Located in the eastern corner of Centre County, PA, you’ll find Woodward Cave. While it’s not nearly as well known as its nearby neighbor, Penn’s Cave, this is a great spot for those who love exploring underground worlds.
Woodward Caverns is named after the nearby community of Woodward and has been open for tours since 1926.
The cave was created by Penn’s Creek, which used to flow through the limestone cave seasonally. This flow created a series of tunnels and large rooms that visitors can tour today.
According to local lore, the cave was known by the Seneca Indians who would use it for everything from storing food to burying their dead. That being said, no evidence of dead bodies has yet been found in the cave, though there is evidence of campfires, so it likely was used by Native Americans at some point.
The large entrance to Woodward Caverns sits directly across from the small gift shop where you can buy tickets for guided tours. The area around the cave is a popular campground, especially for RVs.
Tours last about 50 minutes and take you through the cave’s main passages and into five large rooms.
Along the way, guides describe the cave’s many features, tell about its geology, and point out some imaginatively named rock formations. Make sure you don’t miss the fossilized shells that can be seen in the rock wall near the entrance.
Having toured many caves in Pennsylvania, I was most reminded of Laurel Caverns in southwestern PA while I was touring Woodward Cave. That’s because of the smooth rock walls and the absence of a ton of large stalactites and stalagmites in some rooms.
However, there are some cave formations here. In fact, Woodward Cave is home to the largest known stalagmite in Pennsylvania, known as the Tower of Babel.
There are also many of the other usual cave formations you can find in PA including cave bacon, ribbon, and flowstone. And, of course, there are cave formations that have been given unusual names over the years including the Liberty Bell, the Hanging Forest, and the Hall of Statues.
One of the most interesting aspects of Woodward Cave was the dead sections that you can find inside. These are places where the cave is no longer growing and the cracks in the rockface are no longer being healed. While it’s possible that other caves in PA have this feature, this was the only one I can recall where these areas were pointed out and explained.
I also enjoyed the many large rooms that opened up throughout the cavern. It was really neat to walk into these very large spaces that were, in some cases, more than 100 feet underground.
Even more interesting, some had pieces of rock that had broken off many, many years ago and were left where they fell in the middle of the rooms. This sort of thing definitely reminded me that I was in an ever-changing world.
Overall, I found Woodward Caverns to be incredibly interesting. Even if you’ve been to other caves in PA such as Indian Echo Caverns, Coral Caverns, or Lincoln Caverns, this is still a really neat spot to visit while you are travelings through central Pennsylvania.
Looking for more great spots to visit nearby? Check out the Poe Valley State Park, the best roadside overlooks in Bald Eagle State Forest, Coburn Tunnel, and the last remaining covered bridge in Clinton County.
Cost: Adults: $14, Children: $7
Address: 148 Woodward Cave Dr