• First Slide

    Laurel Caverns Park

    Home To Pennsylvania's largest cave.

    Over three miles of passages.

    Call for Tour Information
    (800) 515 - 4150

  • lookoutpoint1

    Laurel Caverns Park

    Home To Pennsylvania's largest cave.

    Over three miles of passages.

    Call for Tour Information
    (800) 515 - 4150

  • familylookout

    Laurel Caverns Park

    Home To Pennsylvania's largest cave.

    Over three miles of passages.

    Call for Tour Information
    (800) 515 - 4150

  • colorfulcaverns

    Laurel Caverns Park

    Home To Pennsylvania's largest cave.

    Over three miles of passages.

    Call for Tour Information
    (800) 515 - 4150

  • colorfulpassages

    Laurel Caverns Park

    Home To Pennsylvania's largest cave.

    Over three miles of passages.

    Call for Tour Information
    (800) 515 - 4150

  • lauralcaverns_hallofthemountainkings

    Laurel Caverns Park

    Home To Pennsylvania's largest cave.

    Over three miles of passages.

    Call for Tour Information
    (800) 515 - 4150

  • LauralCavernsBallroom

    Laurel Caverns Park

    Home To Pennsylvania's largest cave.

    Over three miles of passages.

    Call for Tour Information
    (800) 515 - 4150

Spelunking – Caving

2015 Upper and Lower Caving Schedules

For those with proper preparation (see our release forms) but having no reservation, lower caving is offered at 10:00 am and 2:00 pm, every day, seven days a week, April 15th through November 1, 2015. 

For those with proper preparation (see our release forms) but having no reservation, upper caving is offered every Saturday and Sunday at 10:00 am and 2:00 pm, April 15th through November 1, 2015.  No reservations are needed except for groups.  Groups making advanced arrangements can have the upper caving trip on weekdays as well as weekends. 

Before coming for either trip, carefully read the release form of the spelunking trip you want (upper or lower).  Be prepared (especially with two sources of light, long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, and shoes with good tread and ankle support), and be sure to allow enough travel time.  For reasons of safety we cannot catch-you-up with a caving trip already departed.      

   Flashlights are available in our gift shop at    reasonable prices.

For schools, churches, scout groups, summer camps, and so forth wanting a private guide and group rates, reservations must be made 10 days prior to visit (phone 724-438-3003). 

Laurel Caverns is closed during bat hibernation season to protect the bats.  The bats depart around the middle of April.

Caving is the more contemporary term for what is popularly called spelunking.  It refers to going into a cave completely in its natural state.  Due to its conservation mission, Laurel Caverns is the only developed cave in the world having its largest rooms and passages completely in their original state.  Because the elevation difference from the upper passages of Laurel Caverns to its lower passages is about 45 stories (450 feet) two caving activities (i.e. spelunking) have been created.  For the most part, these two trips cover different parts of the cave, though both have in common the main passages of the traditional tour as well as the ballroom and the bat room.

*VERY IMPORTANT*

Both trips require participants to bring at least two good sources of light.    Also, each must wear long pants, a long sleeved shirt, and shoes with good tread and ankle support.  Laurel Caverns will supply the hard hats. Each participant must also fill out and sign a release form.  Links to the forms can be found below. The cave temperature is 52 degrees.  Bring a change of clothing; this is a real caving trip and participants will get the wet sands of the cave on their clothing.

Preparedness Points Emphasized by the Laurel Caverns Caving Staff

for those who wish to self-outfit for Lower Caving.

(Please don’t confuse this trip with our easy family guided tour.)

  1. Proper caving shoes are not reusable to an outfitter. Coveralls would have to be laundered after each use and the sand in them makes that very expensive. Lights could be rented but when that was tried they usually disappeared, so now they can only be sold. Thus, if Laurel Caverns outfits you for lower caving, the cost is $85 per person. If you outfit yourself, the cost is $25 per person… but:
  2. Remember that two sources of light are required. A headlamp and a handheld light are best. Cellphone and keychain lights are not options. 
  3. The only shoes that are acceptable are lace-up hiking boots with good tread and ankle support that comes at least 1 inch above the ankle. Some shoes, like basketball shoes cover the ankle, but lack the needed tread. If you are wearing a shoe that lacks good tread or comes below the ankle you will only be allowed to go in the upper parts of the cave. A twisted ankle can involve a basket rescue and upwards of forty people. The last twisted ankle rescue took nearly six hours to complete and a staffer suffered a knee injury in the process. (The staff has requested that those who wear flip-flops or sandals only be admitted to the traditional family guided tour and those who choose to wear no shoes at all not even be allowed in the visitors’ center.)
  4. Real cavers prefer coveralls. But, a long-sleeved shirt and long pants are acceptable. Wearing shorts and short-sleeved shirts can lead to abrasions. The surface of cave rocks can be like sand paper.
  5. For everyone under 18 years the Laurel Caverns release form must be signed by a parent or legal guardian. Scout leaders, summer camp staffers, older brothers, relatives a minor might be visiting, etc. are not legal guardians. This form can be found at this website.
  6. Caving trips start at 10:00 am and 2:00 pm. Laurel Caverns is surrounded by about a hundred square miles of forest lands crisscrossed with old township rights of ways that are now hiking trails, gas lines, or just plain trees. GPS thinks they are public roads and this can get people lost. Allow lots of time to get to Laurel Caverns if you do not know where it is. Our staff has taken the stance that late arrivers miss much of the orientation and therefore are a safety risk to themselves and others. They have requested that no late arrivers be admitted. Further, late arrivers hold up the group and this is not fair to those who made a proper effort to get here on time.
  7. Please forgive us for the strict enforcement of these policies. We are regulated by the Bureau of Deep Mine Safety even though we are a natural cave. We are, by law, required to follow their protocols, especially with respect to rescues. Twisted ankles have to be treated as broken until X-rayed. Caving is a high adventure activity and can be dangerous. The terrain is rough and uneven. It is not a stroll through a shopping mall. Please don’t prepare for our lower caving trip as if it is.

