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Marveling at cave walls within Lost River Caverns

Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Underground: Explore Caves and Caverns

By: Idoia Gkikas

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  • States:
    Pennsylvania

Visiting Pennsylvania’s caves and caverns is a true journey into the underworld.

Whether it’s an educational tour through a sculpted cave tunnel, or the thrill of rappelling in an ancient cavern, these excursions offer adventure for all ages.

Penn’s Cave & Wildlife Park

Even if you’ve toured a cave before, Penn’s Cave in central Pennsylvania is certain to offer something completely different. Here, you’ll explore the USA’s only all-water caves entirely by boat, led by expert cave guides. Combine the boat trip with a guided tour of the farm and nature center to view wildlife such as bears, bison, elk and even a mountain lion. For extra fun, take a mad dash through Prospector Pete’s maze.

Boat tour passing the "Statue of Liberty" formation at Penn’s Cave

Boat tour passing the "Statue of Liberty" formation at Penn’s Cave
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Crystal Cave

In 1871, William Merkel and John Gehret were blasting the land in eastern Pennsylvania, in search of valuable limestone. Instead, they discovered what is now Crystal Cave – a maze of stalactites, stalagmites, flowstones and other natural cave structures located 38 meters below the ground. After a guided tour of this natural wonder, you can stop for a cool treat at the ice cream parlor, play a round of miniature golf and even go panning for gemstones. Visiting in October? Dare to take a ghost tour through the caves aided only by the light of a lantern as costumed guides tell tales of ghosts, ghouls and spooky legends.

Exploring underground chambers at Crystal Cave

Exploring underground chambers at Crystal Cave
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Laurel Caverns Geological Park

At Laurel Caverns in southwest Pennsylvania, you can tour a nearly five-kilometer labyrinth of caves sculpted by Mother Nature. Try the spelunking experience, where you’ll crawl, climb and scramble your way deep into the caves in their natural state, guided only by your headlamp – just like a real cave explorer. For older adventurers, try the rappelling tour and maneuver your way down a rope from nearly 14 meters off the ground. Afterwards, pan for gold and gemstones or play miniature golf at Kavernputt, the world’s largest indoor simulated cave.

Multicolored lights illuminate the passages within Laurel Caverns

Multicolored lights illuminate the passages within Laurel Caverns
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Lost River Caverns

Lost River Caverns in eastern Pennsylvania is more than just a cave – it’s a real-life mystery. The source and destination of the namesake river is totally unknown. The educational cave tours offer a relatively easy walk through a paved, well-lighted path – perfect for families of all ages looking for a low-stress excursion. After touring the limestone caves, head to the gem mill where you can pan for gemstones at a replica of a 19th century mining tent. Take a walk on the short nature trail and bring a picnic lunch to enjoy in the shade.

Vibrant crystal colors in Lost River Caverns

Vibrant crystal colors in Lost River Caverns
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Getting There

Pennsylvania is centrally located between several gateways. Choose Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) or Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT) to fly direct into the state. Or, fly to international airports in nearby Washington D.C. and Newark, New Jersey. Regular rail service from New York is also available. 

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