IUP Seal Indiana University of PA
IUP Geography and Regional Planning Department
Contact Us
Directory
Site Map
Search
IUP Home

Ghost Pike Bike Hike

September 7, 2008

 

A Spell-binding peddle along the Pennsylvania Turnpike’s abandoned Rays-Sideling Hill Remnant

Kevin Patrick

  Once part of a magic motorway that was the epitome of modernity and the envy of the Free World, these abandoned Pennsylvania Turnpike tunnels are now the haunt of lost souls and Satan worshipers…

 

  THEN

 

  NOW

…And we are going to bike through them!

You can too (if you dare).

 Bicycle and Transportation Required.

This Geography of Pennsylvania class trip is being run by Dr. Kevin Patrick. See him for details at Leonard 1-B.  A caravan of vehicles (loaded with bikes) will assemble, and leave from the HUB lot at 8:00am Sunday September 7, and return about 6:00pm. We will be making a few short stops for geographic interpretation en route to the Pennsylvania Turnpike’s abandoned Rays-Sideling Hill remnant located in Fulton County. The bike hike is a total of about 20 miles (10 miles up and back) on crumbling, but still good, pavement. Bike lights are recommended.

 

Bituminous Coal Fields: Indiana, PA to Allegheny Ridge

 The drive from Indiana, Pennsylvania to the abandoned Pennsylvania Turnpike Rays-Sideling Hill remnant will cross terrain emblematic of two major physiographic provinces. The route from Indiana to the Allegheny Front east of Cresson crosses the hilly topography of the stream dissected Allegheny Plateau (part of the larger Appalachian Plateau). In addition to several steep-sided stream valleys, the route crosses the flattened northern snouts of to anticlinal ridges. The first is Chestnut Ridge crossed just east of Indiana, and the second is Laurel Ridge crossed just west of Ebensburg. All of the surface rocks along this stretch are Pennsylvanian age, and include shales and sandstones. This part of the plateau’s bituminous coal fields contains seams from the lower Pennsylvanian Allegheny Group, including the productive Upper Freeport and Lower Kittanning coals. Evidence of coal mining is apparent in several reclaimed strip mines along the road, and in the coal patch communities of Colver and Revloc. Colver was developed by eastern capitalist’s B. Dawson Coleman, and John Heisley Weaver in 1911, the town’s name being a combination of their names. Coleman and Weaver opened Revloc five years later, naming it as the reverse of Colver. Coal mining is also implicated in the co-generation power plant at Ebensburg, which once had a captive mine, but now runs reclaimed boney pile coal from Revloc, Ernest, and in the future Lucernemines.

          Physiographic provinces across our path between Indiana and Fulton counties.

 

 

 

Surface geology between Indiana and Fulton counties.

Coal patch communities of Colver, Revloc, and the Cambria County seat of Ebensburg.

 

 

Cambria County boney pile on the edge of Nanty-Glo.

 

Allegheny Front: Cresson to Hollidaysburg

The Allegheny Front is the eastern edge of the Allegheny Plateau, and the physiographic province boundary between the Appalachian Plateau and the Appalachian Ridge and Valley. The descent on US 22 crosses from the Pennsylvanian age rocks at the top of the plateau through the older Mississippian rocks to the Devonian rocks of the valley. Towards the top of the slope, Pottsville sandstone is the resistant rock layer that marks the bottom of Pennsylvanian age rocks. Farther down is the Mississippian age Burgoon/Pocono sandstone. These two resistant ridge and ledge-forming sandstone/conglomerate stratum always mark the edge of Pennsylvania’s coal basins.

 

The Devonian shales of Logan Valley, within which Altoona and Hollidaysburg sit, are less resistant and therefore more easily eroded than the hard sandstones and quartzites of the bordering ridges. Not all of the rocks of the valley are weak, however. Our first stop will be at the I-99 overlook on Catfish Ridge, which is a secondary ridge (i.e. not as large as the main ridges of the Appalachian Ridge and Valley) of Devonian Ridgeley sandstone that affords a great view of the Allegheny Front to the west.

Rock fall from the Mississippian age Pocono sandstone along US Route 22, Allegheny Front, Pennsylvania

 

       

The Allegheny Front from Catfish Ridge showing Bald Knob (left), Blair Gap (center), and Sugar Run Gap (right)

 

Dry Gap, a wind gap separating Loop and Short mountains (left), and McKee Gap, a water gap farther south separating Short and Dunning mountains (right). The bare patches on the mountain are Silurian Tuscarora quartzite talus screes.

