Laurel Caverns Park
Home To Pennsylvania's largest cave.
Over three miles of passages.
Call for Tour Information
Reservations by phone are required
All Girl Scout patch and badge programs have a 6 scout minimum; so, classes will not be set up until 6 paid reservations are received. Any Girl Scout patch or badge activity outlined below is available at either 10:00 AM or 2:00 PM on any day Laurel Caverns is open. Please send your prepayment, along with your troop number, contact information, date and time(s) requested, and the activities requested to: Reservations – Laurel Caverns – Post Office Box 62 – Hopwood, PA 15445. Plan well ahead. You do not have a reservation until we have full payment in advance and you have a written confirmation.
Phone: 724-438-3003 if you have any questions. Ask about traditional GSA patch and badge programs that might still be available.
High Adventure for
Girl Scouts 12 years and up…
Our three most popular activities for Girl Scouts 12 years of age and up are our Laurel Caverns Speleology program, caving (spelunking) and cave rappelling.
Upper Caving is for scouts 9 years of age and up and requires the Upper Caving Release Form
Scout and adult rate with reservations: $18 per participant
Lower Caving is for scouts 12 years of age and up and requires the Lower Caving Release Form
Scout and adult rate with reservations: $20 per participant
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.)
- 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 (Scouts $20 or $18, depending)… but:
- Remember that two sources of light are required. A headlamp and a handheld light are best. Cellphone light, keychain lights, and other such dim sources are not accptable.
- 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.)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Scouts must be at least nine years of age and sign the Upper Caving Release Form
Speleology Patch Program for Cadet/Seniors
$25 per participant
Junior Cave Explorer Badge
These two three hour high-adventure learning programs in the upper caving portion of Laurel Caverns are conducted in accord with the age of the participants, the Cadet-Senior Program being more rigorous than the program given Juniors. However, both integrate caving with the study of the flora, fauna (particularly bats), and geology of Laurel Caverns. Students will visit dig sites where heretofore unknown cave passages are being found and will be told the secret to the discovery of such passages. The opportunity to collect pottery clay is also a part of this program. At completion each participant is given an embroidered Laurel Caverns Speleology patch or Laurel Caverns Junior Cave Explorer Badge, depending.
This program requires 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 Upper Caving Release Form. 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.
Leaders and parents will only be charged the scout rate.
High Adventure for
Girl Scouts under 9 years…
The Brownie Troop Bat Patch Program
This family oriented program combines our one hour family tour of Laurel Caverns with Kavernputt, a miniature golf game through the largest simulated cave in the world. Siblings are invited as participants. At the conclusion of activities scouts receive a bat patch as a memento of their adventure.
Cost: child participants: $12.00 each, parents: $12.00 each
Many groups add panning for gemstones or panning for fossils to this activity for an additional $6.00 per participant.
Note: Prepayment is not required for any program involving Brownies but we do need notice of your plans so that we may be properly staffed.