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The subject of this article and a reference book of the same name, Caves of Maryland was first released by the Maryland Geological Survey (MGS) in 1950. Information about Maryland caves was first gathered into a series of reports by Martin Muma in the mid 1940s, working under the MGS. After the release of these articles in 1946, a more comprehensive study was begun by William Davies, whose years of fieldwork led to the compilation of the premiere edition of Caves of Maryland in 1950. Since its publication, this reference work has remained the principal source for information about Maryland caves, and has served as an outline for the work to follow.

Introduction

Following the release of the first edition of Caves of Maryland in 1950, several other attempts by various parties and interested groups have been made at expanding available information concerning Maryland's subterrain. In the late 1960s the MGS sponsored another statewide survey, undertaken by Richard Franz and Dennis Slifer, and a second, expanded edition of Caves of Maryland was released in 1971. It was not until the inception of this second project that areas west of Washington Countymarker were even thoroughly canvassed; even after the conclusion of the Franz/Slifer survey, it was speculated that even more, undiscovered caves could still remain in more remote portions of the western counties, prompting the need for an additional version, but since that time there have been no additional state sponsored reports or surveys released to the public.

In Maryland, a cave is defined as any subterranean cavity large enough for a human to enter. This definition has led the authors to include several shelter caves, fissures, and mines that in states with larger, more complex cave systems, might otherwise go unlisted.

Locations

Cave locations are typically well-guarded secrets, as property owners are most-often fearful of liability issues and damage to their lands. When known, the state of access to a given cave is included. Likewise, experienced spelunkers are also wary to guide novices to cave locations, fearing they might recklessly endanger the natural balance of these sanctuaries, making them inaccessible to all. While most find cave vandalism unimaginable, there are some who, whether of carelessness, malice, or ignorance, have hopelessly destroyed beautiful caves forever. In Maryland, Schetromph's cave, Howell cave, McMahon's mill cave #1, Fake fossil cave, Dam#4 cave, Snively's cave #1, probably Winder's cave #1, and many others have suffered wanton destruction. While widespread publication of cave locations would be ideal, the circulation of such information among those not educated in proper caving practices inevitably results in permanent obliteration of timeless beauty. For this reason, minimal information regarding cave locations is given on this page. While limited information about Maryland caves can be found on the MGS’s website, the best sources of information are local speleological grottos and knowledgeable enthusiasts. For more information concerning the caves of Maryland and their locations, and ethical caving practices in general, contact the Tri-state Grotto, an internal organization of the National Speleological Society.

Precautions

While many of Maryland's underground, natural wonders have been defaced and/or consequently closed to visitors, cavers are urged to be mindful of the following precautions in order to preserve Maryland’s caves for future spelunkers and geology enthusiasts alike. Remember: safety and conservation should remain at the forefront of your mind when embarking on a trip!
  • Whenever possible, DO NOT cave alone! The dangers of caving are compounded immensely when entering a cave by yourself.
  • When caving solo or in a small group, always let an outside party know where you intend to go and what time you expect to return; leave a number to contact in case of emergency.
  • If your intended target is on private land, obtain permission from the property owner prior to entering. Cavers who appear without notice on private land are most often unwelcome and may pose a nuisance for property owners, who may in turn decide to close off their cave(s) to prevent further unwanted trespassing.
  • Never litter—above or underground! Trash and spent equipment is not only unsightly, but may also prompt a host to bar cavers from future expeditions.
  • Before embarking on any adventure, make sure you are fully prepared! Ropes, ladders, flashlights, spare bulbs and batteries are essential. Do not forget to bring drinking water and a little something to eat for energy, depending on the length of your trip; a spare change of clothes may also be desired if returning directly to civilized territory. Finally, consider your health before embarking: fatigue or illness could leave you in a position from which you are unable to extract yourself!
  • Caves are dark and sometimes confusing; multiple levels and branching tunnels that were easily traversed on your way in may appear confusing after turning about. Stay aware of your surroundings so as to avoid knocking your head; look over your shoulder often to familiarize yourself with a return path, and if necessary, leave stones or other objects to guide you. Never deface cave walls as a means of providing direction!
  • Poor air circulation in some caves can lead to a condition known as "bad air", in which low levels of oxygen/high levels of carbon-dioxide can lead to dizziness, fatigue, and fainting. While increased respiration among cavers is common when underground, it is important to be aware of the symptoms and dangers of bad air. If at anytime while underground you feel faint, keep moving and head for the surface! Take short-breathers as you travel to keep yourself active and alert; avoid stopping for any extended periods of time to "rest" as you may be in danger of losing consciousness.
  • NEVER remove or destroy cave formations—this is not only unlawful, but destroys the natural beauty of the cave! Likewise, make every effort not to damage or disturb cave flora and fauna, as these environments are very fragile!
  • Do not over-visit caves. Every party that enters a cave alters temperature, air circulation, and other crucial aspects of the cave environment. Soils can be transported from cave to cave on a caver's clothing, spreading fungi and microorganisms to previously sheltered environments, and disrupting ecological equilibrium. Over time, even well intentioned cave traffic can have serious detrimental effects.


