What Is Behind The Dam Doors? Experience Howe’s Signature Rock Tour

Signature Rock at Howe Caverns (Photo by Christy Hinko)
Signature Rock at Howe Caverns
(Photo by Christy Hinko)

In the first tour open to the public in more than 100 years, Anton Media Group’s travel editor, Christy Hinko, experienced first-hand what really is behind the dam doors, on Howe Caverns’ Signature Rock Discovery Tour on May 3.

“We’re thrilled to finally be able to introduce our guests to the full story of Lester Howe’s discovery and provide them with additional history of the caverns,” said Anne-Marie Galasso, COO of Howe Caverns. “We’ve been developing this project to further commemorate Howe’s remarkable story for many years.”

Signature Rock Tour at Howe Caverns (Photo by Christy Hinko)
Signature Rock Tour at Howe Caverns
(Photo by Christy Hinko)

Explore more than 1,200 feet of the amazing formations and mysteries in the oldest section of the caverns, solely lit by headlamps.

Cavern voyagers explore formations, walkways, tunnels and rooms, as well as see relics from the cavern’s historic past. The passageway for the new tour remains untouched and does not contain any modern conveniences such as lights or walkways. This will give guests the opportunity to view the cave exactly as it would have been when it was last visited by the public in 1900.

“The Signature Rock Discovery Tour takes our cavern tours to the next level, offering unique experiences and greater exploration. We are hoping that those who have already experienced our Traditional Tour or Adventure Tour will want to come back to discover the mysteries beyond the point they’ve been able to travel previously,” said Holly Hauser of Howe Caverns management team.

Signature Rock Tour at Howe Caverns (Photo by Christy Hinko)
Signature Rock Tour at Howe Caverns
(Photo by Christy Hinko)

Traveling by boat, on foot and on hands and knees, those who take the three-hour tour will experience sights, sounds and absolute darkness, unlike those on the Traditional Tour. A major highlight of the tour is Signature Rock itself, containing hundreds of initials and signatures dating back to 1843, including the notable signatures of Howe and Phi Delta Theta.

Other highlights of the new tour include: The Old Boat, The Music Hall, The Fan, Congress Hall, gypsum walls and Franklin Avenue.

Provided protective gear must be worn, reservations required. Visit Howe Caverns for information about the new tour.

Need more Howe Caverns adventure? Check out the Adventure Tour, two-hours of spelunking for cave enthusiasts (ages 12 and older, under 18 with an adult). Don your supplied coveralls, gloves, boots, knee pads and lighted helmet as you wiggle and crawl your way through underground adventure. Experienced guides will lead you through the Mystery Passage, across the dry underground stream bed and up to the Great Rotunda, a 107-foot high, silo-shaped natural dome. Admission for the Adventure Tour is $108 per person; reservations are required.

Click here to return to Anton’s original Howe Caverns story.


Christy Hinko
Christy Hinko is a managing editor at Anton Media Group. She is a New York Press Association (NYPA) and Press Club of Long Island (PCLI) award-winning writer and photographer.

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