Exploring Woodward Cave in Centre County

Exploring Woodward Cave in Centre County PA

Woodward Cave in Centre County contains 5 large rooms, hundreds of yards of tunnels and passageways, and the largest stalagmite in Pennsylvania!

Stalactites on the ceiling of one of the rooms inside Woodward Cave.
Stalactites on the ceiling of one of the rooms inside the cave.

Operated as a “show cave” since 1926, Woodward Cave was known to the early European settlers in this region as Red Panther Cave.

Woodward Cave billboard along Route 45 in eastern Centre County PA.
Woodward Cave has operated as a show cave since 1926.

Red Panther was the son of the local Seneca chief, and legend has it that the chief’s son was struck and killed by lightning after cutting down a sacred beech tree nearby.

The totem poles around the property are a tribute to the Seneca people who lived here near Woodward Cave prior to the arrival of the first Europeans.
The totem poles around the property are a tribute to the Seneca people who lived here prior to the arrival of the first Europeans.

Red Panther was said to have been buried in the cave, thus the original name and the totem poles that pay tribute to the local Seneca legend.

Entrance to Woodward Cave in Centre County PA.
Totem pole next to the entrance of what was known to early settlers as Red Panther Cave.

The Woodward Cave Visitor Center

Tours of Woodward Cave begin at the Visitor Center, directly opposite the cave entrance.

The gift shop and Visitor Center at Woodward Cave in Centre County Pennsylvania.
The gift shop/ticket office/snack bar/visitor center.

In addition to serving as the ticket office, you’ll find historic memorabilia related to the cave on display here as well.

Vintage bumper stickers on display in the Woodward Cave Visitor Center.
Vintage bumper stickers on display in the Visitor Center.

One of the more interesting artifacts is a ball and chain recovered from the cave, from a time when Woodward Cave was used by early European settlers as a jail!

A ball and chain that was used when robbers were imprisoned in the cave by local settlers.
A ball and chain that was used by local settlers when Woodward Cave served as a jail.

You’ll also find souvenirs and snacks available for purchase in the Visitor Center.

Woodward Cave merchandise in the gift shop.
Cave merchandise in the gift shop.

Touring Woodward Cave

You’ll begin your tour by passing through a bat-friendly gate – Woodward Cave is the third largest hibernating site for bats in Pennsylvania!

The bat-friendly gate at Woodward Cave in Centre County Pennsylvania.
The bat-friendly gate.

Tours of Woodward Cave last about 50 minutes, as you wind your way through the cave’s main passages and into five large rooms.

Exploring Woodward Cave in Centre County PA.
Passageway through Woodward Cave.

Along the way, your tour guide will point out and describe the cave’s many geologic features.

One of the many cave formations encountered on the tour of Woodward Cave.
One of the many cave formations encountered on the 50-minute tour.

If you’re a veteran of exploring other caves, you’ll hear some familiar terms like cave bacon, cave ribbon, and flowstone.

Woodward Cave was known to early settlers in the region as Red Panther Cave, named after a Native American supposedly buried in the cave.
Woodward Cave was known to early settlers in the region as Red Panther Cave, named after a Native American supposedly buried in the cave.

The feature that impressed me the most on my tour of Woodward Cave was the “Tower of Babel”, a 14 foot-tall stalagmite that ranks as the tallest stalagmite in Pennsylvania.

The Tower of Babel stalagmite at Woodward Cave stands 14 feet tall.
The Tower of Babel stalagmite stands 14 feet tall.

From any angle this is a beautiful, almost other-worldly geologic feature.

The Tower of Babel is the name given to this formation in side Woodward Cave, the largest stalagmite in Pennsylvania
The Tower of Babel at Woodward Cave.

If you’re new to touring caves, Woodward Cave would be a great one to start with, as the passageways and rooms are very spacious, relative to other caves in Pennsylvania.

One of the large passageways at Woodward Cave in Centre County PA.
One of the large passageways.

All in all, touring Woodward Cave was a great experience for me – a knowledgeable guide, beautiful cave formations to see, and easy to navigate.

One of the smaller passageways in Woodward Cave.
One of the passageways inside the cave.

Directions to Woodward Cave

Woodward Cave is located at 148 Woodward Cave Drive, Woodward, PA 16882, just off of Route 45 in eastern Centre County.

Directions to Woodward Cave in Centre County Pennsylvania.
Map to Woodward Cave.

If navigating by GPS coordinates, use 40.888179, -77.387358 to reach the parking area next to the Visitor Center.

Entrance to Woodward Cave along Pine Creek Road in Centre County.
Entrance sign along Pine Creek Road.

Hours and Admission Prices

The prices shown below are current as of June, 2022.

Woodward Cave admission prices.
Admission prices.

Woodward Cave is open every day May 28 through August 21 from 10 am until 4 pm (last tour at 4 pm) – please check their OFFICIAL WEBSITE for any restriction/closures BEFORE making the trip!

Woodward Cave in eastern Centre County, Pennsylvania.
Tours are offered every day May 28 through August 21 from 10 am until 4 pm.

Penn’s Cave in Centre County offers the only cavern tour in the United States that is conducted completely by boat!

Entering Penn's Cave through the back entrance on Lake Nitanee.
Entering Penn’s Cave through the back entrance on Lake Nitanee.

Lincoln Caverns gives visitors the opportunity to explore an incredibly beautiful world far below the surface of neighboring Huntingdon County!

Exploring Lincoln Caverns and Whisper Rocks cavern in Huntingdon County Pennsylvania.
Lincoln Caverns in Huntingdon County.

Coral Caverns in Bedford County is home to a 420-million year old fossilized coral reef!

Exploring Coral Caverns in Bedford County Pennsylvania.
Coral Caverns in Bedford County.

Laurel Caverns is billed as “Pennsylvania’s Largest Cave”, and is a great way to spend an hour or two BENEATH the Laurel Highlands!

The overhead Grand Canyon of Laurel Caverns.
The overhead Grand Canyon of Laurel Caverns in Fayette County.

Tytoona Cave in Blair County  is owned by the National Speleological Society, and is maintained as a “natural cave”.

A summer afternoon at Tytoona Cave near Tyrone Pennsylvania.
Tytoona Cave in Blair County.

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Rusty Glessner is a professional photographer, lifelong Pennsylvanian, and creator of the PA Bucket List travel blog.