At Echo Dell – Indian Echo Caverns, there’s a lot to explore, above ground and below! From year-round limestone cavern tours to a free petting zoo, discover the wonders at this accessible and affordable family attraction in Hummelstown between Hershey and Harrisburg.
An underground, guided tour of Indian Echo Caverns features winding paths framed by ancient rock formations and natural beauty. Guides are ready with fascinating facts and history about the limestone caverns and its first inhabitants. The caverns are well-lit, and its pathways are clear of debris, but you may encounter low ceilings and small puddles after a rainfall. Tours last approximately 45 minutes, with an additional 15 minutes for walking to and from the cavern entrance.
The caverns maintain a consistent 52 degrees Fahrenheit year-round, making it cool in the summer and warm in the winter. It’s a good idea to dress in layers. When it comes to footwear, wear comfortable shoes for walking and ones that cover your toes.
The limestone in the caverns is more than 440 million years old. As water flowed from the surface through the limestone, it eroded the rock, giving way to more and more openings and crevices. Geological forces led to an “uplift” of the limestone.
The formations in the cave are stalagmites (a type of rock formation that forms from the ground up), and stalactites (formations that form from the top down and “hang” from the ceiling). The caverns are always changing and growing, ever so slowly. It can take anywhere from 35 to 150 years to grow 1 inch of new formation!
One of the most Instagrammed spots inside the caverns is Crystal Lake, a six-foot-deep pool of water. The rock below the lake isn’t as permeable as the rest of the ground, so water seeping down from the surface sticks around for a while!
Make a discovery like a real pioneer at the Gem Mill Junction, where you can pan for gemstones, coins, arrowheads, fossils, and more. Purchase a bag of sand and goodies from the gift shop then take it outside to sift it. As water washes the sand away, you’ll uncover several small treasures that are yours to keep! It’s free to visit with the adorable farm animals at the Petting Zoo outside at Echo Dell. They have goats, alpacas, chickens, a rooster, a turkey, peacocks, and pheasants. *Check website for seasonal hours.
The caverns’ earliest known inhabitants – the Susquehannock Indians – used the caverns for shelter and storage. In the 17th century, early European explorers and hunters most likely discovered the mouth of the caverns while navigating the Swatara Creek and wrote home about their use of the caverns. One of the caverns’ most famous residents was the Pennsylvania hermit, William Wilson, who called the caves home from 1802 to 1821.