Maryland Department of Natural Resources

Fairview Cave, Washington County

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Fairview cave is developed in a thrust sheet of the Chambersburg Limestone, very close to a contact with the Martinsburg Shale. The passages are found along a series of major north-south oriented joints in beds which dip 10º east and strike due north.

Fairview Cave (photo by Dennis Slifer)
Fairview Cave

A number of openings are developed near Fair-view in a low cliff forty feet above the west bank of Conococheague Creek. One is a large shelter-like entrance ten feet high and five feet wide, from which flows a spring. This cave extends along a joint trending south for almost forty feet, where it becomes too small to traverse. Several vertical chimneys and higher passage indicate a possible upper level to the cave.

Two hundred feet southwest of this cave is an entrance which leads to a cave resembling Davies' description of Fairview Cave for the first thirty feet. Some question, however, exists as to whether this is the one he describes. Almost 400 feet of passage have been mapped in this very tight and muddy cave.


The entrance passage is four feet square and leads to a small, low room out of which leads a low crawlway. The crawlway is actually the top of a vertical fissure or channel which is nearly filled by stream alluvium. This passage trends south for 100 feet and then swings to the west where it opens up into walking passage. This passage parallels the first and leads out of the central room as a narrow fissure for forty feet to the north. At the southern end of the room there is a nearly vertical mud slide which joins a more southerly trending passage for 160 feet. Intermittent sections of a slightly lower level with a stream bed opens up into walk can be observed along the eastern flank of the passage, which is narrow and high and inclined at right angles to the dip of the beds. A few flowstone and drapery formations exist here; however, most of the cave is devoid of speleothems and is exceedingly muddy and wet.

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