Destinations Magazine

Uncovering Another Universe at Indian Echo Caverns in Harrisburg, PA

By Kenin Bassart @Constantramble

As I looked at my surroundings there was only one thought that kept coursing thorough my mind. I couldn’t shake the feeling that I had somehow fallen asleep and my dreams had transported me to some alternate universe where every 70′s sci-fi movie ever made had been filmed. I was surrounded by these strange shapes and colors everywhere I turned. It was surreal to think that I could feel this way simply by walking down a few steps and heading into the Indian Echo Caverns just outside of Harrisburg, PA.

Indian Echo Caverns

The Indian Echo Caverns are located in Hummelstown, PA  which is about a 20 minute drive outside of Harrisburg. The caverns were used by Native Americans, and then later by early American settlers as shelter before it was bought and turned into a tourist attraction in the early 1900′s. Now visitors travel from across the country to see the amazing formations that are truly out of this world. Because of the fragility of the formations, a guided tour is required to enter the caverns. The tour begins by taking a flight of steps down to the entrance.

Steps  Leading to the Cavern entrance

Entrance to Indian Echo Caverns

The stone facade and door were added by the cavern’s original owners to keep out squatters and other unsavory characters. Once you go through these doors though, you step into another universe.

Indian Echo Cavern Entryway

As your guide leads you deeper into the Indian Echo Caverns, you quickly become lost in all the shapes around you.

Indian Echo Caverns

Indian Echo Caverns 27

Indian Echo Caverns 39

Indian Echo Caverns 77

The Indian Echo Caverns originally formed over 400 million years ago by two rivers that intersected underground. The constant flow of rushing water and the intense pressure of two opposing currents slowly eroded away the soft limestone. Then as the courses of the rivers changed, the caverns dried out leaving behind the perfect place for stalactites, stalagmites, and other calcium formations to grow. As you venture deeper into the caverns two main corridors the shapes and colors get more exotic.

Indian Echo Caverns 31

Indian Echo Caverns 55

Indian Echo Cavern Cave Formations

Some of the deposits even look like sea creatures floating in the ether.

Indian Echo Caverns 51

Indian Echo Caverns 63
Indian Echo Caverns 65
Some of the shapes even take on a more recognizable form. Can you see the dragon?
Stone Dragon at Indian Echo
One of the most other-worldly spots in the whole cavern though, resides near the end of the tour. Imagine coming across an oasis in a cavern.
Crystal Lake
The tour lasts about 45 minutes and the guide did a great job telling us stories and anecdotes about the caverns and some of the artifacts found inside. In addition to the caverns the site also has a gem mine and a petting zoo for family fun and entertainment. Overall, I enjoyed the caverns and definitely recommend that you check it out if you are in the Harrisburg area.

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