 

A wind gap/water gap pairing on the northwest side of Morrison Cove

 

Morrison Cove Anticline: McKee Gap to Loysburg Gap

             Bare boulder talus marks the slopes of Short Mountain southeast of Catfish Ridge. Commonly found throughout the Appalachian Ridge and Valley, these talus slopes are the signature of Silurian Tuscarora quartzite, a resistant rock that holds up many of the ridges in central Pennsylvania. Short Mountain stands between another common feature of the Appalachian Ridge and Valley, a wind gap-water gap pairing. To the north is Dry Gap, a wind gap formed by a stream that once crossed the ridge here. That stream was subsequently pirated by the headward erosion of the Juniata River’s Frankstown Branch and its tributaries, and now the water drains through McKee Gap to the south.

            Passing through McKee Gap on PA Route 36, an outcropping of Ridgeley sandstone is visible, but the bulk of the ridge is held up by the Tuscarora quartzite. The limestone quarry beyond the gap marks the gateway to Morrison Cove, a classic anticlinal limestone valley (part of the Nittany Anticlinorium) underlain by Ordovician age carbonate rocks. The limestone’s susceptibility to chemical weathering (the dissolution of rock’s calcium carbonate by slightly acidic water) results in a karst topography of sink holes, caves, and springs. The largest spring in the valley is Roaring Spring where water flowing beneath Morrison Cove rises to the surface before flowing out through McKee Gap, bringing a large supply of clean water to the Appleton Paper's Spring Mill that operates nearby.

Turnpike bike peddlers stop at Roaring Spring.

 

 

Geologic Map of Blair County, Pennsylvania, 1878

 

The geologic nomenclature has changed somewhat since 1878. Pottsville sandstone and conglomerate is a Pennsylvanian age strata that is still used, as is the Mississippian Mauch Chunk shale, Pocono sandstone (known as Burgoon sandstone in western Pennsylvania), and the Devonian Catskill formation. Devonian Oriskany sandstone is generally recognized as the Ridgeley sandstone now, and Silurian Tuscarora quartzite shows up on this map as part of the Medina and Oneida sandstones. The Ordovician Trenton limestone exposed in Morrison Cove is a rock package that is now recognized as having numerous limestone layers, including the cave-containing Nealmont-Benner formation.

            The limestones of Morrison Cove breakdown into a great agricultural soil, which provides the foundation for the dairy farms that cover the valley floor. The cropping patterns are dominated by corn, used primarily as silage to feed the cows, and alfalfa, grown as a nitrogen fixer in rotation with the corn. Each farm is functionally centered on a Pennsylvania bank barn paired with a grouping of silos. Mirroring the geology, the favored stone used in vernacular barn foundations and farm houses is locally quarried grayish white limestone. Extending east from Waterside, Hipple Cave Road gets its name form a closed show cave that once operated from 1928 to about 1940. A subterranean stream flows through the cave, which formed in Ordovician Nealmont/Benner limestone, a common cave-former in central Pennsylvania. The arrival of reliable automobiles and paved roads caused many karst country caves to be commercially developed during the 1920s and early 1930s. The Great Depression and World War II-induced travel restrictions, however, caused many small, remotely located caves like Hipple to close in the 1930s and early 1940s.

Dairy farms in Morrison County looking east toward Tussey Mountain.

 

  

Hipple Cave entrance steps, c.1928 (above left). Hipple Cave entrance steps, 2008 (above right).

The "Palm Tree" in Hipple Cave c.1928 (below right), and in 2008 (below left).

 

 

     The ridges surrounding Morrison Cove are all held up by younger Silurian Tuscarora quartzite, which prior to millions of years of erosion, arched overhead in a huge anticline. The ridges are the truncated limbs of this breached anticline. Morrison Cove’s southern outlet is through Loysburg Gap, which cleaves Tussey Mountain, and affords a close-up examination of a Tuscarora quartzite talus slope. This is a peri-glacial talus slope that formed during the last glacial advance when a vigorous freeze-thaw cycle frost-wedged huge blocks of quartzite from the outcrop farther up the ridge.

 

Tuscarora quartzite talus slopes in Loysburg Gap of Tussey Mountain, Bedford County, PA.

 

Geology of northern Bedford County, 1878, showing the Ordovician limestones of the Morrison Cove anticlinal valley, Loysburg Gap through the Silurian Tuscarora quartzite of Tussey Mountain, and the Pennsylvanian age semi-bituminous coal basin of the Broad Top Syncline.

