Maryland Department of Natural Resources

Winders Caves, Washington County

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Winders No. 1 is developed in the Tomstown Dolomite dipping 18º W. and striking N. 10º E. A feature of interest is the portions of "conglomerate ceiling" in the main room. Large and small rounded rocks cemented by a brown matrix cover the ceiling in places, with delicate white soda straw stalactites growing from the material. This conglomerate is a remnant stream deposit which at one time completely filled the chamber. Subsequent partial removal of this fill somehow left parts of it on the ceiling. It is quite stable and poses no danger of collapse. It is interesting to note that Jugtown Cave (1/2 mile northwest of Winders Cave) may be related through the occurrence of identical stream gravel in its low gradient water channel at the present time.

Winders Cave (photo by Dennis Slifer)
Winders Cave


On the east flank of a wooded ridge southwest of Jugtown are two small caves. The entrance to Cave No. 1 is an 8-foot vertical shaft followed by a tight corkscrew passage which drops in several steps to a point 25 feet below the surface. A passage 6 feet high and wide is entered here. Thirty feet to the north, the channel terminates in a clay bank. The ceiling at this point displays well developed solutional grooves (anastomes) indicative of phreatic development. South of the entrance shaft the passage enters the main room – 100 feet long and approximately 20 feet wide. It is well decorated with a variety of speleothems in places. The room ends in breakdown In the middle of the room a small crawlway beneath a rock shelf on the west side slopes sharply downward to a small room with two clay pits, both 6 feet deep. At the bottom of one is an opening to 60 feet of muddy crawlway leading to two connected breakdown rooms about 20 feet in diameter.

The entrance to Winders No. 2 Cave is in a small tree-filled sink approximately 450 yards south of Winders No. 1, on the same ridge. Beyond the opening, which is 3 feet high and 5 feet wide, the passage slopes downward about 20 feet and widens to 6 feet in diameter. It trends northwest and pinches out after 60 feet. Fifty yards to the north is another, larger sink filled with trash. Local reports indicate the existence of another cave here, but much digging would be required to uncover it. Winders No. 2 is in the Tomstown Dolomite.

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Washington County cave index map