Wind Cave

The main entrance, there are a few, you can find the rest. :-)

The main entrance, there are a few, you can find the rest. 🙂

It’s about time I get around to this, it’s been nearly a year since I was there for the first time. I have noticed a lot of people searching for ‘wind cave’ and ‘wind cave map’, and coming across this blog, so I will do what would only be decent, and post a map of this fantastic and fairly safe cave.

It was February 19th of 2011 when I went in search of this cave…well, actually it was February 18th, but I started too late in the day and didn’t make it down here in time, so I went back the following day to locate it. I have made one subsequent trip since, on June 9th, with my friend Tom. Like a gleeful little boy, I proudly introduced my my old pal Tom to this wonderful dark earthen place. I would call it a sanctuary, but since the ‘kids’ find, litter, and paint the walls, …..yea…not so much the sanctuary as I would like. I don’t understand it for the life of me. I have never felt the need to spray paint walls, not even in my youth. It just looks hideous. But then hey….perhaps I have a bit of sense. Or my parents raised me correctly, not sure which.

At any rate, this is still a great trip underground into a ‘wild’ cave. And as far as I am concerned, quite safe also. There really isn’t any place to get yourself turned around and lost in here. The whole of it is basically shaped like an upper case ‘I’. There are, however, over a thousand feet of passages, and something for everyone in here. In fact, there may be more undiscovered cave in there that we have yet to find, at least as far as the General Geology Report from 1974 goes. I have seen portions that I haven’t attempted yet, that are not yet mapped, so it just may be possible, and at one time a fella blasted open a section (prior to the Geology report mentioned) and found more cave, so who knows what is out there for the CAREFUL explorer! I stress CAREFUL! If you do not know what you are doing, stick to the simple routes that everyone follows and just be happy you are there to experience it. A good many caves in Pennsylvania have been blown shut, or gated due to people getting lost or hurt. Do not ruin this for the rest of us. Know your abilities and stick to them until you are better prepared. End of lecture son. 🙂

As you walk into this cave, you don’t even need to stoop. So if you have someone in your party who is a little leery, but still curious, this person will feel comfortable for at least the first 50 feet or so. If you don’t mind climbing, there is a bit of that as you head straight in, and past the right hand connection to the rest of the cave. In fact, this section, straight into the cave, winds up around to your right, then you can come back to your starting point by following around and under the passage you took in. Pretty neat.

Venturing off to the right at the previously mentioned connection, will take you down a fairly long section that forces you to stoop a bit, but still no crawling needed. At the end of this section is some breakdown (caver speak for chunks of rock or dirt that have fallen from above) that you will need to climb over. This will lose some of your party also if they are not fully into this, but again, they had an experience in the ‘wild’ without risking their safety or comfort level. For the rest of us….well.

Climb over this boulder, and drop down to the lower portion of the upper case ‘I’. In here you will find the best parts of the cave I believe, and the parts that all of my pics are from with the exception of the entrance and the map itself. There are very tall areas, as seen in my pictures, and some very low ones, that will require crawling. There are some sections that haven’t been surveyed, possibly because they cannot be gotten into, but I don’t know that for sure as I haven’t tried to get into them either. One is a slide that sort of disappears to God knows where. I would love to get a better look into this drop off, but not without ropes.

Directions to the hike. Oh, I didn’t mention? This is a pretty steep hike, so be in decent shape, or simply take your time.

Get yourself to approximately 618 Bridge Valley Road, Pequea PA. If you google search this, and zoom in on the map to street level, you will see a black car and a white pickup truck parked on the other side of the road on a small pull off spot. Park responsibly, as these two did. You should be able to get three cars in this location at least, and they left room for the third. You can also see them walking the direction you want to travel to the hike, which I will bet is where they were headed.

Once parked, there is a trailhead with an orange diagonal double blaze. Follow this trail across a creek and down a access road to the rail road. Watch carefully for the trail leading up the hill on the left. Follow the trail up the hill and check out the amazing views of the river. At the end of the trail you will arrive at the Wind Cave.

Now, since you may have no cave experience at all, here is the absolute basic of basics that you MUST do if you are to go in here. Take at least 3 sources of light. If one goes out, or you drop them in water, you need backup or you are alone in the dark for who knows how long. There are other things to take that are a good idea (like a helmet) but at least take more than one light source. Absolute minimum. And don’t go alone (says the guy who goes alone quite often on everything he does).

Have fun, but be careful, as always, use your head.

Denny

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Posted on January 28, 2013, in Caving, Hiking and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 20 Comments.