Broad Top Syncline: Tussey Mountain to Sideling Hill

             Beyond Loysburg Gap, routes 36 and then 26 follow Yellow Creek to the Raystown Branch of the Juniata River at Hopewell. The Devonian rocks return east of Tussey Mountain, including the valley shales, and the Ridgeley sandstone, which makes up the secondary Warrior Ridge which parallels Route 26 to the east, running southward toward Everett. More noticeable is the Mississippian age Pocono sandstone of River Mountain visible in the outcrops closer to Hopewell. With the reappearance of the Pocono sandstone, the Pottsville sandstone can not be far away, nor the Pennsylvanian coal seams beyond. This is the edge of the Broad Top Syncline, a patch of Pennsylvanian age rocks in the south central part of the state that contains semi-bituminous coal seams. The Broad Top is virtually surrounded by the double ridge barrier created by the dual outcropping of Pocono sandstone and Pottsville sandstone. The intervening valley, which at Hopewell is drained by the Raystown Branch of the Juniata River, is underlain by soft shale of the Mississippian Mauch Chunk red beds.

            East of Hopewell, Route 915 climbs to the Pottsville sandstone summit of Broad Top Mountain and crosses the southern tip of the Broad Top coal field. A few miles farther, the road drops over the crest of Timber Mountain, the upturned eastern edge of the Broad Top plateau. The road descends into Sherman Valley and back on to the Mississippian Mauch Chunk red beds around Wells Tannery before climbing up the dip slope of Sideling Hill where the Pocono sandstone returns to the surface on the eastern edge of the Broad Top Syncline. 

 

View north across Sherman Valley (Mississippian Mauch Chunk shale) toward Broad Top Mountain (Pottsville sandstone), (above left). View south across Sherman Valley toward Rays Hill (Mississippian Pocono sandstone/conglomerate), (above right).

 

Broad Top coal miners pose at the tipple.

 

 

Aaron K. sitting on a block of Pocono sandstone at the top of Sideling Hill, overlooking Clear Valley west toward Rays Hill where the synclinal Pocono sandstone outcrops again. The Pottsville sandstone supported Broad Top Mountain is in the background right.

      The Forbes Road crossed Sideling and Rays hills at this location. Hacked out of the Pennsylvania wilderness in 1758, the Forbes Road was built during the French and Indian War to take General John Forbes’ British Army across the mountains from Philadelphia to attack French Fort Duquesne built at the Forks of the Ohio, the future location of Pittsburgh. Forbes’ protected advance relied on forts constructed along the way that after the war became the settlements of Ft. Loudon, Ft. Littleton, Bedford, and Ligonier. In the face of Forbes approaching army, the French vacated Fort Duquesne. This success was a critical step in Great Britain’s ultimate victory five years later, securing its hold over North America.

            Forbes Road switch-backed down the east slope of Sideling Hill at the approximate location of the Pennsylvania Turnpike’s Rays-Sideling Hill Bypass. The 13-mile bypass was built over the tops of Sideling and Rays hills in 1968. This was part of a five-year program to bypass or dual all seven of the turnpike’s original two-lane tunnels. The Rays-Sideling Hill Bypass was constructed to sidestep the segment that included the Sideling Hill and Rays Hill tunnels, the longest and shortest tunnels on the turnpike. The realignment inadvertently preserved a turnpike remnant in its original 1940 configuration, although its most recent 40-year un-maintained exposure to time, weather, and vandals has given it a post-apocalyptic appearance.

At the beginning of the French and Indian War, British General Edward Braddock carved out "Braddock's Road" from Virginia on his disastrous 1755 advance on French Fort Duquesne. General John Forbes cut "Forbes Road" on his protected advance in 1758 that chased the French from the Forks of the Ohio.

This map shows the Forbes Road (1758), the Lincoln Highway (1913), the original Pennsylvania Turnpike (1940), and the turnpike's Rays-Sideling Hill Bypass (1968) crossing the southern end of the Broad Top Syncline between Sideling Hill and Rays Hill.

