Caving or “spelunking” refers to the recreational pastime of exploring wild cave systems. If you’d like a low-key, family-friendly introduction to caving, then we highly recommend a neighborhood favorite: Mammoth Cave.
What is it? The quarter-mile-long cave is actually a lava tube formed around 2,000 years ago by cooling lava and water. Mammoth Cave is part of the Markagunt Plateau. According to the USDA Forest Service, the cave is a nightly resting spot for several bat species. It is frequented by other small birds and mammals. During the daytime, it is a fantastic family exploration experience and is easy to navigate.
Mammoth Cave features five entrances, four large tunnels, and over 2,100 feet of passages.
Location: Dixie National Forest, Duck Creek Village (Same as Zennest); elevation is 8,050 feet above sea level
Directions from USFS:
Just east of Duck Creek Village on State Road 14, turn left onto Forest Road 067. Go five miles and then turn right onto Forest Road 064. After about one mile, turn left and look for the sign. The first cave entrance is located near the main parking area—the entrance appears as a large hole in the ground.
Access: While it is open year-round, it may become impassable during the winter months because of seasonal weather.
Things to bring:
- Hiking-appropriate, seasonal clothing, and shoes. Because of elevation, it can be cool in the cave. Water seepage at the end of the cave can also make the rocks slippery.
- A good light. Just a short way into the tube, it gets pitch-black with no exterior light shining through. Headlamps are ideal for this type of adventure.
We (and many TripAdvisor reviewers!) highly recommend this local geographical wonder! Stop by on your way to Bryce Canyon National Park or make a full day of it.