Boy Scout Programs

Reservations Are Required for all scout programs

All merit badge and Webelos pin programs have a 6 scout minimum; so, classes will not be set up until 6 paid reservations are received.  Any Boy Scout badge or Webelos pin program outlined below is available on any day Laurel Caverns is open.  Please send your prepayment, along with the reservation form at the link below to: Reservations – Laurel Caverns – Post Office Box 62 – Hopwood, PA 15445.  Plan well ahead.  You do not have a reservation until we have full payment in advance and you have a written confirmation.  Phone: 724-438-3003 if you have any questions concerning the reservation form.

BSA RESERVATION FORM FOR LAUREL CAVERNS

Rappelling, Lower Caving, and Upper Caving All Require Release Forms

Also, please note that the release forms for Rappelling, Lower Caving, and Upper Caving must be signed by all participants; and for anyone under the age of 18 to participate in the activity, it must be signed by a parent or legal guardian as well.

Cave Exploring

(Spelunking) Upper and Lower Caving

These three-hour programs are offered at either 10:00 AM or 2:00 PM and include a 20-30 minute orientation on cave safety. The appropriate release form, which explains the spelunking activity, must be signed by a parent for each participant under 18 years of age.

Upper Caving

(ages 9 and up)

$20 per scout – $20 per adult

Lower Caving

(ages 12 and up)

$25 per scout – $25 per adult

Please go to Spelunking – Caving for more information and for the links to their respective release forms.  The above rates are subject to troop minimums.

Preparedness Points Emphasized by the Laurel Caverns Caving Staff

For those who wish to self-outfit for Lower Caving.
(Please don’t confuse this trip with our easy family guided tour.)

  • #1 Proper Clothing

    Proper caving shoes are not reusable to an outfitter. Coveralls would have to be laundered after each use and the sand in them makes that very expensive. Lights could be rented but when that was tried they usually disappeared, so now they can only be sold. Thus, if Laurel Caverns outfits you for lower caving, the cost is $85 per person. But, if you outfit yourself, the cost is $30 per person (groups $25) for lower caving and $25 per person for upper caving (groups $20).

  • #2 Proper Light Sources

    Remember that two sources of light are required. A headlamp and a handheld light are best. Cellphone lights, keychain lights, and other such dim sources are not acceptable.

  • #3 Proper Foot Wear

    The only shoes that are acceptable are lace-up hiking boots with good tread and ankle support that comes at least 1 inch above the ankle. Some shoes, like basketball shoes cover the ankle, but lack the needed tread. If you are wearing a shoe that lacks good tread or comes below the ankle you will only be allowed to go in the upper parts of the cave. A twisted ankle can involve a basket rescue and upwards of forty people. The last twisted ankle rescue took nearly six hours to complete and a staffer suffered a knee injury in the process. (The staff has requested that those who wear flip-flops or sandals only be admitted to the traditional family guided tour and those who choose to wear no shoes at all not even be allowed in the visitors’ center.)

  • #4 Caving Extras

    Real cavers prefer coveralls. But, a long-sleeved shirt and long pants are acceptable. Wearing shorts and short-sleeved shirts can lead to abrasions. The surface of cave rocks can be like sand paper.

  • #5 Release Forms

    For everyone under 18 years the Laurel Caverns release form must be signed by a parent or legal guardian. Scout leaders, summer camp staffers, older brothers, relatives a minor might be visiting, etc. are not legal guardians. This form can be found at this website.

  • #6 Prompt Start Times

    Caving trips start at 10:00 am and 2:00 pm. Laurel Caverns is surrounded by about a hundred square miles of forest lands crisscrossed with old township rights of ways that are now hiking trails, gas lines, or just plain trees. GPS thinks they are public roads and this can get people lost. Allow lots of time to get to Laurel Caverns if you do not know where it is. Our staff has taken the stance that late attendees will miss much of the orientation and therefore are a safety risk to themselves and others. They have requested that no late attendees will be admitted. Further, late attendees will hold up the group and this is not fair to those who made a proper effort to get here on time.

  • #7 Policies are for Safety

    Please forgive us for the strict enforcement of these policies. We are regulated by the Bureau of Deep Mine Safety even though we are a natural cave. We are, by law, required to follow their protocols, especially with respect to rescues. Twisted ankles have to be treated as broken until X-rayed. Caving is a high adventure activity and can be dangerous. The terrain is rough and uneven. It is not a stroll through a shopping mall. Please don’t prepare for our lower caving trip as if it is. Upper caving is safer because it lacks the cliff structures found further down the inside of the mountain.

Note: both the upper and lower spelunking tours are staff assisted, which means that a staff member will accompany groups through the spelunking tour. There are no self-guided tours at Laurel Caverns.

The orientation start time for both the upper and lower spelunking tours are 10:00 AM and 2:00 PM

For Upper Caving allow two hours.  For Lower Caving allow up to 30 minutes for orientation and up to three hours as your “in the cave time.”  Exit time can be adjusted for groups needing an early departure.

