If you’re looking for an adventure and want to try something a bit different then caving could be for you. Take a day to explore some rarely seen scenery- after all what better way to get off the beaten track than to disappear from it all together? Google maps can’t see down that far, and you’ll be hard-pressed to find an activity as exhilarating.
Also known as spelunking, caving is not for the claustrophobic. In America you’ll find everything from spacious cathedral-like chambers to tiny fern covered crevasses. You’ll need to be reasonably fit, as you’ll be climbing, jumping, and squeezing through rock, using every muscle of your body.
Where to go?
North Americans are spoilt for choice, with some of the best caving in the world on our doorstep. Here are some of the best spots to try caving:
Mammoth Cave, Kentucky
Mammoth cave is a World Heritage Site, and the longest cave in the world, With 400 miles of cave to explore, you’ll be here for a while. This is a great place for beginners to try caving with plenty of tours available to introduce newbies to the sport, and plenty to see including underground rivers, sinkholes and limestone. Tours range from short strolls and underground hikes to long courses up many steps and through small openings.
Carlsbad Cavern National Park, New Mexico
The Carlsbad Caverns National Park houses more than 85 caves and 400,000 bats. On the bright side, this means less insects as the bats only come out at night, feasting on as many bugs as they can find.
More than 30 miles of passageways have been explored in the Carlsbad Caverns, with many different opportunities to explore scenery that can only be described as otherworldly. For the less adventures you’ll find handrails and paved walkways, while those who are up for a challenge can head 800 ft underground and negotiate the tight spaces and slippery cave walls that make caving so exciting.
Moaning Cavern, California
In the Moaning Cavern Adventure Park you’ll find many different ways to explore the region, including a 165 ft rope rappel, zip lines, a forty five minute cavern walk tour, and a three hour adventure trip where you can rappel down and then examine the many deep passages and chambers.
Moaning Cavern is tall enough to fit the Statue of Liberty inside, and is named for the eerie sounds of water hitting the limestone throughout the cavern. You’ll have to be brave to explore this one!
Rat’s Nest Cave, Alberta Canada
Rat’s Nest Cave is for those who have experience caving, as you won’t find any lights or walkways here. You’ll be able to examine both stalactites and stalagmites in Rat’s Nest and it’s a popular place for rappelling. Rat’s Nest is 4kms long, so consider hiring one of the experienced guides from Canmore Caverns Limited, to learn more about the extraordinary sights in this cave.