Maryland geology & caves

Most of Maryland’s caves occur in its three western most counties (Washington, Alleganymarker, and Garrettmarker). While Maryland may be smaller than many of its neighboring states containing larger numbers of caves, its geology likewise allows for the formation of underground cavities, most of which are hollowed out by chemical processes—these caves are known as solutional caves. Non-solutional caves are carved out by weathering and are typically of smaller size and of little interest to spelunkers. Underlying layers of carbonate rocks form much of Maryland’s bedrock; precipitation and groundwater react with such rocks as dolomite, limestone, and marble, dissolving the rock and forming small fissures and chambers that allow for the entry of more water and the dissolution of more of the carbonic rock. Being able to identify the different types of rock that caves are likely to form in can provide a great deal of background into a cave’s likely history, and thus these rock formations will be further discussed moving east to west across the state.

Coastal Plain – this is the area of Maryland extending from just west of the Chesapeake Bay to the Atlantic Ocean: Precambrian rocks are mostly overlain by gravel, silts, marls, and sands, and consequently no solutional caves are known to exist in this region of Maryland.

Piedmont Plateau – an area of gently rolling hills and flatlands, the Piedmont is home to only a few of Maryland’s caves as most of its members are unsuitable for their development or are largely hidden from view beneath surface settlement. Exceptions in the uplands area include the Wakefield and Cockeystown marbles, which are known to include but a few caves. In the lowlands portion of the Piedmont (known as the Frederick Valley) caves are found in the Frederick and Grove Limestones (upper Cambrian and lower Ordovician, respectively); while several other limestone members exist (Tomstown and New Oxford) no caves have been located within these members.

Blue Ridge & the Great Valley – the Blue Ridge rises up from the Piedmont just west of Frederick in the first of its two mountains, Braddock/Catoctin. Here older limestone and dolomites from the Cambrian/Ordovician make an appearance, offering up a few caves in the Frederick/Middletown Valley vicinity. On top of these, older, harder thrust sheets of metamorphic rocks from the Paleozoic give these mountains their well defined crests and ridges. Wolf Rock, home to Maryland’s best-known non-solutional cave, is an example of quartzite that has endured while Catoctin Mountainmarker has weathered around it.

South Mountain, which serves as a natural border between Frederick and Washington counties, is the western edge of Maryland’s Blue Ridge, giving way to an area of relatively little relief, known as the Great (or locally, Hagerstown/Cumberland) Valley. Here the harder metamorphosed rocks of the Blue Ridge are replaced by carbonates, sandstones, and shale that grow progressively younger moving west, entering the early Ordovician period. The highest concentration of Maryland caves lies within the Hagerstown Valley, where well-established waterways have cut into the underlying carbonate rocks. Recent fieldwork, combined with the observations of Franz and Slifer, indicate that the most cavernous units exposed in the great valley are, from oldest to youngest, the Tomstown Dolomite, the Cavetown member of the Waynesboro Formation, the lower beds of the Elbrook formation, The Rockdale Run Formation, and, especially cavernous, the Chambersburg Formation. The probability of cave development, however, is also very strongly influenced by the presence of structural features such as anticlinal axes, synclinal troughs, and faults.

