Explore fascinating California caverns located in the Sierra Foothills and be amazed by impressive formations created by nature through the centuries.
A whole new underground world is waiting for you to discover at these caverns in California. Formations include stalactites, stalagmites, columns, draperies, columns, curtains, flowstone, and helicites.
Caving can be an exciting and for the whole family. Caverns of all ages can appreciate the natural wonders of these underground chambers.
Most caves offer short 45 to 60 minute tours. Some also have longer tours and other activities available as well.
Black Chasm (Amador County)
15701 Pioneer-Volcano Road
Volcano, CA 95689
These caves offer a 50 minute guided walking tour. Additional activities include gold panning, gemstone mining, hiking, and geode cracking. Black Chasm was declared a National Natural Landmark in 1976 but did not open to the public until 2000. These caves feature rare pristine white helicites that are delicate and spiraling into interesting shapes with one resembling a Chinese dragon. These caves are amazing.
Directions to Black Chasm: From the Amador town of Jackson, take Hwy. 88 east. At Pine Grove, turn left on Pine Grove-Volcano Road. Make a sharp right onto Pioneer-Volcano Road. Turn right about 100 feet down this road into the entrance.
California Cavern (Calaveras County)
9565 Cave City Road
Mountain Ranch, CA 95246
You have a choice of tours at California Caverns. The shortest is the 60-80 minute Trail of Lights guided walking tour. You need reservations for their more adventurous tours. The Mammoth Cave Expedition is 3 hours long and will take you crawling, climbing, and sliding along the cave floors and walls. Even more challenging is the Middle Earth Expedition, which takes 4-5 hours. Visit areas of the cave illuminated only by cave helmet lights. This trip also includes a short rafting trip across Tom’s Lake. These caverns were discovered in 1849 by miners during the Gold Rush. Experience the beauty of these caves and hear tales about life during the California Gold Rush.
Directions: From the Calaveras town of Angeles Camp, go north on Hwy. 49 to San Andreas. Turn right onto Mountain Road and drive 9 miles. Turn right on the second Michel Road turnoff. You will see a sign that says “California Cavern”. Follow the signs for about 2 miles to the entrance.
Mercer Cavern (Calaveras County)
1665 Sheep Ranch Road
Murphys, CA 95247
This facility has a guided 45 minute walking tour that descends 16 stories underground. The natural wonders of these caves will amaze you as you explore its seven major chambers. The first chamber you enter is 58 feet high and extends 200 feet long by 60 feet wide. The variety and beauty of the formations will make this cave tour an experience you will not forget.
Directions: From Calaveras town of Murphys, turn off on Main Street onto Sheep Ranch Road for 1 mile to the entrance. After your cave tour, continue a short ways on Sheep Ranch Road, and you will find yourself at Stevenot Winery for complimentary wine tasting in their historic winery.
Moaning Caves (Calaveras County)
5350 Moaning Cave Road
Vallecito, CA 95251
Moaning Cavern has been known for centuries as the cave that moaned. You can still hear its moaning sound today. The spectacular main chamber is large enough to hold the entire Statue of Liberty. The 45 minute guided Walk Tour descends a 100 foot spiral staircase. Or, you could opt to enter the cave via the 165 foot rope descent. The 3 hour Adventure Trip begins with an optional rappelling descent and allows you to explore the unlit and undeveloped areas of the cave.
Moaning Cavern also offers an above ground adventure, a twin zip line. Race a friend or family member on their 1500-foot twin zip line, at speeds in excess of 40 miles per hour, for the thrill of your life!
Directions: From the Calaveras town of Angels Camp, go east on Hwy. 4. Turn right on Parrotts Ferry Road for 1 mile. Turn right on Moaning Cave Road. You will see park sign.
If you have visited any of these caverns, please let us know what you thought. There’s a place below for comments.