Girl Scout Badges

Reservations by phone are required. (724) – 438 – 3003

All Girl Scout patch and badge programs have a 6 scout minimum; so, classes will not be set up until 6 paid reservations are received.  Any Girl Scout patch or badge activity outlined below is available at either 10:00 AM or 2:00 PM on any day Laurel Caverns is open.  Please send your prepayment, along with your troop number, contact information, date and time(s) requested, and the activities requested 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. 

Ask about traditional GSA patch and badge programs that might still be available.

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.

12 years of age and up…

High Adventure for Girl Scouts

Our three most popular activities for Girl Scouts 12 years of age and up are our Laurel Caverns Speleology program, caving (spelunking) and cave rappelling.

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 on this adventure. 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 by phone are required. (724) – 438 – 3003

Cameras

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

12 years of age and up…

High Adventure for Girl Scouts

Our three most popular activities for Girl Scouts 12 years of age and up are our Laurel Caverns Speleology program, caving (spelunking) and cave rappelling.

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
$35.00 per person

12 years of age and up…

High Adventure for Girl Scouts

Our three most popular activities for Girl Scouts 12 years of age and up are our Laurel Caverns Speleology program, caving (spelunking) and cave rappelling.

The Laurel Caverns Speleology Patch Program

This three hour high adventure learning program integrates caving with the study of the flora, fauna (particularly bats), and geology of Laurel Caverns.  Students will visit dig sites where heretofore unknown cave passages are being found and will be told the secret to the discovery of such passages.  The opportunity to collect pottery clay is also a part of this program.  At completion each participant is given an embroidered Laurel Caverns Speleology patch.

This program requires participants to bring at least two good sources of light.  Also, each must wear long pants, a long sleeved shirt, and shoes with good tread and ankle support.  Laurel Caverns will supply the hard hats. Each participant must also fill out and sign an Upper Caving Release Form.   The cave temperature is 52 degrees.  Bring a change of clothing; this is a real caving trip and participants will get the wet sands of the cave on their clothing.

Program fee: $25 per scout 

Leaders and parents will only be charged the $20 upper caving group rate.

Upper Cavin Release Form

9 years of age and up…

High Adventure for Junior Girl Scouts

Explorer Badge

The Laurel Caverns Girl Scout Junior Cave

This program is for Junior Girl Scouts who have reached their ninth birthday.   It requires participants to bring at least two good sources of light.  Also, each must wear long pants, a long sleeved shirt, and shoes with good tread and ankle support.  Laurel Caverns will supply the hard hats. Each participant must also fill out and sign an Upper Caving Release Form.  The cave temperature is 52 degrees.  Bring a change of clothing; this is a real caving trip and participants will get the wet sands of the cave on their clothing.

This program also requires a signed release form which, for anyone under 18 years of age, must also be signed by a parent or legal guardian.  This Upper Caving Release Form must be read carefully for it conveys a sense of the risks associated with high adventure caving and tells participants how to properly prepare for their trip.  Any individual under the age of 18 arriving without a parentally signed release form or not properly prepared will not be admitted to this activity.  Trip sponsors and leaders may not sign for anyone as a proxy for the parent.

Upper Cavin Release Form

This activity begins at the cave entrance in the Visitors’ Center and goes no further than those passages within a half-mile radius of that entrance.  Participants must be at least 9 years of age. This activity allows you to see some of the largest rooms in Laurel Caverns as well as some of the crawl passages off the lighted area.  One of the highlights of this trip is the opportunity for the scouts to “mine” their own take-home pottery clay.  It is suggested that any Junior Scouts or siblings under nine years of age take the Traditional Tour and strongly suggested that the physically challenged carefully consider the strenuous nature of a caving trip.  On this exploring adventure there is much climbing up and over rocks.  Injuries can occur from this kind of climbing and participants must respect the points made by the caving release form.

Program fee: $25 per participating scout

Leaders and parents will only be charged the $20 upper caving group rate.

Girl Scouts under 9 years…

High Adventure for Little Girl Scouts

The Brownie Troop 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 scouts receive a bat patch as a memento of their adventure.

Cost: participants: $14.00 each, parents pay the same $ 14 rate as the brownies.

Many groups add panning for gemstones or panning for fossils to this activity for an additional $6.00 per participant.

Note: Prepayment is not required for any program involving Brownies 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.

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.