Ridge & Valley Region – is the name of the physiological province extending west of the Great Valley to the western portion of Allegany County. This region is traditionally defined as starting at Fairview Mountain and is characterized by repeating southwest to northeast trending ridges and valleys. A fault just east of Fairview indicates where younger rocks from the Ordovician - Devonian are being subducted by their Cambrian neighbors to the east. The region is built upon shale and sandstone from the upper Ordovician and lower Silurian periods, with little or no cave-bearing limestone seen until the lower Helderberg Formation with its Wills Creek and Tonoloway Formations. Larger members of the upper Devonian consist of the Keyser Limestone and New Creek Limestone, in which some of the largest caves in the state can be found.

Allegany Plateau – the Allegany is a rolling upland punctuated by deep, rounded valleys and ridges of distinct, broad anticlines. Shale and sandstone of the Ordovician and lower Silurian are replaced by limestone formations which continue into the lower Devonian. These younger rocks have settled to a depth equal to that of the much older rocks of the Ordovician; this change in depth occurs along a fault just east of Dan's Mountainmarker. Moving west from outcrops of early Devonian limestone, the Helderberg comes to an end consisting of clastic rocks that bear no caves. Synclines within this region have preserved remains from the younger Carboniferous Period—the period containing Maryland's only natural source of carbon fuels—within the Carboniferous' Mississippian system lies the Greenbrier formation, the next oldest limestone member known to contain caves. The Greenbrier is relatively thin but contains three large caves, including the largest cave in Maryland (Crabtree Cave). The youngest rocks to contain caves are in Garrett County: they are Pennsylvanian in age. All younger sediments have been removed from the landscape with the exception of the Dunkard Group, a small knob in Allegany County that is Permian in age.

List of caves

All caves given in the 1976 republication of Caves of Maryland will be listed below by county. The condition and status of many of these caves are unknown at this time; in an effort to establish an up-to-date record of these caves, editing of the list with any new information is encouraged!

