those great California Caves, A Weekend Getaway Guide for Exploring
California's Natural Wonders, Its Caves!
California caving and cave exploring.
California is not widely
known or recognized for its cave experiences, but like the great
caves of Missouri and practically every other state in which wee've
found and explored the caverns of mystery and interest, California
offers its fair share of cave exploring and tours. And some of the
mysteries of these caves include a few ghostly spirits in mining
camps and ghost town cities where gold was mined, and some miners
died during their quest for riches.
Perhaps the biggest, wealthiest mine which is now a state park
Empire Mine Historical Park near Grass Valley. Many
activities and a very dedicated volunteer group of enthusiasts keep
history alive by running this facility for visitors to see and
enjoy. Not only do thousands of school children visit and learn
about California's gold, tourists around from the world love the
stories and the lore of California gold country. Many possibly had
ancestors who came to the US to seek their wealth, while family
members stayed behind in the home country.
From re-enactments to history
days, celebrations and old-fashioned dress up play in which the
adults wear the garb of the miners and others, tourists will
discover this charming region not only includes much history to
explore, some reported ghosts (just ask), and dining and hotels,
there's also some wine growing nearby and great scenery in the
Sierra foothills east of Sacramento.
For cave explorers, the Empire
Mine is more of historical value than anything else. Some you can
actually tour include
Crystal Cave at
Sequoia National Park. Located less than four hours by car from L.A.
and just a little further from Sacramento or Oakland, this cave
requires some physical exercise to access and is probably not a good
place to trek for those with bad knees or ambulatory problems.
Shasta Caverns in O'Brien is remote by some standards. If you
live in L.A., your best bet to get to Redding will be taking one of
the direct flights on Alaska Airlines, then rent a car. You must
drive outside Redding about half an hour to access the parking lot
where the cave tours depart from. First you hop on a boat across the
lake, then get on a bus to go up the hill. Then exit for the cave
tour. It's a real trip... lots of exercise, stupendous cave
formations and fun rides every step of the way.
Another Cave that's unique
among California cave offerings is
outside the Gold Country town of Angels Camp, home to Mark Twain's
Jumping Frog of Calaveras County.