California’s natural beauty is no secret to anyone who’s visited, but did you know the Golden State is just as beautiful below the surface? California is home to an impressive number of caverns, with tours that will appeal to any level cave explorer. As you’re planning this year’s RV travel, consider discovering the wonders of California underground.
To start our tour of California caves, we’re headed for Lake Shasta, near Redding, CA. That’s where you’ll find Lake Shasta Caverns National Natural Landmark and a cave tour that begins with a boat ride! Cross the McCloud Arm of Shasta Lake on your tour boat, ride the special bus to the cave’s remote entrance and then watch, listen and learn on a 45-minute guided tour through the cavern.
Tip for RV travelers hoping to visit: this cave tour isn’t suited for small children or anyone not able to climb multiple flights of stairs. If you’re up for it, you’re in for a treat and the surrounding scenery is spectacular, too. Numerous private RV campgrounds are located nearby to allow you to stay in comfort.
Another outstanding underground adventure is available in California Gold Country. This is your chance to visit not one but three caverns within three hours’ drive. To reach the northern-most cavern, travel US-50/CA-16 east from Sacramento to Sutter Creek, then CA-88 to Pine Grove’s Volcano Road to find Black Chasm National Natural Landmark. Whether you choose the walking cave tour or the Labyrinth Rock Scramble through an abandoned gold mine, it’ll be a fascinating trip.
You can then follow CA-88/CA-49 to California Cavern State Historic Landmark near San Andreas. This cavern offers three levels of exploration in a family-friendly atmosphere. Just down CA-49 to the south is Moaning Cavern Adventure Park, where you can rappel down the largest vertical chamber in the state, take a walking cave tour or combine rappelling with spelunking on the Adventure Tour.
For travelers hoping to add a magnificent national park into their caving adventures, why not visit Crystal Cave in Sequoia National Park? Travel CA-99 north from Bakersfield to Three Rivers and then on to the cave entrance within the national park. A half-mile hike will bring you to a marble wonderland below the surface of one of the nation’s prettiest preserves.
Round out your trip with hikes through groves of giant sequoias and a stay at a Three Rivers or Visalia campground.
For a truly unique caving experience, consider a trip to the La Jolla Underwater Park and Ecological Reserve, where you can explore the Seven Caves of La Jolla by kayak. You can visit one of these limestone sea caves on land, but don’t miss the chance to see the wonders of the other six by kayak tour. It’s a quick drive from San Diego to La Jolla, and San Diego area RV campgrounds make an overnight stay easy.
These are just six of the ways to discover the beauty of California underground by RV. Plan to visit all six, or pick one for each long weekend this summer. With California RV rentals plentiful and campgrounds up and down the Golden State just waiting to play host, what better way to learn something new about California this year?
Image attribution: Vgane at en.wikipedia [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or CC BY 2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5)], from Wikimedia Commons