12 California Caves You Need To See!

Mitchell Caverns in California

Are you looking for an adventure close to home? Explore the hidden wonders of California’s varied geography and discover 12 magical caves that will leave you awestruck! From secret hiding spots tucked away in remote hiking routes to wonders located within easy day trip distance, this list is sure to satisfy your curiosity. Don’t miss out on these incredible opportunities, check them out today!

The Top 12 Caves in California

Mitchell Caverns in California
Mitchell Caverns in California

Lake Shasta Caverns National Natural Landmark

  • Address: 20359 Shasta Caverns Rd, Lakehead, CA 96051, United States
  • Map: Click here
  • Rating: 4.7 (1974)
  • Phone: +1 800-795-2283
  • Website: Link
  • Opening hours:
    Monday: 8:00 AM – 5:30 PM
    Tuesday: 8:00 AM – 5:30 PM
    Wednesday: 8:00 AM – 5:30 PM
    Thursday: 8:00 AM – 5:30 PM
    Friday: 8:00 AM – 5:30 PM
    Saturday: 8:00 AM – 5:30 PM
    Sunday: 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM
  • Reviews:
    A beautiful day for traversing Lake Shasta and exploring the spectacular caverns. Every staff member we encountered was knowledgeable and friendly. From check in to the gift shop to the two bus rides, the boat ride and the actual tour, it was remarkable and delightful. If you want a full tour with guide we recommend you avoid holiday weekends. We will definitely be back!
    ✭✭✭✭✭ By Katharine Murer (6 months ago)
    Interesting and beautiful caverns. Our guide, Fox, did a wonderful job. You take a short 10 minute boat ride across the lake to the entrance to the caves. Since the lake is down, there is quite a walk to the boat ramp. It’s downhill one way and a bit slippery and uphill the other way which is a bit grueling. The boat ride was not narrated. On the other side you take a short bus ride to the entrance of the caves. Niles, our bus driver was very knowledgeable and informative. The caverns have hundreds of steps, most not too bad. The worst stretch is 80 steps that is fairly steep.

    Compared to other caves, the caverns aren’t as big however the formations are lovely and some are magnificent. We found the staff great and the trip worth the relatively high admission price.

    ✭✭✭✭ By Cynthia P (6 months ago)
    Pretty sure we lucked out and got the best tour guide. Melanie was knowledgeable, informative, and entertaining all in one. Plus she doubled as a great personal photographer since we got there early and had a private tour! Definitely a memorable experience.
    ✭✭✭✭✭ By Zoe Moore (3 months ago)
    The limestone caverns has an lower and an upper chamber, it is still owned by a private citizen, but is open for the public and managed by CA state. You will take two bus rides and two ferries to get to the caverns, inside, it has some climbing to do. I visited Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico early this year, that one is much bigger and grander, but this one is worth the visit on the west coast. Cheers!
    ✭✭✭✭✭ By Qihua M (5 months ago)
    The tour was amazing for the very start with the very personable folks in the gift shop, to the boat ride and short bus trip. However, the highlight of the tour was the Cavern tour guide and her knowledge. Two hours and 600+ stairs well spent😀
    ✭✭✭✭✭ By Kim Stille (6 months ago)

Lava Beds National Monument

  • Address: 1 Indian Well, Tulelake, CA 96134, United States
  • Map: Click here
  • Rating: 4.8 (1407)
  • Phone: +1 530-667-8100
  • Website: Link
  • Opening hours:
    Monday: 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
    Tuesday: 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
    Wednesday: 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
    Thursday: 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
    Friday: 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
    Saturday: 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
    Sunday: 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
  • Reviews:
    Has to be one of my favorite parks in the US. The fact you can go caving by yourself is great. You just need to check in at the visitor center and get the voucher to hang in the car window. You will need a good torch and a backup and a backup backup. The lava tubes are great to explore, but are very dark and you need good shoes. We did a lot of them, but Blue Grotto and Skull Cave were my favorites, though Valentine cave was also good.
    This is a great day out playing in the dark. Its also worth doing Schonchin Butte Lookout as the views are fantastic. You need to look at the pictures carefully to get an idea of the scale of these caves.
    ✭✭✭✭✭ By Andy Smith (11 months ago)
    I had the best time here! I only got through about five caves including skull cave and sentinel but i had the best time! i love that you don’t need a guided tour, it feels much more personal like this. i went with my parents and kid sister, and we all made it through just fine. ducking wasn’t fun, but it was no big deal. i love the yellow bacteria that grows in some of the caves! it looks so cool when the water beads up on it. skull cave was super cool! i love that they still have some skulls on display there. the trails were super easy to walk. i would definitely go back!
    ✭✭✭✭✭ By Elise (2 months ago)
    It was a great place to explore..if you going late in the evening get your own light.. they stop giving light hour before 5.. there are lot of caves to caves to explore… easily you could spend a day there. Pack your lunch and spend the day it will be worth… the landscape was beautiful too.. if you are in that area stop by the nearby National wildlife refuges.. you could see birds, coyotes and deers..
    ✭✭✭✭✭ By Fredrick Jose antony cruz (10 months ago)
    It’s a wonderland with all of the interesting caves and landscapes. First of all, pack the flashlights or headlights, you may need them if you want to explore some more caves. If not, doesn’t matter, only go to mushpot cave, which has the light. Secondly, the drive I recommend to take California 161 from US-97, you can see lower Klamath lake wild animal refuge area. It’s beautiful. And the drive is very far and don’t drive too crazily fast, take time to see the views. The Lava Bed monument has incredibly nice staff there. Super friendly and gives you the right information.
    ✭✭✭✭✭ By Reichen Yoo (a year ago)
    This is such a cool and fun place !! You would never know there are so many caves. Bring really sturdy shoes for inside the caves. Bring heavy duty flashlights. They let you use theirs until about 4 pm but not always the most powerful lights. If you want to buy them there they are pretty expensive $40.
    ✭✭✭✭✭ By Kimberly Miller (4 months ago)