Rain is never a problem – This is a great rainy day activity

Reservations

Reservations Are Required for all scout programs

Cameras

Cameras are welcome in the caverns, but please, no video recorders.

There is now a Boy Scout patch for cave exploring.

The LAUREL CAVERNS

BSA Cave Exploring Patch/Pin

This highly educational program is done in the upper cave (Lighted area + Cale’s Canyon, Ballroom and Bat Room.  The program begins at 10:00 am or 2:00 pm and concludes at 1:30 pm/5:30 pm

$25 per scout – Boy Scouts  ***** $22 per scout – Webelos (pin) ***** $22 per adult

The Boy Scout Geology Merit Badge

This three hour program is offered at either 10:00 AM and includes a one hour class, a one hour field walk and a one hour geology oriented cave tour.  This program has no prerequisites.  * Important! Please bring blue cards.*

Pricing

Participant  $18.00 per person

Observer $12.00 per person

The Boy Scout Forestry Badge

This program takes about two and a half hours and is offered as an afternoon activity beginning at 2:00 PM.  Many troops combine this afternoon program with a morning geology badge program.  The first hour is done indoors as a classroom and the second as a field walk.  There is no cave tour in this activity and thus, no charge for adult observers.  Appropriate dress for the day and season is suggested.  This program has no prerequisites. * Important! Please bring blue cards.*

Pricing

Participant  $10.00 per person

Adult observers are not charge

Please see above for the Upper Caving Release Form.

Webelos Programs

The Laurel Caverns Reservation Office is available 12 months a year.

The Earth Rocks Geology Programs

This three hour program is offered at 10:00 AM and includes a one hour class, a one hour field walk and a one hour geology oriented cave tour.  The morning program allows for a 30 minute lunch break, though lunch is not included in the program.  Participants should dress for the weather and wear suitable shoes.  Participating siblings will be charged the same as the scouts, except for preschoolers.  There is no charge for preschoolers, but it is asked they be excluded from the classroom part of the program.

Pricing

Per scout or sibling $14.00

Adult Observer $12.00 per person

The Webelos Into the Woods Forestry Program

This programs is designed to permit the scout to meet all the requirements of the Webelos Into the Woods program.  It requires at least two to three hours and is offered only at 2:00 PM.  Thus, both Geologist and Forester pins can be acquired in a single day.

The first hour is done indoors as a classroom and the second as a field walk.  There is no cave tour in this program and thus, no charge for adult observers.  Participants and siblings will be charged the same as the scouts, except for preschoolers.  There is no charge for preschoolers, but it is asked they be excluded from the classroom part of the program.  This program is offered May through October.   Appropriate dress for the day and season is suggested.

Pricing

Per scout or sibling per program $8.00

Adult Observer (no charge)

Tigers, Bears and Wolves

The Laurel Caverns Reservation Office is available 12 months a year.

The Fun Patch Program

This family oriented program combines our one hour family tour of Laurel Caverns with Kavernputt, a miniature golf game through the largest simulated cave in the world.  Siblings are invited as participants.  At the conclusion of activities, all participants receive a bat patch as a memento of their adventure.  (Many groups add panning for gemstones or panning for fossils to this activity for an additional $6.00 per child.)  Cost: child participants: $14.00 each, parents and siblings are charged same as scouts. Pre-kindergarten siblings are not charged.

Note: Prepayment is not required for any program involving Tigers, Bears or Wolves but we do need notice of your plans so that we may be properly staffed.

PLEASE NOTE: No individual(s) under the age of 18 may participate in either the Upper Caving Activity or the Lower Caving Activity unless an adult having supervisory authority for the individual(s) is on the entire trip through the cave with them.

Cave Rappelling

Class times are 10:00 am and 2:00 pm.  See Cave Rappelling for more information.  This activity is designed for beginners. The activity begins with an instruction session. A double belay (two-ropes – two staffers) is used. All equipment is provided by Laurel Caverns. Every participant is guaranteed at least two drops. Since our rappelling cliffs are in the cave, rain is never a problem.  Participants must be at least twelve years of age.  This is a rappelling class only.  It is not a part of any badge program.

The cave rappelling activity requires our signed release form which, for anyone under 18 years of age, must also be signed by a parent or legal guardian. This form must be read carefully for it will convey a sense of the risks associated with high adventure cave rappelling. Any individual under the age of 18 arriving without a parentally signed release form will not be admitted to a rappelling activity. Trip sponsors and leaders may not sign for anyone as a proxy for the parent.

Rappelling Rate

$35 per person

 

PLEASE NOTE: No individual(s) under the age of 18 may participate in either the Upper Caving Activity or the Lower Caving Activity unless an adult having supervisory authority for the individual(s) is on the entire trip through the cave with them.

Please see the homepage for the days open for this season.  We are open from mid-April through the last Sunday in October.  The traditional Tour and Modified Traditional Tour are offered every day, without exception.  We are even open on holidays.  When the first ticket for the “next tour” is sold a twenty minute countdown is started.  With this rule, no one need wait more than twenty minutes for the one hour tour.  The visitors’ center opens every day at 9:00 AM.  The last tour of the day enters at 4:30 PM.