer. It also offers to cave to its tourists who are interested in it. Its entrance is marvelous, and the landmarks around it are also very photogenic and different from other caverns in PA.

Caverns in PA

Pennsylvania is hiding these treasures beneath its surface, which have been thankfully found overtime for us to witness and learn so much from.

Tourists flock to these areas from all over the world almost all year round. Be it for touring or educational purposes, these caverns are one of the best for these jobs.

It’s a soul-enriching experience to witness the beauty that lies underneath 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 could inspire you to visit at least one of these caverns once in your life.

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Infographic that explains the formation of different cave types
USA Tales

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