Tytoona Cave Nature Preserve


Tytoona Cave Nature Preserve is located in the heart of Sinking Valley and central Pennsylvania. This property makes the tenth addition to nature preserves owned by the National Speleological Society. Tytoona Cave Nature Preserve containing 6.8 acres of property was purchased from the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy on December 23, 1997.

Tytoona is noted as one of the most significant caves in the state. The cave is rich with history that dates back to 1788 and has been mentioned in early publications and maps. Two attempts in the past (1947 and 1972) to commercialize the cave were short-lived adventures and today little or no trace can be found of those early business ventures.

The big cave entrance is located in the bottom of a large wooded sinkhole. The area surrounding it is forested and hilly with certain areas that have rare species of plants. This cave contains about a mile of trunk passage which most is blocked -off with water-sumps. Some very delicate formations are in the bowels of Tytoona, protected by Mother Nature from any vandalism.

The downstream portion of the cave system exits at well-known Arch Spring. The Arch is very picturesque and mimics as a miniature to the famous Natural Bridge in Virginia. The Arch is privately owned and not located on the Tytoona Cave Nature Preserve property, however, permission might be obtained to visit the Arch site from the landowner.

Perhaps one of Tytoona's greatest strengths is in the educational and recreational value that it has to offer. This cave has been host to many educational groups wanting to learn about caves, caving and cave conservation. This coupled with the recreation value has made Tytoona very popular among all age groups. Tytoona offers a rare look into the underground stream network that secretly flows through this part of Pennsylvania. This hydrological-eye can give a better understanding of what can't be seen on the surface. Although, the first 1000 feet of passage is relatively easy-caving, we recommend that proper caving equipment is used and that you seek someone experienced in "wild caving" as a guide. As a well-known natural landmark, Tytoona attracts it's own publicity. This cave has an exceptionally attractive entrance along with photogenic qualities of the landscape, making it a popular site for cavers, conservationists and others.

Prior to the NSS acquisition of Tytoona, members of the Huntingdon Co. Cave Hunters (NSS chapter) took an interest in managing the property for the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy. The property was being vandalized at an alarming rate and the HCCH became instrumental in cleaning up the site along with trying to keep vandals out. The same dedication exists today along with additional help from local residents and other organizations.

It's the "others" in the past that have sometimes created problems by using the cave as a party spot. Under the new ownership, anyone caught on the property with intent of breaking the state cave law and not following posted information, will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. The property is managed as a natural area. The management consists of a chief director and cave preserve committee. While the property is accessible by the public, certain rules must be followed to insure that no harm comes to this natural site (see access rules link).

Tytoona Cave Nature Preserve is truly a gem worth protecting and NSS cavers are encouraged to visit her often.

You Can Help!

Perhaps, you are one of those that may or may not ever see this cave, but still would like to help out in some way. You can!

We are trying to raise donations to replenish the NSS funds that were used during the acquisition of the property. ANY amount you can spare is most appreciated and is tax deductible. Please make checks payable to: NATIONAL SPELEOLOGICAL SOCIETY and note on the check that it is for the "Tytoona Fund".

Send your donations to: Mike Cullinan c/o Tytoona Fund, 23308 Brookwood Circle, Carrollton, Virginia 23314

We know you and others will find a spot in your heart to help out. It's like the old saying, "if we don't care then who will"?

List of Donations

Tytoona Access Policy Rules

Tytoona changes appearance during the calendar seasons. Take a look!