 

Pennsylvania Turnpike’s Rays-Sideling Hill Remnant

      Our ghost pike bike hike begins on reddish-brown Devonian shales a mile east of the Sideling Hill Tunnel. The entire segment crosses a southern extension of the Broad Top syncline, which is so narrow that it only includes the Mississippian age rocks. Sideling Hill is held up by Pocono sandstone, which dips down beneath the intervening valley, re-surfacing four miles west where the turnpike again punches through the Pocono sandstone with the Rays Hill Tunnel. The four mile Clear Valley segment that stretches between the tunnels skirts the same Mauch Chunk red beds crossed at Wells Tannery. The forested slope to the south is the closed end of the plunging syncline which forms the narrow plateau of Pocono sandstone between the Sideling and Rays hills crests. The turnpike’s current alignment spans this plateau after crossing over the top of the Sideling Hill Tunnel.

           The original Pennsylvania Turnpike was a Depression make-work project laid out between Irwin, just east of Pittsburgh, and Middlesex, just west of Harrisburg. Opened at midnight October 1, 1940 as America’s first long-distance, limited-access highway, the turnpike’s alignment followed the right-of-way built for the South Penn Railroad in 1884-1885. The South Penn was the New York Central’s attempt to compete with the Pennsylvania Railroad’s Main Line. It was planned in response to the Pennsylvania Railroad’s backing of the West Shore Railroad, a line built parallel to the New York Central’s main line across New York. Incensed that this expensive, cut-throat competition between the nation’s two largest railroads was bad for business, financier J. P. Morgan insisted that the two railroads settle their differences and get out of each other’s home territory. As a result, work on the South Penn Railroad was abruptly terminated with 60% of the right-of-way and 4.5 miles of tunnels completed. Turnpike construction a half century later obliterated much of the South Penn’s right of way but remnants still exist, including fill in the vicinity of the tunnels.

This c.1950 postcard shows the original seven Pennsylvania Turnpike Tunnels. East to west they were: 1) Laurel Hill, 2) Allegheny, 3) Rays Hill, 4) Sideling Hill, 5) Tuscarora, 6) Kittatinny, and 7) Blue Mountain. The Laurel Hill Bypass opened in 1964, and the Rays-Sideling Hill Bypass in 1968, the same year the dual bores for the remaining five tunnels were completed.

 

Pike peddlers mount up on the abandoned turnpike east of Sideling Hill.

Generalized geologic cross section along the Forbes Road; Cumberland Valley to Friends Cove.

 

 

Howard Johnson's counter at the Cove Valley Service Plaza (above left). Only the parking lot remains of the Cove Valley Service Plaza today (above right). Stranded on the abandoned stretch of turnpike, Cove Valley was replaced by the Sideling Hill Service Plaza built along the Rays-Sideling Hill Bypass.

Sideling Hill Tunnel, East Portal

 

Google image showing the old turnpike disappearing into Sideling Hill, and passing beneath the turnpike's Rays-Sideling Hill Bypass and PA Route 915.

 

East portal of the Sideling Hill Tunnel.

Fill built for the South Penn Railroad in 1885 using debris excavated from the eastern portal of the Sideling Hill tunnel. The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission planted the unused right-of-way in pine trees as part of the original turnpike landscaping in 1940.

South Penn Railroad map, 1885 (click for larger view).

Sideling Hill Tunnel east portal fan house with ventilation fans.

 

Inbound through the longest tunnel on the Pennsylvania Turnpike system; 6,782 feet, more than a mile of sub-mountain darkness.

Sideling Hill Tunnel, West Portal

Pennsylvania Turnpike Tunnel interior, c.1940

 

Tunnel graffiti from the local stoners and punks.

 

KJP at the west portal, Sideling Hill Tunnel

 

The westward dipping Pocono sandstone abuts against the west portal of the Sideling Hill Tunnel where maybe there is an enclave of French with a long-standing grudge against General Forbes' successful 1758 campaign.

 

After abandonment, the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC) used the Rays-Sideling Hill remnant to train snow plow drivers, test paint, road reflectors, and rumble strips, and to store jersey barriers. The 12-mile long superhighway, however, was primarily a crumbling liability the PTC eventually wanted to shed. In 2001, PTC turned it over to the Southern Alleghenies Conservancy, which has plans to use it as part of BicyclePA's Route S. Route S is a 435 mile long bike trail marked out over lesser used roads that crosses the southern part of Pennsylvania from Washington County on the West Virginia border to Washington Crossing on the Delaware River. As with the pack horse trains, military equipment, Conestoga wagons, and automobiles that came before trans-state recreational biker riders, Rays and Sideling hills presents a difficult terrain challenge that can be mitigated using the turnpike's abandoned tunnels. The "Pike 2 Bike" path is still in its raw state and officially closed, so bikers travel at their own risk. Motorized vehicles are strictly prohibited and subject to heavy fines.