Allegany County

  • Atheys - Tonoloway Formation at . Very little information could be found to indicate the cave's exact location: somewhere near the town of Rush on the property of an R. Bluebaker. The entrance is said to be inconspicuous. The cave contains four rooms and several pools of water.
  • Bowmann’s Addition - Tonoloway Formation at . Located in an old quarry on the east side of Valley Road, south of Bowman's addition. The cave consists of one crawlway, a large room, and a chimney.
  • Cumberland Bone Cave
  • Cumberland Quarry - Wills Creek Formation at . On the south side of Wills Creek, opposite Valley Street in Cumberlandmarker. There are two crawlways here in a tightly folded section of the Wills Creek Formation, on the east face of an old quarry.
  • Devil's Den - located south of Flintstonemarker on the farm one time owned by an H. Jackson. The entrance is located on a wooded hillside, and can be found by following the strike of the rocks northeast from a spring adjacent the house. Local tradition holds that children have played here for many years, though no dates are known to occur in the cave. The entrance is at and can be easily deduced by the following means: the cave represents a lesser-used drainway of Flintstone Creek, where it plunges below the surface behind the school until its resurgence at the Jackson spring where it joins the other half of Flintstone Creek as a tributary of the Murley Branch. The cave is part of an upper level located around , directly above the subterranean branch of the Flintstone, both of which occur in a thin band of the Tonoloway Formation adjacent the Wills Creek Shale and Keyser Limestone.
  • Devil's Hole - located at in the Helderberg Limestone's Keyser Member, the cave can be found northeast of Twiggtown on the property of M. Tewell. The cave is one of the larger (1/4 mile of mapped passage), more interesting caves in the state.
  • Dressmans - part of the Tonoloway Limestone, located at on the northwest face of an old quarry
  • Fort Hill Fissures - a series of three fissure caves have developed in the land owned by Potomac Edison on the northern end of Fort Hill (of Allegany Co.) that overlooks Rawlingsmarker. These fissures are all aligned in a southwest-northeast direction, and are several hundred feet in length, and span over in the vertical.
  • Goat - elevation ; located at the end of Paterson Street; the entrance faces southeast. The cave is developed in a narrow bed of folded limestone within the Wills Creek Formation. The cave is of very low ceiling (less than in most places), and is said to be a favorite spot of local children.
  • Greises - developed in the Tonoloway Limestone at ; the cave has approximately of narrow passage and three observed rooms. The cave can be very wet, and was not fully explored at the time of the survey.
  • Haystack Mountain - a small shelter cave in the Tuscarora Sandstone south of Wills Creek; elevation .
  • Horse - can be found 1,000 yards south of Twigs Cave, near the Twiggtown-Spring Gap road. The cave is about and accommodating in most regards. Developed in the Keyser Limestone at .
  • Lovers Leap - Tuscarora Sandstone at . Located on the north side of the Cumberland Narrowsmarker; three hundred feet west of the promenade (known locally as Lovers' Leap) atop Wills Mountainmarker is a fissure which contains about fifty feet of vertical passage and one side passage which returns to the surface. This fissure is opposite Haystack Cave, and the formation of the two fractures appears to be closely related. Accessing the cave is considered dangerous, as it means traversing an area alongside a sheer cliff face with a drop of some .
  • Mt. Savage Road Quarry - Greenbrier Limestone at . Several caves occur in quarries on opposite sides of Jennings Run along the Little Allegheny Mountain. These caves can be found west of Corriganvillemarker.
  • Murley Branch Spring - Tonoloway Limestone at . The entrance to this cave faces north, out of which flows a large stream. The cave is developed in massive limestone near the base of the formation, where the bedding can be seen as horizontal at the crest of a subordinate anticline. Once inside the entrance and in the main room, the passage becomes impassable where the spring emerges from a siphon. The water here is said to be some deep and thus cannot be penetrated. Local residents report that during a particularly dry season in the 1940s several young men were able to pass beyond the siphon and found a passage extended further south for some . Another cave was once reported to lie some 100 yards south of the spring, but was not located in the Franz/Slifer survey.
  • Pinto Mines - Keyser Limestone at . Along the Potomac River near Pintomarker a series of disused limestone mines can be found in a cliff face. One of these mines was explored in 1966 using scuba gear, but the deeper passages were not fully explored. Atop the cliff there are several active sinkholes indicating solutional activity; another cave was reported to be in the area, but was not located.
  • Rhodes - a narrow passage developed in the Tuscorora Sandstone at , east of U.S. Route 220 and south of Rawlingsmarker. The passage can be traversed through the cliff and is about in length
  • Rocky Gap - Tuscarora Sandstone at . Located about above the Rock Gap Run along the Rocky Gap Gorge's southern lip, this fissure cave extends some to the southeast. The entrance can be found very close to the edge of the cliff, hidden in shrubs.
  • Stegmaier Orchard Caves - Tonoloway Limestone at . Three caves are known to exist along a line of similar elevation, on the west flank of Irons Mountain. They all occur within of each other and are of moderate interest.
  • Tewell - Tonoloway Limestone at . One and a half miles northeast of Devil's Hole Cave, on the east side of a ravine, three leads of interest can be found occurring within of each other. At least one of these leads needs more exploration to determine its size, while the other two appear of little interest.
  • Trash Pile Pit - Tonoloway Limestone at . A pit used for waste disposal by local residents is known to have a couple of passages, mostly obstructed by garbage. Local reports have it that there were once several other caves in existence, said to have been filled during construction of a nearby golf course; these same sources have it that one of these caves was quite extensive.
  • Twiggs - Helderberg Formation at . Developed in the western side of an anticline, Twigg's Cave is formed by two parallel fissures connected by a subordinate joint. The cave is very muddy: high in clay content and containing an active stream. The cave was opened in 1898 by the Twigg Family, whose homestead lies approximately north of the cave's entrance on the east side of a limestone ridge. Notable formations include the "King's Chair" and a giant mud glacier; several large drops and chimneys have also been mapped. This cave is of the largest in Allegany County. It is rumored that Twiggs cave was permanently sealed, following an involved rescue due to low oxygen.
  • Valley Road Quarry - Tonoloway Limestone at . Two small caves occur on the west side of Shriver Ridge, opposite the Dry Run Dam near Valley Road in Cumberlandmarker. Both are said to be of little interest.