Moaning Caverns Adventure Park

  • Address: 5350 Moaning Cave Rd, Vallecito, CA 95251, United States
  • Map: Click here
  • Rating: 4.6 (1066)
  • Phone: +1 209-736-2708
  • Website: Link
  • Opening hours:
    Monday: 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
    Tuesday: Closed
    Wednesday: Closed
    Thursday: 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
    Friday: 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
    Saturday: 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
    Sunday: 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
  • Reviews:
    Hidden gem if you are interested in caverns. Take plenty of water if you are visiting in summer. Plenty of parking and it’s FREE. well Maintained picnic tables if you plan to hangout for sometime. They also have axe throwing activity. Caverns had a lot of history and your guides are knowledgeable. It goes. Pretty deep and a very narrow 60 feet down spiral staircase. I wouldn’t recommend it to someone who is afraid of heights or older with knee issues. Otherwise a fun place to visit. You can buy tickets at the gift shop and the cavern visit is timed.
    ✭✭✭✭ By ramesh dhanapal (8 months ago)
    Moaning Caverns Adventure Park was amazing me and my three girls went down in the caves down the stairs. And it was awesome it was a little scary on the way down but once you get down there it was worth it. And on the way back up there was even more scary but extremely fun if you’re an adventure this is the place to come and there’s a spot where you can do panning for gold for your kids. Great place for family activity
    ✭✭✭✭✭ By Andrew McWhirter (6 months ago)
    Great tour! I have wanted to go here since I was a kid. The spiral staircase was pretty amazing (built from a WW I battle ship) and the scenes in the cavern were really interesting. Stairs aren’t too hard but if you are afraid of heights it may spook you a bit.
    ✭✭✭✭ By Benjamin Grover (11 months ago)
    Amazing 🤩 firstly they make a groups with our tour guide . They guide and tell stories about this incredible caves. Their is 100 year stair down to cave. I would recommend to all to visit . Children’s are also allowed. Also , other activities are also their like zip linings.
    ✭✭✭✭✭ By Munmi Boruah (6 months ago)
    We had an Awesome 👏 adventure exploring the moaning caverns by Angels 😇 Camp 🏕. Went on the last tour of the day and it was only us two. Felt really private and that was nice 👍. Heads up ⬆️ though… not for the weak or faint hearted people bc it’s a long way down, not to mention going back up 🆙 I’m not in tip top shape but definitely not out of shape and this climb 🧗‍♀️ sure took a toll on me about half way up the hundred year old spiral 🌀 staircase🔝

    Nevertheless, great 😊 time overall and the tour guide was also very interesting and informative too. Amazing stories from beneath the earth and will definitely come back again and perhaps 🤔 partake in the other activities they have. Prices are a bit steep (no pun intended) but surely worth it. Plenty of parking available even if it’s really busy. Keep in mind, the more ppl in the tour, the more pressure you have to move up and down the stairs as others are always waiting on you. Watch your steps…

    ✭✭✭✭✭ By Ronald Joseph (10 months ago)

Black Chasm Cavern National Natural Landmark

  • Address: 15701 Pioneer Volcano Rd, Volcano, CA 95689, United States
  • Map: Click here
  • Rating: 4.7 (790)
  • Phone: +1 888-488-1960
  • Website: Link
  • Opening hours:
    Monday: 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
    Tuesday: 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
    Wednesday: 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
    Thursday: 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
    Friday: 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
    Saturday: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
    Sunday: 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
  • Reviews:
    We were given a tour by Elle, she was so funny and so knowledgeable! The cave was really breathtaking. So many ancient formations! I definitely wish we got to go down to see the lakes as well, but the glimpse we got into the crystal clear waters was pretty great as well!
    ✭✭✭✭✭ By Gabrielle kray (5 months ago)
    It’s 59°F down there. But we definitely didn’t need jackets. Was sweating form all the stairs. Super fun to see, and our guide was funny. Had my special needs 7 year old and my huge 2 year old with us and it was good for everyone.
    ✭✭✭✭✭ By Jensyn Green (6 months ago)
    Black Chasm is a privately run location; however, it has some of the most beautiful natural formations you’ll normally find in national park.