Recently, the abandoned turnpike has been put to use as stand-in scenery representing a post-apocalyptic America in the movie version of Cormac McCarthy's book, The Road, due to premier in November, 2008. Here a group of sad-looking survivors troop out of the east portal of the Rays Hill Tunnel.

Mark Rice on the long grade following the Pocono sandstone dip west to Rays Hill Tunnel.

 

Although several bridges have recently been removed from the abandoned turnpike, two overpasses remain. Both have railings that reflect the stripped down streamline Moderne detailing that was built into the turnpike's 1940 structures.

 

Rays Hill Tunnel, East Portal

This 1885 photo shows the South Penn Railroad crew digging the Rays Hill Tunnel (above left). The South Penn did work on all nine tunnels planned for the New York Central-backed railroad across southern Pennsylvania, but none of them were holed through before work was suspended. Fifty years later, highway engineers redesigned and completed six of the South Penn's tunnels for the Pennsylvania Turnpike. Road cuts replaced the South Penn's Negro Mountain and Quemahoning tunnels, and the Allegheny Tunnel was found to be structurally unsound, requiring the turnpike to bore a new tube 85 feet to the south. Rays Hill Tunnel seen soon after its 1940 completion (above right).

The Raykes family with the crew at the east portal of the Rays Hill Tunnel.

 

The 3,532-foot long Rays Hill Tunnel was the shortest on the turnpike system. So short, in fact, that tunnel engineers concluded it could be ventilated with only one fan house, rather than the two fan houses that ventilated every other tunnel from each portal. With the Rays Hill Tunnel fan house over the west portal, the fan house-less east portal was unique among the turnpike tunnel entrances.

Pike peddlers at the post-apocalyptic Rays Hill Tunnel.

 

Rays Hill Tunnel, West Portal

 

Google image showing the old turnpike disappearing beneath Rays Hill, just north of the turnpike's Rays-Sideling Hill Bypass and US Route 30 (Lincoln Highway).

 

Light at the west end of the Rays Hill Tunnel.

 

Highway Hole to Hell.

 

Rice and Wicker at the Rays Hill tunnel's west portal.

 

A culvert built from Pocono sandstone taken from the South Penn's Rays Hill Tunnel in 1884-85 to channel water beneath the railroad right-of-way.

 

Death on the Haunted Ghost Pike.

In a postmodern heritage economy ghosts follows tourists. Approximately two dozen men lost their lives building the original turnpike, including four workers killed in a cave-in at the Laurel Hill Tunnel. Their ghosts are not known to have haunted the turnpike tunnels -yet. A threshold number of outside visitors have yet to arrive to the derelict-turnpike laced hills of central Pennsylvania to conjure up the ghost stories new millennium tourist likes to use to enhance place meaning. The dead are already doing double-duty entertaining haunted tour goers at Gettysburg, New Orleans, countless New England inns, and any number of restored theaters and bed & breakfasts. Should the tourist economy demand it, however, spirits may yet drift back to haunt a new and improved and widely marketed abandoned turnpike tunnel attraction now oddly absent of ghosts in its current, truly creepy condition. When they do, the hauntings are likely to share the supernatural scene with the Pennsylvania Sascwatch responsible for the death of what appears to be mutated humans -or man-bear pig- the remains of which our pike peddling crew found in a turnpike ravine most probably used for Satanic rituals (above).

 

Breezewood victory celebration for peddlers about to start their return trip on the 20-mile pike bike hike.

 

Remounting the abandoned Pennsylvania Turnpike at the recently removed bridge over US Route 30 east of Breezewood.

Pounding pavement on the return trip.

 

View east from the top of Rays Hill looking along the Pennsylvania Turnpike's Rays-Sideling Hill Bypass toward Sideling Hill. The abandoned turnpike is discernable curving around the right side of the lake in the synclinal Clear Valley.

Bill's Place was a locally famous ridge-top one-stop offering gas, food, and lodging to travelers on the old Lincoln Highway at the top of Rays Hill. The business lasted until 1968 when it was demolished for the massive road cut that now carries the Pennsylvania Turnpike's Rays-Sideling Hill Bypass over the crest of the ridge.