Frederick County

Lying along the western border of the Lower Piedmont and Blue Ridge, Frederick County is physically composed of two regions drawing their traits from the former two physiographic provinces. Eastern Frederick County, with its gently rolling lowlands, is underlain by older Cambrian/Precambrian metamorphic rock and other intrusive rocks from the Paleozoic. Sand and silt from the Tertiary have been deposited against some of the older rocks approaching the Blue Ridge; few caves are found here. Western Frederick County, west of Catoctin Mountainmarker, is founded upon older Pre-Cambrian rocks which have been thrust to the surface over the course of the Taconic orogeny. Most of Frederick County's caves can be found in this area, where local limestone formations protrude from neighboring metamorphic rock.

  • Buckeystownmarker
  • Catoctin Creek
  • Centerville
  • Friends Creek
  • Grove Quarry
  • LeGore Quarry/Powells
  • Linganore Shelter
  • McKinstrys Mill
  • Monocacy River
  • Wolf Rock Fissure - developed in an isolated outcrop of Weverton Quartzite; the fissure is one of the only non-solutional caves in Maryland. The Weverton Formation was once igneous rock, but extreme pressures produced by overlaying rocks have turned it into metamorphic rock, rendering the very durable and weather-resistant quartzite. While these younger rocks have since been eroded, the quartzite remains, and now forms the principal ridge-lines seen in the Catoctin area. Millions of years of weathering have produced large fractures within this long-lived rock, and at Wolf Rock several large fissures can be entered.


Garrett County

Lies almost entirely within the Allegheny Plateau physiographic region. Here the oldest rocks exposed are Devonian in age, while most others are of the Mississippian or Pennsylvanian systems. These formations settle along locally occurring faults under strain so that they appear to coincide in the linear with the older rocks of the neighboring Ridge & Valley Region. Because limestone members occur only in the upper Devonian and Carboniferous, cavern formation has been limited to areas primarily above . Garrett County is home to Maryland's largest cave, Crabtree, and also contains the youngest cave-bearing rocks in state, home to Sand Cave.

