Caving Experiences Around Us

An indepth look at a couple of intriguing caves around us such as Fountain Cave, Lost World Caverns, and Wind Cave.


Taylor Persons

Wind Cave: snapshot of me going down a rope that accesses the lower tunnels of Wind Cave. This photo of why Fountain Cave is called “Fountain Cave”; these pools fill with water during heavy rains and eventually overflow giving it the look of a fountain.

Taylor Persons, Staff Writer

There are two types of caving, there are showrooms which is the most common caving attraction; these can be described as spacious, well lit, interesting due to the amount of formations, and having a well marked path for individuals to follow. Then there is adventure caving; this entails going through dark damp areas with nothing but a headlamp, knee pads, and a hard helmet, climbing through formations that can either be spacious or enclosed, rolling through the mud, and seeing sights many others don’t see. This is the type of caving you’ll be getting an indepth look at.

One of the cave tours we will be looking at is Fountain Caves Adventure Tour located in Grottoes, VA. Fountain Cave Adventure Tour is a great tour for beginners due to the fact each obstacle is optional and there are different difficult levels you can choose for each obstacle. 

Personally, Fountain Cave Adventure Tour was my first adventure tour and it was perfect. I was able to choose obstacles that I was comfortable with and I didn’t feel pressured or forced to do anything that I wasn’t comfortable with doing.

The next cave tour is the Lost World Caverns Wild Cave Tour located in Greenbrier County, WV. Like all cave tours the guides have been given a specific route to follow through the cave, one that is safe for all the participants and easy enough for beginner cavers. There are areas within the cave where the guides don’t take most tourists, one of those areas is called “The Keyhole” which my party had the privilege of experiencing. This area is a tight passage with a rough rock texture called “popcorn” found on large areas of the passage. At the end of this passage is a small hole that you have to squeeze through to get to a more open pocket; what makes this squeeze so difficult though is the stream of water that pours on your from above and the water you crawl through as you make the squeeze.

“I would give Lost World Caverns a solid 5 on the difficulty scale,” owner of Lost World Caverns Steve Charlton said. “Even though we have a planned route for the tours we have sections that are much more difficult to negotiate that we don’t take regular tourists through due to the dangerous terrain.”

The last cave we will be indulging in is a tectonic formed cave called Wind Cave which is located in Pequea, PA; this is an unguided cave meaning you go in at your own risk without any expert. Inside of Wind Cave you can expect an average temperature of 38 degrees Fahrenheit, you can also expect to get wet and muddy so I recommend bringing a rain jacket, layers, shoes you don’t mind getting dirty, and a change of clothes for when you’re dont. When entering Wind Cave you should bring a map of the cave which can easily be found online. Typically tectonic formed caves are insignificant due to their small ranging size and from that small range Wind Cave is made unique due to its large size, it’s almost 2,000 feet of passages and pockets.

“Sources everywhere agree that Wind Cave is the largest tectonic cave in the state and likely the Eastern United States; however, some believe it is, in fact, the largest in the entire country,” founder of Uncharted Lancaster Adam said. “After extensive research Uncharted Lancaster was unable to find any mention of a large tectonic cave anywhere in the country.”

The Fountain Cave Adventure Tour, Lost World Caverns Wild Cave Tour, Lost World Caverns Cave Tour, and Wind Cave are caves that are worth the trip.. Each tour offers a unique experience that many others aren’t interested in. Due to COVID-19 Fountain Cave Adventure Tours are currently closed but they hope to reopen them in June, Lost World Caverns Wild Cave Tour is still in operations and instead of going on the tour with a group of strangers once you book which day you want with the amount of people in your party that tour slot is immediately closed. In other words you receive a one on one tour of Lost World Caverns with your party and the tour guide. It is recommended that you go to Wind Cave on a week day because it can be quite busy on the weekends.

“Each cave is different so the experience will be unique to the cave system” owner of Lost World Caverns Steve Charlton said.