Trough Creek State Park has some great attractions, but one defies the law of seasons- the Ice Mine. In this mine, you can have winter-like temperatures well into the summer.
This natural feature was enhanced by man. When the Juniata and Southern Railroad was build at the base of a mountain, it created an underground dam where cold air collects, and is slow to warm from the summer into the autumn. In 1933, when the facilities of Trough Creek State Park were being build, the potential of a tourist attraction was identified and stairs and walls were built around the entrance to this cave.
When we visited the attraction, the outside temperature was near 90° but we found a temperature of 35° inside the cave. Sometimes when water is present, the formation of ice can be found from the spring into the early summer.
So what creates this pool of cold air? During the winter, dense cold air filters it’s way through the mountain and stays insulated and trapped in underground pockets. As the spring warms the surface, this insulated cold air still slowly drains its way through the mountain and out the ice mine. Temperatures in the the early summer can be below freezing but will slowly warm into the 50s by autumn before the process is repeated once again.
To get to the ice mine, head through the park on Trough Creek Drive.
If you live in the northern part of our region, there is a more famous ice mine called the Coudersport Ice Mine. This mine has more water and forms ice in the spring that will melt in the fall.
To get to the Coudersport Ice Mine take Route 6 to Route 44 in Potter County. Turn right onto Ice Mine Road.