    Tours are offered by experienced guides and conducted rain or shine. The caverns are extremely breathtaking and open.

    Please note that some of the paths and stairs are very steep and tight.

    ✭✭✭✭✭ By Chris Parker (8 months ago)
    I went here on a trip for my geology class. The tour guide we had was awesome! He was so personable and made it super fun! This cave was super interesting with their abundance of helicites. Loved getting to see the two types of cave bacons – turkey and regular.
    ✭✭✭✭✭ By Mel I (a month ago)
    The website for this place is out of date. The cavern is only currently accessible by one kind of tour, which takes place entirely on a wooden boardwalk, with dozens of quite steep stairs. It was at 10:45 the day we were there. It’s limited in number of people and first come first served. We went early on Monday and I think everyone that came made it on the tour. The tour is not handicap accessible. It’s also not advised if you have a fear of heights or small spaces.

    We bought a large bag of dirt and used the sluice they have to fetch a bunch of different kinds of rocks out of it. It’s a lot of fun for kids or rock lovers. There’s a metal dragon sculpture.

    There are some picnic tables and you can buy candy and drinks inside the gift shop.
    There are public bathrooms that are clean.
    The parking lot is crushed white stone which can generate a lot of dust.

    ✭✭✭✭ By Andrew Bachmann (4 months ago)

Mercer Caverns

  • Address: 1665 Sheep Ranch Rd, Murphys, CA 95247, United States
  • Map: Click here
  • Rating: 4.6 (605)
  • Phone: +1 209-728-2101
  • Website: Link
  • Opening hours:
    Monday: 10:00 AM – 4:30 PM
    Tuesday: Closed
    Wednesday: Closed
    Thursday: 10:00 AM – 4:30 PM
    Friday: 10:00 AM – 4:30 PM
    Saturday: 10:00 AM – 4:30 PM
    Sunday: 10:00 AM – 4:30 PM
  • Reviews:
    The caverns were amazing! Very tight spaces in some areas, steep steps, and a lot of stairs back up but well worth it if those things don’t bother you! The calcite formations we’re beautiful and the guides are very informative. Stopped at the gift shop area and got some bags of dirt and minerals to sift through. You get quite a bit of crystals and neat rocks per bag! Very fun experience!
    ✭✭✭✭✭ By Lily (6 months ago)
    My first place at the Mercer Caverns, amazing place to go. it’s not as long of a slope. You only go down like 160 feet, but its a really nice beginning place to go and see how much you can handle being on a Cavern. Beautiful place to see the beautiful formation that have occurred during this period of time.
    ✭✭✭✭✭ By Victor Pedraza (4 months ago)
    Awesome cave tour. The place is open Thursday to Monday and open at 9. The first tour is at 9:30 and fills up fast. Our group was only 8. Our tour guide was great! 55 minute walking tour. Easy to do, a little steep at times but it’s slow moving so no problem. Fun time. We loved it.
    ✭✭✭✭✭ By Aar Delgado (5 months ago)
    The cavern experience was really good. the tour guide explained the history and the formations very nicely and patiently. It was my first cave experience and a very good one too. It was a 45 min tour with about 1600 steps up and down. Pretty narrow and steep at some places. Tall persons and ppl carrying babies/toddlers have to be very careful.
    ✭✭✭✭✭ By Sarfraz Masthan (a year ago)
    Vertical cavern and so bad a**. Some spots are narrow and the stair spacing sucks but the staff are so happy and energetic they make u feel at home. They have tours for $20. adults. Tour guide, Ren is super cool and obviously loves being there.
    If u are a person with abilities, the energy in this cave is intense. Gift shop is small. Zoltar the Magnificent is here and fully operational.
    ✭✭✭✭✭ By Lalaina McKeever (5 months ago)

Subway Cave Lava Tubes

  • Address: Old Station, CA 96071, United States
  • Map: Click here
  • Rating: 4.8 (594)

Bronson Caves

  • Address: 3200 Canyon Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90068, United States
  • Map: Click here
  • Rating: 4.5 (377)

Sunny Jim’s Sea Cave

  • Address: 1325 Coast Blvd, La Jolla, CA 92037, United States
  • Map: Click here
  • Rating: 4.2 (335)

Chumash Painted Cave State Historic Park

  • Address: CA-154, Santa Barbara, CA 93105, United States
  • Map: Click here
  • Rating: 4.3 (297)

Pluto’s Cave

  • Address: Montague, CA 96064, United States
  • Map: Click here
  • Rating: 4.4 (280)

Smugglers Cave

  • Address: 1618 Cave Landing Rd, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401, United States
  • Map: Click here
  • Rating: 4.4 (197)

Cave of Munits

  • Address: 24501 Vanowen St, West Hills, CA 91307, United States
  • Map: Click here
  • Rating: 4.7 (192)
Mitchell Caverns in California
Mitchell Caverns in California

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