The Coolest Caves and Caverns in California

Experience the thrill of an underground cave and cavern


California is known as the Golden State. It is famous for their National Parks, Golden Gate Bridge, stunning mountains and beautiful beaches. It is home to some of the most unique terrain in the world. But, some of the most incredible sites California come from their spectacular caves and caverns.

Caves occur in hollow areas inside the earth and are usually formed by the weathering of rock. California has a series of interconnected caverns, and claims to have the most extensive system of caverns and passageways.

If you have never experienced the thrill of walking through a cave, you definitely want to consider booking a trip to California. Below are some of The Coolest Caves and Caverns in California.


The Arroyo Tapiado

Photo Modified: Flickr / The Greater Southwestern Exploration Company / CC BY 4.0

Located in the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, is the Arroyo Tapiado Mud Caves. With over 22 known caves and 9 slot canyons, it is known to be one of the most extensive mud cave systems in the world.


The Balconies Cave

The Balconies Cave is located in Pinnacles National Park. Go for a hike through the incredible passages and admire the volcanic rock formations. Make sure you bring a headlamp; part of your adventure through Balconies Cave is extremely dark.


Bear Gulch Cave

Photo Modified: Wikimedia Commons / USGS Photo / Public Domain

Bear Gulch Cave is also located in Pinnacles National Park. According to the National Park Service, “The Bear Gulch Cave provides a home to a colony of Townsend's big-eared bats as they rest there in winter and raise their young in the late spring and summer.” That being said, the best time to visit is the last week in October when the entire cave is open for at least a week.


The Lava Tube


Located in Mojave National Preserve is the incredible Lava Tube. After a strenuous hike, you will hit the main cavern. Bring your camera, you will want to capture pictures of the dramatic lightening and dark hardened lava.


Mitchell Caverns

Mitchell Caverns is located within the Mitchell Caverns Natural Preserve on the east side of the Providence Mountains. It is currently undergoing repairs, but make sure you stay updated.  When the tours reopen, you will definitely want to capture the beauty of this limestone cave.


Subway Cave


Subway Cave is located in Lassen National Forest and usually opens from May to October. With 1,300 feet of winding lava tube, Subway Cave is one of the largest and easily accessible lava caves in the world.  The cave gets dark and cold so make sure you bring a flashlight and jacket.


Moaning Cavern

Moaning Cavern is California’s largest cave chamber. It is located near Vallecito, California and gets its name from the luring moaning sounds that echo out of the cave. It’s known for its geological features and is open to the public for walking tours. Access this Cavern by a spiral staircase, and don’t forget to bring your camera to capture pictures of “The Igloo.”


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