John Friend Cave

John Friend Cave is a world that exists without the light of the sun, and is habitat to unusual and unique species that have evolved to survive in the permanent darkness.

Visiting the Preserve
The cave is an ecologically fragile and potentially dangerous environment. It is normally open only to scientific research and to experienced cavers with prior permission from The Nature Conservancy. NOTE: The cave is temporarily closed because of concerns about transmission of White Nose Syndrome, a fungal disease that is devastating populations of bats throughout the area. Thank you for your understanding and help in protecting this important part of Maryland’s natural heritage.

Western Maryland

Why the Conservancy Selected This Site
Protected since 1984, in addition to monitoring and research, the Conservancy also acts as a steward to ensure that the site maintains its ecological uniqueness. This cave, along with Crabtree Cave, are sites that include species of incredible, and fascinating, rarity.

What the Conservancy is Doing Here
Maintaining bat-friendly cave gate to prevent trampling of invertebrates and disturbance to hibernating bats


  • None — there is no light to feed plants.


  • All animals that live permanently within the cave, such as the three nationally rare species of subterranean aquatic crustaceans, have lost their sight and pigment.
  • Five species of bats are found in this cave, including the small-footed, eastern pipistrel, and the federally endangered Indiana bat.

We’re Accountable

The Nature Conservancy makes careful use of your support.

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