  • Crabtree - largest cave in Maryland; elevation is in the Greenbrier Limestone, and location is west of the Savage River Dam. This cave has at least of mapped passage and should be considered difficult to explore. The cave can be navigated as a circuit, which can take an average of seven hours. This cave, along with John Friend Cave, is currently protected by The Nature Conservancy.
  • Dead Man - located in the Greenbrier Limestone at ; the cave derives its name from a local legend about a mentally retarded child who was murdered by his brother and buried here in the 1860s. The cave was at one time filled and then reopened in the 1960s, but upon last reported visit (1970s?) was thought to be blocked by fallen earth.
  • John Friend - located near Sang Run at ; the entrance can be found in a clump of woods north of the Ginseng Run Road. This cave has an extensive history dating back to as early as 1751. It contains a stream and about of passage. Bill Davies reports the existence of a second cave across the valley, though efforts to open what was thought to be this blocked cave ended abruptly in 1970. These caves are located in the Greenbrier Limestone.
  • Muddy Creek Falls Shelter - two small shelter caves lie at the base of Muddy Creek Falls in Swallow Falls State Forest; these caves belong to the Pottsville Formation and are at .
  • Old Salamander - located in the Greenbrier Limestone 1/4 mile east of the entrance to Crabtree Cave at an elevation of . While not a very large cave, a population of salamanders and cave rats may make this cave worth checking out (open, 1965)
  • Sand Cave - southwest of Kelso Gap on the east flank of Backbone Mountainmarker; this cave is located in the Pottsville Formation, making it among the youngest caves of the state; it is also the largest shelter cave in Maryland, and in pre-colonial days, served as a habitat for Native Americans. A second cave is said to exist in this area, with over of walkable passage.
  • Shelter - another shelter cave overlooking the Youghiogheny River; it is located at in the Greenbrier Limestone.
  • Steep Run - an active cave in the Greenbrier Limestone, located at ; little is known except the entrance is located beyond an area where the stream sinks into the earth.
  • Surveyors - discovered by Bob Corliss of Swanton, Maryland. Mr. Corliss provided the only description known to exist, as recorded in the 1971 publication. A stream enters the entrance of the cave, and at one point, the surveyor must pass beneath a small waterfall to continue. Several hundred feet of passage was reported before the cave pinches down so as to be unpassable. Located in the Greenbrier Limestone at .
  • Weaver - located above Dead Man Cave in the same stream valley (elevation 2,300 feet). A small stream flows downhill from an outcrop to enter the cave. It is developed in the Greenbrier Limestone.
  • Woods Place - reportedly four miles north of Oaklandmarker, and east of the road leading to Swallow Falls. The cave was not located during the Franz/Slifer survey, and the only description is of the entrance passage, which leads downward in step-like terraces for where it meets a second passage.


