Tytoona Cave

Tytoona Cave Nature Preserve

Tytoona Cave Nature Preserve is located in Sinking Valley, Blair County, Pennsylvania, between the cities of Tyrone and Altoona (hence the name). This preserve is the ninth nature preserve owned by the NSS. Tytoona Cave Nature Preserve, containing 6.8 acres of property, was purchased from the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy on December 23, 1997.

Tytoona has been 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 county 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. This cave contains about a mile of trunk passage, a portion of which is divided by water sumps, and a few large dry rooms. In one of the sump-protected rooms are very delicate and significant formations. The room is said to be like an air lock chamber. Changing water levels in the cave system don't seem to effect this room. Mother Nature protects this area of the cave through sumps, which restrict visitors to those qualified in cave sump diving, when permitted.

The downstream portion of the cave system exits at Arch Spring. The Arch is very picturesque, mimicing as a miniature to the famous Natural Bridge in Virginia. While Tytoona and Arch Spring are well known landmarks, the Arch is privately owned and not located on the Tytoona Cave Preserve property. Permission can be obtained to visit this site from the landowner.

Perhaps one of Tytoona's greatest strengths is the educational and recreational value it has to offer. This cave has been host to many youth groups, college students, and cavers, as an educational tool to teach and learn about caves, caving, and conservation. This, coupled with the recreational value, makes Tytoona very popular. The first 1000 feet of passage offers easy caving for both young and old. As a well-known natural landmark, Tytoona attracts it's own publicity. This cave has an exceptionally attractive entrance. Along with the photogenic qualities of the landscape, it's a popular site for cavers, conservationists, and others.

The property is to be managed as a natural area. The Management Team consists of a Chief Director and a Preserve Management Committee. Although few visitation restrictions exist, visitors are reminded to use only the established trails on the property. Visitors are allowed daily from 6AM to 9PM.

The Preserve Management Committee is chaired by Garrett Czmor.

More Photos

Preserve Management Plan

 

If you have questions about this Preserve, e-mail Garrett Czmor at tytoonacommittee@caves.org


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