  1. Is there any way you could make a digital copy of the cave map? I searched on Google and could not find that map. Thanks for your help! ! Alex

  2. Hi, Denny! I’m a caver from MD and I saw that you had an actual map of wind cave. Is that something you could possibly scan and send via email? Also, I’m not sure how often this blog gets checked or updated, but here’s hoping! Thanks, Caitlin

  3. Hey, sorry to both of you for taking so long to get back to you. I moved a few months back and have yet to get books, etc out and into book shelves, so this is all packed away at the moment. The map is fairly large, it would have to be scanned in at least two passes to get it all in. These are from the 70’s or so if I remember correctly. I had to search FOREVER to find some decent old Geological survey books, and then pay through the nose for them. Here is a link to one that is currently on amazon, as of today Feb 7th 2014, and you can see the price …. 99 dollars. They don’t come cheap, but if you are really into caving and having some of the history, that’s the way to go. A good copy of these books will come with the folding maps for some of the larger caves, like Wind Cave is. Then the smaller caves just have maps on the pages of the books themselves. Hope this helps in some way for the time being.

    http://www.amazon.com/Book-Southeastern-Pennsylvania-Geology-Fold-out/dp/B00122ASPW

    denny

  4. Great description. Just explored these caves yesterday (April 12th, 2014). Great time. Me and my friend both went in with headlamps and a small powerful flashlight each. It was 78 degrees outside yet ice everywhere inside the caves, bring a sweatshirt (we did luckily).The ice made some of the climbing more difficult, doable, but certainly dangerous. Definitely lots of hands-on climbing. Keep your parties small and be sure they are not the slightest bit claustrophobic. It took us about an our, moving cautiously to explore all parts of the caves. Be sure to observe the sparse spray-painted arrows, they assured me at some points that a certain area led somewhere was not just not a dead end. By the end, we were wet, muddy, and cold but it was so worth it. Truly an amazing place.
    “One is a slide that sort of disappears to God knows where. I would love to get a better look into this drop off, but not without ropes.” I think I found this area you were talking about. Unfortunately, after the slide into the abyss, there was not much further to go. There was a large elevation drop but the walls on either side pinched together beyond possible passage.
    Tip on finding the trail to the caves: The description above is good, just make sure when you are looking for the trail that goes up and to the left, you look before you get to the railroad tracks. Once you’ve hit the tracks, you’ve walked too far.
    Also, be sure to keep exploring the normal orange and blue blaze hiking trails! There is a rock ledge with a beautiful view of the water, and even an abandoned 2 story house to explore at the top of the major hill.
    Matt

  5. Thanks Matt! Glad you had a great time. Yes there is ice quite often I have heard (around this time of year). This cave is also referred to as ‘Cold Cave’, for obvious reasons. It’s really great further into the summer when it becomes a great break from the heat. When you are down in the Pequea area, check out these as well, and there is a great hike along the creek then after. https://aslongasimalive.wordpress.com/2013/01/25/tucquan-glen-hike/

    These aren’t anything like Wind Cave, just little shelters, but they are quite curious in the way they hollowed out. They are dotted all along the large several story house sized rock outcropping. Just work your way up and see how many you can find, and the the archway at the very top is really neat too.

    Cheers,

    Denny

  6. Thanks Denny, looks like a solid hike. I am one of the leaders of Villanova University’s Outdoors Club; my friend and I were exploring Wind/Cold Cave to scout out a potential trip in the near future. I determined Wind Cave would not be best to bring 30 semi-experienced people (flashlights alone would be a nightmare) to, but the Tucquan-Glen Hike looks right up our alley. Thanks! I’ll be sure to post how the hike goes if we end up there.
    Please keep us updated on your travels, I am always looking for new and exciting places to bring our group.
    Matt

  7. Good to meet you Matt. Here is another, also in the Pequea area. I really love that area, there are a lot of great creeks and hikes down there. I plan to run this creek in a kayak at some point, and also drift dive (scuba) the lower, deeper portion that is back filled by the Susquehanna river. This hike is absolutely beautiful though, and easy as well, but that doesn’t take away from the amazing sights along the trail. The schist outcroppings (see pics) are astounding. I love the feeling of being in a canyon, and hearing/seeing water flowing through it. My young children even handled this hike really well. The trail starts a little narrow for a large group but opens up significantly after maybe a tenth of a mile, and a large party could do quite well. You just hike to the covered bridge and back, around 2.4 miles or so round trip if memory serves.

    Disclaimer: Ignore what I said about ‘the girl’, that bottomed out and I should go back and do some rewording and replacement of pictures, but hey, we all have time periods in our lives eh? 😉 https://aslongasimalive.wordpress.com/2012/06/29/pequea-creek-hikescouting/

    If you folks ever decide to do some group kayaking, I have some amazing ones for that too. See https://aslongasimalive.wordpress.com/2012/06/29/the-rock-garden-my-rock-garden/

    Cheers!

