California Cavern was discovered by Captain Joseph Taylor right around 1850. He noticed a breeze coming from the rocks with was unusual to say the least so he explored the phenomenon and discovered what he called Mammoth Cave. He opened the cave up to the public and gave a walking tour that was unchanged until 1980. In 1980, the name was also changed to the California Cavern. It was the first cave to act as a tourist attraction in California.
The cave offers several spectacular details. From the official website, it describes “some speleothems, such as the beaded helictites found in the Middle Earth area are very rare. Others are so numerous as to be spectacular, such as the “Jungle Room’s” array of stalactites.” You may visit the website at http://caverntours.com/CalifRt.htm.
California Cavern offers several different tours based on what season it is. In the dry season, you may take the Trail of Lights tour. Your experienced tour guide will show you the “Jungle Room” featuring crystalline vines covering the ceiling. He or she will also give you lots of information about the history and geology of the area. This tour will last approximately 60-80 minutes. It costs $14.25 for an adult, and $7.15 for children (ages 3 – 12)
In the wet season, California Cavern offers the Trail of Lakes tour. This tour is basically the same as the Trail of Lights tour except it is a lot wetter. It costs the same price but is 50-60 minutes.
California Cave also offers a few more tours. The extended California Cavern tour called the Mammoth Cave Expedition is an exciting tour that takes you through tight crawl spaces and squeezes. However, these are optional. The trip lasts 2-3 hours. You must make a reservation for this adventure by calling California cavern at 209-736-2708. The trip costs 130 dollars.
The next more adventurous trip is called the Middle Earth Expedition. The first hour of this trip is going through the Mammoth Cave area which means crawling and squeezing your way through tight crawl spaces. The next area is the “Middle Earth” which was discovered in 1980. You must walk through the knee deep, sticky cave clay to see the beautiful scenery. You will also take a rafting trip 70 feet across “Tom’s Lake”. The rest of the trek is through more beautiful caverns, and ending with ladders to freedom again. This tour is 2 ½ hours to 4 hours. You also must make a reservation for this trip at 209-736-2708. This tour costs 149 dollars.