 

Friends Cove Anticline

             Nearly three century’s worth of trans-Appalachian transportation routes have crossed Pennsylvania in the vicinity of the Pennsylvania Turnpike’s Rays-Sideling Hill Bypass. This has nothing to do with these two ridges, which have always been a difficult impediment to overland transportation, but to twin water gaps that provide a low-grade route through two ridges farther west. The Raystown Branch of the Juniata River has taken advantage of an east-west fault that runs across Evitts and Tussey mountains, eroding water gaps through both ridges. Bedford Narrows through Evitts Mountain just east of Bedford, and Aliquippa Gap through Tussey Mountain just west of Everett are natural gateways west that eliminate the need to climb over two additional Appalachian ridges. In succession, the Raystown Indian trading path, Forbes Road, Pennsylvania emigrant road, early auto Lincoln Highway, US Route 30, and the Pennsylvania Turnpike were all routed over (or through) Rays and Sideling hills to align their routes to these twin gaps.

            The Devonian rocks east of Sideling Hill dip beneath the Broad Top Syncline and return to the surface west of Rays Hill. This includes the Ridgeley sandstone which forms a secondary ridge that runs just east of Everett. Tussey and Evitts mountains are truncated limbs of Silurian Tuscarora quartzite that once arced up into an anticline between Everett and Bedford. Over time, the anticline was breeched by the forces of erosion exposing the same Ordovician limestones exposed in Morrison Cove, and laying the foundation for a similar landscape of dairy farms and limestone quarries. This anticlinal valley is known as Friends Cove after the Quakers who settled here. Even older Cambrian limestones are exposed at its core. The Tuscarora quartzite exposed on the east side of Aliquippa Gap is exposed again on the west side of Bedford Narrows.

Made from the Devonian rocks that outcrop nearby, the Juniata Crossings Inn dates to the 1818 completion of the Pennsylvania Road, the state's first trans-Appalachian turnpike -or more accurately, series of end to end turnpikes. The inn was constructed where the turnpike crossed the Raystown Branch of the Juniata River west of Breezewood. In 1913, the old turnpike became part of the Lincoln Highway, marked out over pre-existing roads from New York City to San Francisco as the country's first transcontinental automobile road.

 

Bedford County Geology, 1878

View west through Aliquippa Gap from the Juniata Valley toward Evitts and Wills mountains (above left). View west through Bedford Narrows from Friends Cove (above right).

Generalized geologic cross section along the Forbes Road; Aliquippa Gap to Laurel Hill.

 

Cumberland Valley Syncline, and the Wills Mountain Anticline

             General Forbes built Ft. Bedford as a staging base for his advance on Ft. Duquesne at a place that controlled access to the Narrows and allowed for easy communication south through Cumberland Valley to British Ft. Cumberland. Bedford sits in a narrow syncline between Evitts and Wills mountains where Silurian and Devonian age limestones surface. These limestones reappear on the west side of the Wills Mountain anticline where Coral Caverns has operated as a show cave near Manns Choice since 1932. The path north along I-99 follows the west slope of Dunning Mountain, a Silurian Tuscarora quartzite ridge mined for of its silica to make bricks. The view west is over the younger Devonian shales of the valley towards the Allegheny Front marking the eastern edge of the Appalachian Plateau. At 3,120 feet above sea level, Blue Knob is the highest point along Pennsylvania’s Allegheny Front. Only 93 feet lower than Mt. Davis, it is the second highest peak in Pennsylvania.

Not to be confused with the Cumberland Valley section of the Great Valley, Bedford County's Cumberland Valley (above left) is a synclinal trough between Evitts and Wills mountains that extends north-south from Bedford to Cumberland, Maryland. Cave-forming Devonian Helderberg and Silurian Keyser limestones (part of Lewsitown limestone on the 1878 maps) outcrop in this valley, and along the west side of Wills Mountain. Unlike the Ordovician Nealmont-Benner caves, Pennsylvania caves forming in the Helderburg-Keyser were not as likely to have large, natural openings. Workers at a limestone quarry near Manns Choice broke into Coral Caverns in 1928. Well decorated with speleothems, and containing a unique coral reef wall, the cave was commercialized and opened as Wonderland Coral Caverns in 1932. Lincoln Caverns near Huntingdon is Pennsylvania's other famous Devonian show cave. Road builders constructing a new alignment for the William Penn Highway (US 22) broke into Lincoln Caverns in 1930. It was developed and opened as a tourist attraction a year later.

 

Ghost Pike Bike Hikers at the top of Rays Hill.

View west into the setting sun from Rays Hill, taking in the Devonian Juniata Valley towards Aliquippa Gap through Tussey Mountain.

 

 

Man Bites Dog

 

Mall Everest

 

Cartomb

 

Cool Books

 

 

Hit Counter