|Haunted Caverns 2010||SPECIAL PROGRAMS|
|CAVERN HOME||VISITOR INFORMATION||CAVERN HISTORY|
The cave is located in the Spruce Creek valley, with rocky, wooded ridges embracing fertile farmland, surrounding the cave grounds with unparalled natural beauty. The cavern entrance is nestled in a hillside covered in pine, spruce, maple, walnut, and locust trees, dripping with fern, ivy, and a wide variety of wildflowers and shrubs. Indian Caverns overlooks Spruce Creek, which is full of enormous wild brown and rainbow trout and provides a home for salamanders, crawfish, turtles, and ducks.
The area is teeming with wildlife – whitetailed deer, chipmunks, squirrels, racoons, woodchucks, cottontail rabbits – and, of course, bats (primarily little browns and pipistrelles). The grounds are inhabited by more than forty species of birds as well, including hummingbirds, nuthatches, grosbeaks, finches, orioles, robins, cardinals, blue jays, woodpeckers, pheasants, screech-owls, turkeys, hawks, and falcons.
Scenic Route 45 winds through the valley, following an old Native American trail that connected the Frankstown Path to the Great Shamokin Path, following the banks of Spruce Creek. It remains one of the most scenic routes through the Allegheny Mountain range, whether frosted with snow, bursting with blossom, dense with summer foliage, or ablaze with autumn color.
THE CAVERNTo answer one frequently asked question, a cave is any underground void large enough for a human to enter and deep enough to achieve total darkness; a cavern is any large, natural cave. In terms of showcaves, both words tend to be used interchangeably.
Indian Caverns is located a foothill of Tussey Mountain, part of the Allegheny Front. It is a horizontal karst cave made up of Ordovician limestone deposited roughly 405 million years ago. While the oldest section is partially a fracture cave, the system was formed primarily by solution – with carbonic acid in the ground water dissolving softer strata of rock to form passages.
The cavern would later have been enlarged though erosion as water from glacial run-off swirled through the passageways, creating more expansive chambers.
Reaching a depth of 140 feet (42 meters), the cavern has chambers up to 40 feet (12 meters) wide and 60 feet (18 meters) high. The tour covers just under a mile of cavern, though the cave system itself is much more extensive. It is the largest limestone cavern in the state of Pennsylvania.
Indian Caverns is a "living" cave – the majority of the dripstone and flowstone formations are still active. This type of formation takes approximately 120 years to grow a cubic inch. There are countless speleothems in the cave, including stalactites, stalagmites, columns, soda straws, cave coral, drapery, popcorn, sawtooth, some small helectites, a rimstone pool, and the largest sheet of flowstone in the northeast. There are also numerous formations created by erosion, including a "musical rock".
A unique feature of Indian Caverns is the White Grotto or "Room of the Fireflies". A deposit of zinc sulfide in combination with the cave's calcite both phosphoresces (glows in the dark) and, under ultra-violet light, flouresces a bright blue-green. The evidence suggests that the Native Americans avoided using this room, probably out of fear or reverence of this effect.
The Visitor's Center is based on pueblo-style buildings from the southwest and was constructed using the mountain face as a back wall. In keeping with the eclecticism of an Early Auto Era roadside attraction, a photogenic totem pole from the Pacific Northwest and Plains-style tipi grace the property.
The cavern gift shop has a wide selection of merchandise to suit every pocket. We have a range of Native American souvenirs from dreamcatchers to weapon and tool replicas and a variety of gemstone, mineral, and fossil gifts – including an impressive collection of amethyst geodes. The shop includes t-shirts, sweatshirts, caps, jewelry, collectibles, and novelty items, as well as a limited selection of refreshments and snacks. We also have a Panning for Gems activity, enjoyed by young and old alike – with the option of Panning for Arrowheads!
Along the bank of Spruce Creek, we have scenic picnic grounds and, by request, an enclosed picnic pavilion. There is also a fish feeding area which draws enormous wild trout. Fish food is available in the gift shop. The creek is a world-reknowned trout stream and anglers are welcome to fish on a catch and release basis for a modest rod fee.
Tours of the cavern last from sixty to ninety minutes. Each tour is conducted by an experienced, well-informed guide who explains the complete history of the cavern and its use since prehistoric times. Native American artifacts found in the cave, as well as a tablet of petroglyphs, are on display as part of the tour. More recent history and folklore connected with the cave are also covered. In addition, guests learn a bit of geology as the guide points out various rock formations and describes how they form.
The main attraction, of course, is the cave itself, which displays considerable variety in structure from narrow, winding passages to expansive chambers with towering ceilingss, from rooms divided by huge, angular blocks of breakdown to sculpted walls smoothed by glacial run-off. There's as much variety in the cavern formations, ranging from massive sheets of flowstone to delicate soda straw stalactites, from an intricate rimstone pool to sturdy, ornate columns. A trip through the cave is stimulating fun for visitors of all ages.
The tour covers nearly a mile of electrically illuminated splendor. Concrete and gravel walkways (with a few short flights of stairs) enable even senior visitors to tour the cave with ease. The air is pure and invigorating and the cavern temperature is a constant 56º Fahrenheit (13º C) all year. It is recommended that visitors bring a light sweater or jacket and wear comfortable walking shoes.
Opening hours and tour times are seasonal. Please check the schedule here for more information.