Ultimate Guide to Indian Echo Caverns, Pennsylvania (Tours, Pricing, History, Map)
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Indian Echo Caverns in Hummelstown, Pennsylvania, is rich in history that spreads over 440 million years. Through the tours, you will learn how Nature shaped this geological wonder over the years and how this beautiful limestone cave has been delighting visitors since 1942.
Indian Echo Caverns, Pennsylvania
People can explore the cave with the help of guided tours. The caverns were commercialized in the late 1920s, and it was during this time, that the large entrance was sealed to ward off unwelcome guests and visitors now have to enter the cave through a small entrance.
History of Indian Echo Caverns
The earliest known inhabitants of Ithese caverns were the Susquehannock Indians, who used the caverns for shelter and storage. It is believed that in the 17th century, the early European explorers and hunters discovered the mouth of the caverns while navigating the Swatara Creek and wrote home about how they used these caverns. William Wilson, a Pennsylvania hermit, was one of the famous residents of these caverns, and he called the cave his home from 1802 to 1821.
In 1919 a group of teenagers discovered a small wooden chest known as the Mystery Box. They found several stones, jewelry, and foreign coins inside the box, and the oldest piece in the box was a Moroccan coin that dated back to 1288. Even today, no one knows about the ownership of the box, but visitors can take a peek at its contents at the Gift Shop.
The caves were accessible to the public in 1929 by Mr. John Bieber. He made the paths in the caverns safe for visitors and even opened several earlier rooms closed off by the mineral deposits. Today, the caverns attract hundreds of thousands of visitors every year. The caverns are now owned and operated by a local family.
Geological Cave Formations in Indian Echo Caverns
This is a set of limestone caves that have been naturally formed. It is home to some of Pennsylvania’s largest and most well-developed formations. Contrary to people’s beliefs, the Indian Echo Caverns is not a ‘dormant’ cave system. The formations inside the cavern are alive, and they continue to grow.
Like most caverns in the mid-Atlantic states, the Indian Echo Caverns are pure limestone caves. They have been formed from Beekmantown limestone and are over 440 million years old. The caves were formed through the erosive properties of the water. The caverns are alive and continue to grow at a steady rate. It can take 35 years to grow just 1 inch of formations.
If you look around inside the cave, you will find stalactites and stalagmites, although the main attractions are the formations that look like Hershey’s Kisses, and it seems that they are perfect for this region!
The most photographed spot in the caverns is Crystal Lake, a 6 ft deep pool of water. The rock beneath the lake is not as porous as the remaining grounds, so the water that seeps down from the surface sticks around for some time. The water is not drinkable as it contains a lot of magnesium and will give you diarrhea as soon as you drink it.
Wildlife in Indian Echo Caverns
Since the caverns are fully operational and suitably maintained by the administration, you will not be able to see many animals inside the cave. However, there is an occasional chance to see a bat or a salamander.
Is Indian Echo Caverns Haunted?
There are no spooky stories associated with Indian Echo Caverns, but in 1919 a couple of youths chanced upon a mysterious box while exploring the caverns. The box had strange designs, and the contents inside the box included random coins from across the World; some of these were minted as early as 480 BC.
There was also some jewelry, moon rocks, and instructions on making diamonds. The young man had this box for many years, but eventually, he decided to share the discovery with others. The proprietor of the Indian Echo Caverns purchased this trunk, and it is now displayed in the gift shop.
How Big is Indian Echo Caverns?
No factual information is available on the actual length of the Indian Echo Caverns.
Indian Echo Caverns Tours
Indian Echo Caverns has been welcoming visitors since 1942, and the cave tours are a great way to know more about the history of the caverns and their ecology. The tours start at the top of the hillside, and you need to go down 71 stairs to the cave entrance.
The stairs are well-maintained, but you need to keep aside an additional 15 minutes for walking to and from the cave entrance. The Indian Echo Caverns was known for its massive entrance, but that was walled up many years ago to block the entry of unruly visitors. There is a small entrance available through which the visitors enter the cave.
Like most caverns, the entrance to the Indian Echo Caverns is not particularly beautiful. However, the real beauty of the caverns comes to the forefront when the tour proceeds through the passages of the caverns. Throughout the 50-min tour, the guide will tell various details about each room and passageway, and you will also get to know William Wilson, the hermit who lived here for 19 years.
