In 1919, five boys entered a cave near Hummelstown along Swatara Creek. This in itself was not such an unusual occurrence as people had been coming in and out of the caves for hundreds of years. However, what the boys found, tucked in a hidden crevice inside the pitch black cave was.
What they said to each other has been lost to time, but it’s easy to imagine that they were quite astonished, maybe even a bit scared by what they found. Lit by nothing but the burning torches they carried, the box must have looked even more mysterious than it does today.
Square in shape, the dark brown box was covered with symbols carved carefully into the wood. Looking more like ancient runes than letters to an alphabet, the outside of the box gave little clue as to its origin or purpose. Inside the box, however, was a different story.
Filled with small gemstones and 17 coins from as far away as China and as ancient as the Roman Empire, the box contained directions for how to turn the contents into diamonds. The note also contained a date: 1917, two years before its discovery.
Whether the note was a prank or serious, no one knows because the owner was never found.
Eventually, the box made its way back to Indian Echo Caverns, history on display for any curious eyes in the Cavern’s gift shop area. This gift shop is also the jumping off point for tours inside of Indian Echo Caverns.
The entrance to the cave sits at the bottom of 71 stairs. The massive entrance was walled up years ago, leaving only a small entrance available for visitors to enter the cave.
As with most caverns, the entrance area isn’t especially interesting or beautiful. However, as the tour continues through the caverns, the real beauty of Indian Echo is obvious. I especially enjoyed the North Passage which lead back to a narrow room known as the Wedding Chapel.
If you visit several caverns, you’ll start to notice a pattern in naming, and Indian Echo Caverns is no different. I think that every cave I’ve ever visited has had some sort of area that resembled a pipe organ where they perform weddings. Nevertheless, the Wedding Chapel at Indian Echo Caverns is quite beautiful, and yes, they do perform weddings there from time to time.
Indian Echo Caverns also has many named formations in the cavern, from the Cave Guardian, to the elephant, to the mummy and the giant. The caverns themselves are not overly large when compared to some of the other commercial caves I’ve visited around the world. However, its still an interesting place to visit.
Overall, I had a great time at Indian Echo Caverns. My tour guide did a great job explaining the cave’s features and threw in many obviously rehearsed, but still funny, jokes along the way.
While there may no longer be hidden mystery boxes, Indian Echo Caverns in Hummelstown, PA is still an interesting place to visit, even if you’ve been to other caves in the past.
Visiting Indian Echo Caverns
Indian Echo Caverns is located in close proximity to both Hershey and Harrisburg, making it a great side trip when visiting either destination.
In addition to the caverns, the property contains a small petting zoo, a playground, and a gem mining area for kids. Not offered by Indian Echo Caverns is mini golf, which is a point of comparison for Indian Echo Caverns vs Crystal Cave Park in Kutztown.
Note: I was given free admission to Indian Echo Caverns to facilitate this review. However, all opinion are my own.
Indian Echo Caverns
Hours: Daily: 10am-4pm
Cost: Adults: $18, Children: $10
Address: 368 Middletown Road