    Denny

    • Hello Denny
      I would love to have you or someone you know take me serious caving.
      I love it and can handle all aspects of caving.
      I dont know where to go and how to get to these places or if there is any costs.
      Please respond back asap, I’m really ready to go and have a good time.
      thank you
      Joel
      Cell 718-908-3502 work 718-639-1254

  8. Good tip to carry three sources of light, but I’m surprised you don’t also recommend a helmet. Also, the man in your photos is not wearing a helmet. If you’re going to provide directions for how to get to a cave, then the least you can do is also set a good example of safety.

  9. You are right Sarah, it is a bad example, and that is my fault. This is a fairly open cave, you have to really get in there to hit the restrictions, and this was just a short hop into the more major sections, so we were not wearing helmets. That IS no excuse though. I generally wear helmets, also for kayaking in white water, but then on more mellow creeks I do not wear a helmet. I suppose I am guilty of judging my comfort and safety, and playing on that as opposed to simply being safe at all times. Accidents DO usually happen when you least expect them, and so I should always wear one, and should also recommend that others do as well.

    Thank you for the critique, I do appreciate it. 🙂

  10. Took a tour of Wind Cave today with a guide from Shank’s Mare Outfitters. We took a youth group of 6 teens and two educators from Subaru Leave No Trace. The tour was amazing and I took over 100 pictures that I’ll be posting with a story to my blog and in my column for our local newspaper, The York Daily Record. Amazing cave, but a bit treacherous, flashlights and helmets are a must. I’m only 5’1 and hit my head a couple times! Part of our group exited through the “birth canal” and gave me great photos! Stop by my blog in a few days to check it out if you would like. I saved the photo of they map you have posted to add to my blog. Thanks for sharing your experience on your blog, I enjoyed reading it!
    Pattie

  11. Thank you for your kind words Pattie, and thanks for visiting. I have never hit my head in there, but…..I do agree, helmets are a good idea! I thought ‘treacherous’ was a funny adjective for this cave, but then I have to remember the things that I generally do are quite out of the norm for folks, and I thought that this cave is one of the more mellow activities. It’s truly amazing to be able to visit these places that are still ‘wild’ though isn’t it? I’m saddened every time something is shut down to the public because of the actions of a few…….I am sure you witnessed the graffiti in there.

    I will surely stop by your blog, and hope to even catch a copy of the article in the paper when it comes out. That’s fantastic that people are still be interested in reading about the ‘natural’ world, as I think too many people miss it entirely. Living their lives along the highways, never venturing around the corner and into the woods to see what is there.

    Some of the people that head up Villanova’s Outdoors Club have contacted me here as well, looking for ideas for hikes and such, that their group could handle, and I am happy to show at least a tiny bit of what PA still has to offer. We have a beautiful state, and we shouldn’t take that for granted. With that said though, I am SO lazy about writing more posts, and have a huge backlog I should really catch up on. Bad Denny. 🙂

    Good to meet you Pattie!

  12. Hey there Chad, sorry it took so long to approve your comment, I just plain forgot to get back to it. Thanks for the link as well. I saw on Facebook that you and I have a mutual friend, Chris Dubble. Small world, very cool. Have a good one, and thanks again!!

  13. There is a very nice and big scan of the Wind Cave map at https://southjerseytrails.wordpress.com/2014/09/16/conestogatrailpequea/

    • Thanks for the links Gerry. I have an actual copy of the map, but it’s larger than a standard document and just hadn’t gotten around to getting a good scan of it yet. I appreciate it! These must be fairly new links. I spent a lot of time a few years ago trying to gather more information online about this cave, but came up mostly empty back then.

      • I found your page while trying to research some of my old trips in the area. I want to convince my son’s scout troop to hit the cave, as well as hike the bottom 15 miles of the Conestoga Trail. The trail and the area seems to have changed a LOT from when I hiked it in the 80’s.

      • Gerry, if you are familiar with that area, and it sounds like you are, you may already know about this hike. This is one of my favorites down that way.

        https://aslongasimalive.wordpress.com/2013/01/25/tucquan-glen-hike/

        On top of that huge mountain of a rock face that you can park in front of there are all these shelter caves, and even an open arch at the very top that you can walk through. I had no idea they were there. I just wanted to go up it, and there they were. There are a lot of them. You have to be careful depending on how young the kids are. My kids are pretty young yet, so I am not gambling on one of them not falling. I’ll save it for a few more years, but it’s really neat exploring that rock to see how many ‘caves’ can be found. The kid in me loves it, so the actual kids would most likely love it too. And the hike along that creek then down to the Susquehanna is beautiful. I think the left side (river left, heading down stream) is the nicest side personally, keeps you closest to the water. Cheers!

      • I hate to change the subject (feel free to suggest changing communication channel, you have my email) but do you know if you can still enter the Conestoga Trail from the East end of Norman Wood Bridge? The Lancaster Hiking Club mentions the construction uphill from the Holtwood Dam in 2013 blocking off the trail, but then in another place mentions that the construction was over in 2014. During the construction it seems that their suggested detour was to start the trail at the old Holtwood Arboretum and Rec area.

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