The cave’s main chamber is the Indian Ballroom, from where all the other passages emanate. It is a huge room, and different guides would lead different tour groups, and through this cacophony, you need to make out what the guide is saying. It is also when the tour guides will turn off all lights to let you experience the darkness inside a cave.
Visitors to the cave enjoy the North Passage leading to a narrow room known as the Wedding Chapel. Almost every large cave you visit has an area resembling a pipe organ where weddings are performed. The Wedding Chapel at the Indian Echo Caverns is one of the most beautiful rooms, and weddings are performed here from time to time.
The Wedding Chapel is narrow and along a wooden walkway adjacent to the Wedding Cake formation. People say that around forty weddings have taken place here, but the last one was performed in October 1997. After you have toured the Wedding Chapel, you need to make your way to the Indian Ballroom to make your way out of the cave finally.
Indian Echo Caverns Tour Prices and Discounts
The admission rates of Indian Echo Caverns are
- Adults – USD 20
- Seniors – USD 19
- Children (2 to 11 years) – USD 12
- Children (under 2 years) – Free
Is Indian Echo Caverns Cold?
The temperature of the caverns remains at 52 degrees throughout the year.
What to Wear?
The temperature inside the cave remains a bit chilly throughout the year. You should bring a sweater, sweatshirt or a light jacket for the tour to keep you warm. As for footwear, boots, tennis shoes, sneakers, or any shoes that cover your toes are highly recommended. Sandals and flip-flops are not recommended for cave tours.
Indian Echo Caverns Hours
The caverns are operational from 10 am to 4 pm on all days except Tuesdays and Wednesdays in January. However, from Memorial Day to Labor Day, the caves are open from 9 am to 5 pm. It remains closed on Thanksgiving, New Year’s Day, and Christmas Day.
What to Do at Indian Echo Caverns (Beside Tours)
From petting a goat to gem panning, there is so much to do above ground at the Indian Echo Caverns that you will never get bored for a moment. Here are a few activities that will keep you busy here.
You get an opportunity to come closer to the adorable farm animals at Echo Dell. There are pheasants, goats, peacocks, alpacas, and even a turkey whom you can pet! All the animals are trained and friendly towards humans. There are coin-operated machines in the vicinity from where you can buy a handful of snacks to feed them.
Gem Mill Junction
The Gem Mill Junction is where you pan for coins, arrowheads, fossils, and gemstones. You need to purchase a bag of sand and goodies from the gift shop and then take it outside to sift through it. When the water washes away the sands, you will have tiny treasures that you are allowed to keep! The Gem Mill Junction is operational from April to October only.
At Indian Echo Caverns, you will not find any concessions, but you can always plan with a packed lunch and use one of their free-to-use picnic tables. If you have come here with the kids, they would love the playground area, which has monkey bars, a climbing wall, slides, and swings.
Best Time to Visit Indian Echo Caverns
There is no specific time to visit. You can come here any time of the year at your convenience.
How to Get to Indian Echo Caverns
They are located at Middletown Road in Hummelstown and is close to Route 322. The caverns are between Harrisburg & Hershey.
Hotels near Indian Echo Caverns
The area in which the caverns are located has an abundance of bed and breakfasts, guest houses, hotels, and motels to suit every budget. Some of the notable hotels in the area include Hilton Garden Inn Hershey, Holiday Inn Express Hershey & Comfort Inn at the Park.
Places To Stay Nearby
Indian Echo Caverns Fun Facts
- Visitors are encouraged not to touch any rock formations inside the cavern as the natural oils from the hands can prevent the formations from growing.
- The limestone in the caverns is more than 440 million years old.
- Due to the narrow passages and stairs, wheelchairs and strollers are not permitted inside the caverns.
Indian Echo Caverns Details
- Length: No information available
- Time Recommended: 2 to 3 hours
- Difficulty: Easy
- Kid-friendly: Yes
- Dog-friendly: Yes
- Fees: USD 20 for adults
- Hours: 10 am to 4 pm
Download our Indian Echo Caverns Guide (Unofficial)
Visiting The Caverns
Do you need more information before visiting these caverns? Call (717) 566 – 8131 or email them through the form for an information packet.
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