California's Caves and Caverns Exploration Getaway Guide

Oh, 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 is 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.

Lake 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 Moaning Cavern, outside the Gold Country town of Angels Camp, home to Mark Twain's Jumping Frog of Calaveras County.


Diamond Valley Lake picture
fisherman in Hemet
boat on Diamond Valley Lake

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