Washington County

Contains the highest number of caves in Maryland—roughly sixty percent. Natural forces have exposed many of the older carbonate rocks underlying the Hagerstown Valley; one such member, the Tomstown Dolomite, found at the western foot of South Mountain, contains the largest concentration of caves in Maryland, with over 30 known caves. Other areas of notable subterranean activity occur primarily along the county’s well-established stream and creek beds, where incisions into the surrounding rock faces have allowed for increased drainage and erosion. Caves seem to be concentrated around these areas of high drainage, specifically the Mount Aetnamarker, Beaver Creekmarker, and Antietam/Little Antietam watersheds, as well as along the massive cliffs adjacent to the Potomac River. Notable members in this region include the Stones River Limestone, Conococheague Limestone, and the Beekmantown, Elbrook, and Tonoloway formations. Washington County is also home to Maryland's only show cave, Crystal Grottoesmarker, which will not be discussed further in this article.
  • Action-Hole (Closed by N.P.S., 11/09)
  • Antietam (Lost, 11/09)
  • Antietam Crack (Open with landowner permission, 8/08)
  • Antietam Creek
  • Antietam Quarry (Closed by private owner, 11/09)
  • Artz (Closed by N.P.S., 11/09)
  • Avey Hill (Open with landowner permission, 11/09)
  • Bowman
  • Busheys
  • Boonsboro Sinks
  • Cave-in-the-Field - (Closed by private owner, 11/09)
  • Column
  • C&O Canal (Closed by private owner, 11/09)
  • Cool Hollow Well
  • Crystal Grottoesmarker
  • Crystal Grotto Quarry
Dam #4 Cave
  • Dam #4 Cave – with an easily discerned entrance located shortly after C&O Canal mile marker 83, this cave most often contains an active stream during the wet months that can be circumvented with little difficulty to access the rest of the cave. This cave is roomy enough, with adjoining levels and crossovers; it is in the Conococheague Limestone (Open to visitation)
  • Darby
  • Dargan Mountain
  • Dargan Quarry (Open to visitation)
  • Dellinger's (Open to visitation)
  • Dog House
  • Drain Ditch (Filled)
  • Eby
Thrust sheet of Conococheague Limestone near Fairview
  • Fairview Caves – a prominent thrust sheet of limestone can be found along the west bank of Conococheague Creekmarker, near the community of Fairview. Several openings are developed in the face of the rock, including a fissure approximately 3’x5’ tall out of which evidence of a spring can be observed year round. The largest cave in this cluster can be found at the rock’s southern extent, where a couple hundred feet of low, muddy crawlway have been mapped. This was presumed to be Fairview Cave during the Franz/Slifer survey, though some discrepancy exists when compared to the initial report filed by Davies. (Closed by private owner)
  • Fake Fossil (Open to visitation)
  • Flook's Fissure (Filled)
  • Gold Mine Cave - local residents report the existence of another cave in the area between Jugtown and Mount Aetna; information pending.
  • Ground Hog
  • Grove
  • Hepburn
  • Hogmaw (Closed by private owner, 11/09)
  • Holmes
  • Houpt (Closed by adjacent fish hatchery, 11/09)
Howell Cave
  • Howell Cave – is located west of McMahon's Mill (not the cave) near mile marker 88; during the wet months entrance to this cave is impeded by a small stream flowing from its low, gravel-lined mouth which sets back in a rocky alcove off the canal; located in the Stones River Limestone (Open to visitation)
Entrance to Jugtown Cave
  • Jugtown - can be found north of the Jugtown Road half-way up a wooded hillside. A stream that runs parallel the road is now the principal source of drainage in the area, but at one point water levels were apparently sufficient enough to connect the stream and the cave (which contains its own stream). Following a dry stream bed from the current stream will reveal the cave's entrance, wide by 3-5 feet high, which slopes downward in breakdown to the join the cave's only room. Beyond here the cave extends southeast, towards the mountain, along a narrow stream bed. Jugtown Cave is located in the Tomstown Dolomite at 740 feet (Open with landowner permission, 11/09).
  • Keedysville Caves - six small caves are located along the Little Antietam Creek's east bank at around , just south of Keedysvillemarker. These caves are relatively small and developed along joints striking north; these caves are said to be dead (no confirmation)
  • King Quarry - (Gated)
  • Licking Creek - directly under the I-70 bridge where it crosses Licking Creek a cluster of openings can be found; these caves are developed in the Helderberg Limestone, though none can be followed for any great distance due to the narrowing of the passages.
  • Limekiln Bend (Open to visitation)
  • Marker - located along Antietam Creek, this cave was once the site of an archeological investigation that produced Native American remains. Tradition has it that the cave once served as both a dueling and a burial place. The cave is located at the base of a forty-foot cliff (Closed by private owner, 11/09)
  • Mega-hole
McMahon's Mill #1
  • McMahon's Mill Cave #1 (Open to visitation)
  • McMahon's Mill Cave #2 – is located in another sink a short distance northwest of Cave #1. The cave is very fragile and beautiful. For this reason, it is closed by the landowner. (Closed by private owner, 11/09)
  • McMahon's Mill Cave #3 - The entrance levels are developed along vertical joints in the rock, while a lower level seems to be controlled by the flow of water along the horizontal beds of Stones River Limestone. Equipment recommended/upper-body strength a must for exiting; reports indicate that visitors are unwelcome by the property owner, who would most likely prosecute trespassers. (Closed by private owner, 11/09)