Note: both the upper and lower spelunking tours are staff assisted, which means that a staff member will accompany groups through the spelunking tour. There are no self-guided tours at Laurel Caverns. 

The orientation start time for both the upper and lower spelunking tours are 10:00 AM and 2:00 PM

For both Upper and Lower Caving allow up to 30 minutes for orientation and up to 180 minutes as your “in the cave time.”  Exit time can be adjusted for groups needing an early departure.

Rain is never a problem – This is a great rainy day activity

Because these two activities are offered as open registration activities, anyone within the allowed age restrictions may come without advance arrangements.  If your group size is larger than six people it is important to let us know when you are coming so that we may better serve you.

If your group is larger than 15 people you may request a private staffer with a two week advance notice and prepayment.  Please phone us at 724-438-3003.

Both trips also require a signed release form which, for anyone under 18 years of age, must also be signed by a parent or legal guardian.  These forms must be read carefully for they will tell you three things.  First, they convey a sense of the risks associated with high adventure caving.  Second, they will help you decide which caving alternative is best for your group.  Finally, they tell participants how to properly prepare for their trip.  Any individual under the age of 18 arriving without a parentally signed release form or not properly prepared will not be admitted to a caving activity.  Trip sponsors and leaders may not sign for anyone as a proxy for the parent.

PLEASE NOTE: No individual(s) under the age of 18 may participate in either the Upper Caving Activity or the Lower Caving Activity unless an adult having supervisory authority for the individual(s) is on the entire trip through the cave with them.

Upper Caving

Upper Caving begins at the cave entrance in the Visitors’ Center and goes no further than those passages within a half-mile radius of that entrance.  Participants must be at least 9 years of age. This activity allows you to see some of the largest rooms in Laurel Caverns as well as some of the crawl passages off the lighted area.  Because it is less rigorous than Lower Caving, even many adults prefer it to Lower Caving.  It is suggested that children under nine years of age take the Traditional Guided Tour and strongly suggested that the physically challenged carefully consider the strenuous nature of a caving trip.  On this exploring adventure there is much climbing up and over rocks.  Injuries can occur from this kind of climbing and participants must respect the points made by the release form.

UPPER CAVING RELEASE FORM

The Price for Upper Caving

$20 per person

There is a $2 per person discount for groups of 15 or more with a prepayment

See Educational Fieldtrips for more on a group visit.

PLEASE NOTE: No individual(s) under the age of 18 may participate in either the Upper Caving Activity or the Lower Caving Activity unless an adult having supervisory authority for the individual(s) is on the entire trip through the cave with them. 

Lower Caving

Lower Caving also begins at the cave entrance in the Visitors’ Center but takes you almost to the bottom of the mountain, 45 stories down from that entrance.  Participants must be at least 12 years of age.  The trip permits the visitor to see over two miles of cave covering both the undeveloped cave and the lighted portion.  The trip takes about three hours.  Most of the passages are between ten and forty feet high.  It is suggested that children under twelve years of age take the Traditional Guided Tour or the Upper Caving Tour and strongly suggested that the physically challenged carefully consider the strenuous nature of a three hour caving trip 45 stories down in elevation.  On this exploring adventure there is much climbing up and over rocks.  Injuries can occur from this kind of climbing and participants must respect the points made by the release form.

LOWER CAVING RELEASE FORM

The Price for Lower Caving

$25 per person

There is a $5 per person discount for groups of 15 or more with a prepayment

See Educational Fieldtrips for more on a group visit.

 PLEASE NOTE: No individual(s) under the age of 18 may participate in either the Upper Caving Activity or the Lower Caving Activity unless an adult having supervisory authority for the individual(s) is on the entire trip through the cave with them.

© 2011 Laurel Caverns Geological Park
P.O. Box 62, Hopwood, PA 15445
(724) 438-3003 or (800) 515-4150