Maryland Department of Natural Resources

Dead Man Cave, Garrett County

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Bob Reese examines the waterfall at the entrance of Dead Man Cave (photo by Dennis Slifer)
Bob Reese examines the waterfall at the entrance of Dead Man Cave

Dead Man Cave is developed along vertical or steeply dipping joint planes in the Greenbrier Limestone, which is cross bedded and light gray to tan in color. Arenaceous limestone and red shale beds are mixed with the purer limestone.

Dave Weaver at Dead Man Cave pit (photo by Dennis Slifer)
Dave Weaver at Dead Man Cave pit


According to local residents this used to be a rather extensive and frequently visited cave in the 19th century. The cave takes its name from a legend connected with its history. The legend has it that a family named Sines, in which there were two brothers, lived in the area in the 1860's. One of them was reportedly retarded and was murdered by the other, who buried his body in the cave which was subsequently filled up. In the 1960's Bob Corliss, of Swanton, Maryland, undertook to reopen the cave. A trash filled sink was entered and about 150 feet of passage explored to the site of an extensive blockage of fallen rock, which could not be bypassed. This particular sinkhole was revisited in 1970, and found to be closed at the bottom by an earth slump. The accompanying description and map applies to the accessible part of what is undoubtedly part of the same original cave and is entered through two entrances a few yards south of the sinkhole.

The main entrance is in the stream bed and contains a ten-foot high waterfall where the stream enters the cave. A second entrance is higher up on the north bank of the valley about 20 feet away from the stream. Water from the stream flows into three passages below the waterfall, none of which have been adequately explored.

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Garrett County cave index map