  • Mt. Aetna - in August of 1931 a cave was discovered in the vicinity of what is now MD Route 66 and Mt. Aetna Road. The following year the cave was opened commercially to the public by unknown parties, but the endeavor failed within six months due to lack of revenues. The property was later sold in the early 1960s; due to increasing vandalism the cave was enclosed by a wooden structure. The cave is on the property of the adjacent quarry, and was gated between 2005 and 2008 by the Tri-state grotto. The cave is developed in the Tomstown Formation at , in particularly dense dolomite, and is rich in formations. The cave is essentially one large passage nearly long, with one side passage near the entrance. (Gated)
  • Mt. Aetna Quarry
  • Natural Well
  • Neck (Open to visitation)
  • Pinesburg (Open to visitation)
  • Red Hill (Closed by private owner, 11/09)
  • Revells (Open with landowner permission, 2/09)
  • Rohrersville Column (Closed by private landowner, 11/09)
  • Rohr-Keedy
  • Rohrersville #5
  • Rount Top Summit
View of Sepentroph's Hill
  • Sepentroph's Cave – can be easily found a short-distance north of Wilson above a watercress field bordering Conococheague Creekmarker. A spring at the base of the road serves as an outlet for water draining from higher elevations; following the presumed path of drainage will reveal the cave's small entrance, half-way up the hillside. This cave can be very constraining, and a large degree of upper body strength is required to exit the cave or reach its upper level after having made the initial drop. This cave is located in the Chambersburg Limestone near its contact with the Martinsburg Shale. During the winter months, this cave has been reported to have 'bad air', and so caution is advised. (Open with permission, 11/09)
  • Sharman's Run Cave (Open with landowner permission, 11/09)
  • Snively Caves - are located on a broken plateau east of the Little Antietam Creek near Eakle's Mill. The exact location is believed to be south of Dogstreet.
  • Snyder's Landing Cave #1 – located at the base of the C&O Canal near mile marker 76; located in the Conococheague Limestone (Open to visitation)
  • Snyder's Landing Cave #2 – located further downstream from Cave #1; the cave has two narrow entrances along the base of the canal and is located in the Conococheague Limestone; easily distinguished from other caves by a third opening located above the right entrance, the two apparently being connected by a chimney (Open to visitation)
  • Snyder's Landing #3 - located atop cliff on the margin of a large sinkhole, almost directly above cave #1. (Open to visitation)
  • Two Locks - along the C&O Canal between Dam #5 and mile marker 107 are several fissures and suspect openings, almost exclusively surrounding a rocky escarpment of Beakmantown Limestone. The northern most of these caves can be seen as a large fissure on the cliff face looking up-river; at least two other caves exist on the cliff's adjacent face, where footing can be found to access the promotory. Remains at the top indicate this has been a vantage point of strategic importance over the past few centuries, and continues to provide scenic views upriver; remnants of a long-standing outpost or camp, several deep wells and chasms at this site suggest they may connect with the other caves located below the cliff, making this a relatively large system when considered as a whole. (Open to visitation)
  • Wheeler Road Crevice (Closed by private landowner, 07)
  • Wilson - first opened in March 1968, the cave lies in a shallow sinkhole, presumably in a wooded area north of the Wilson General Store on U.S. Route 40. The cave is developed in a thin band of Chambersburg Limestone west of Conococheague Creekmarker and west of the Stones River Limestone, at an elevation of . The entrance is a vertical drop, and a second drop of must be overcome to gain access to the lower level. The cave is presumed to be wet with a well at the far end that should be considered dangerous to enter. In February 2009, this cave contained very little oxygen, and being difficult to exit, is extremely dangerous. (Open with landowner permission)
  • Winder's Cave #1 - is named after a Mr. Winders, who lived off of Crystal Falls Drive, about a mile north of its intersection with Mt. Aetna Road; the land is now maintained by his kin. The caves on his property which is somewhere southwest of Jugtown. Both caves are developed in the Tomstown Dolomite on the east flank of a wooded ridge at around . This cave is said to contain several vertical drops and has two levels, and is likely hydrologically related to Jugtown Cave, one half-mile to the north and slightly to the east. Unfortunately, the Winder family does not want visitors in the cave (due to vandalism); they tell people the cave has been sealed off, but the actual condition is unknown (Closed by private landowner, 12/08)
  • Winder's Cave #2 - is located on the same ridge as #1, but hidden somewhere in a small, tree-filled sink 450 yards to the south. The cave is reported to be of relatively little interest, but local reports suggest a third cave may/may have existed in another sink 50 yards to the north (Closed by private landowner, 12/08)


Notes

  1. Maryland Geological Survey's Caves of Maryland, 1971
  2. Virginia Region of the NSS Maryland Cave Law
  3. MGS Online
  4. Catoctin National Park
  5. The Nature Conservancy Crabtree Cave
  6. A History of Western Maryland; Scharf, 1882



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