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Top 5 Jaw-Dropping Caves

That Will Blow Your Mind!

 

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by Kim Coates in Cave, Hidden Hikes, Popular Hikes
January 6, 2018 0 comments

Caves are something absolutely unbelievable. I mean it’s hard to fathom that there are indescribable worlds beneath our feet that are ALWAYS around 50 degrees Farenheit. Thousands of stalagmites and stalactites, waves of hardened molten lava, jellyfish looking walls, soda straws, what looks like bacon? Hundreds of feet underground, a whole world still yet to be discovered. Here’s some of our top favorite caves!

5. Jewel cave national monument, South Dakota

This is actually the 3rd longest cave in the WORLD!!! They’ve mapped about 192 miles of walkable passageways so far (which is indicated by all the lines in the picture above), but they are constantly mapping more and more using this awesome airflow device to determine what they are unable to hike themselves. The device enables them to measure the cave volume and how air flows throughout the cave to see if this is all one big cave or different caves!

                            

We actually hiked the Roof Top Trail before doing the Scenic Tour. The Roof Top Trail was awesome, but we didn’t understand why it was called Roof Top Trail until we did the Scenic Tour to find out we had been hiking ON TOP of the cave!!! Super dope. The scenery was beautiful and covered in trees and leaves!

4. Mammoth cave national park, kentucky

Mammoth Cave has been on my bucket list since I was little so I was SUPER pumped about this one! Both of my older sisters got to visit this park on a field trip in 5th grade but once I was in 5th grade, they stopped having field trips to Mammoth Cave!!! 🙁

This one is especially cool because they have many options of different tours to go on that are all quite different! There are 16 different tours to choose from!!! We chose the Historic Tour so we were able to start our journey through the natural Historic entrance, cross the Bottomless Pit, squeeze through Fat Man’s Misery (my fav), and check out the Mammoth Dome Tower!

                                                             

Fat Man’s Misery is awesome, but disappointing that the name was just SOOO offensive that they had to change it to “Batman’s Misery” which is dumb…Fat Man’s Misery is called that for a reason. You have to duck in most cases and squeeze yourself through the crevices to get to the other side. Even I had to turn sideways a lot because my curvy hips and badonkadonk just wouldn’t make it through!! Haha!

The history of this tour was pretty cool. For example, there are names written all over the cave walls, some you’re definitely familiar with like Isaac Newton! The tour explained how some of these are hard to know if they are real or not or if someone just put their name on the wall, but they definitely had celebrities in the cave at times!

Mammoth Cave also supplies many, many trails ABOVE ground if that’s your kinda thing! There aren’t many crazy long trails but we always like to do at least one while you’re killing time waiting for your cave tour to begin. We decided to do the Green River Loop Trail and the Cedar Sink Trail. These trails were mostly a scenic nature walk, surrounded by trees and beautiful shrubbery, and we DID see a sinkhole which was pretty cool, but nothing mind-blowing or as cool as the cave tour. Afterall, the more you travel, I think your expectations are unintentionally higher haha!

3. lava river cave, arizona

The name of this cave is EXACTLY what it sounds like! In Flagstaff, AZ in the Coconino National Forest, you’ll find a lava tube cave that is entirely made of dried molten lava! It’s nearly a mile deep and then you can turn around and come back out. This cave is cool because you actually have to scramble down the large boulders to get in and out of the cave.

The ground and walls hardened first which is why, when you’re walking in the cave, you’ll see what looks like a river on each side of the walkway. This is why you need VERY stable, supportive shoes. The whole ground is lumpy, bumpy, and slippery! This is a self-guided tour meaning you sign your name in a book, then take it on yourself which means you also provide your own light! Headlamps work the best! Then your hands are free to catch yourself (not if, but) WHEN you fall haha!

2. Lost river cave, kentucky

This one is called “Lost” for a reason! This is more of a hidden gem in my opinion and completely unique not only because they are a non-profit organization, but because this is a boat tour! Also fun, because as you follow the river through the cave, you get to learn about the history of this dope cave AND you still have to duck in spots which just makes everything more fun doesn’t it?

This cave is also incredible because you can still have parties and weddings here! See, right outside the cave, there used to be a nightclub that would always have live music, dancing, and a “cool” area to hangout in the summer heat since the cave provides the same temperature all year round! To this day, this is still called the “Cavern Nite Club.”

Completely surrounded by Lost River’s “blue” water, you may see a fish or two that got lost! Once the fish get into this water system, they can never escape I’m afraid 🙁 The “blue hole” as they call it was actually on Ripley’s Believe It or Not at one point for being the shortest, but deepest river in the world. It’s about 400 feet wide but about 437 feet DEEP!!! This is how, I’m guessing, a few fishies get sucked into the blue hole which leads to the underground rivers that run throughout the cave.

1. Carlsbad caverns national park, new mexico

Carlsbad Caverns…TAKE A DEEP BREATH. This cave is so overwhelming in the BEST way possible which is why this is our #1 CAVE!!! When I was initially talking about indescribable, crazy worlds beneath our feet that we can’t necessarily always explain, THIS, is mostly what I was referring to. Carlsbad Caverns. What we DO know is that there are about 117 caves that have been explored here, and that number is ALWAYS growing because the exploration never stops!

Carlsbad is a MUST SEE when it comes to caves! What you see in these caves is unlike anything you’ve ever seen at any other cave. It’s absolutely incredible. We started out with a self-guided tour ourselves that took us 750 feet underground and to our surprise, we found a cafe down there…a functioning cafe! Haha! They have basic food like sandwich and chips, rice krispie bars, etc. Oh but don’t let me forget the whole gift shop that’s down there!

After exploring the cave at our own pace, and reading the signs to learn more about the cave itself, we decided to take an “above ground” trail! Slaughter Canyon Cave Trail! It’s known to be a beautiful, but strenuous, 0.5 mile hike up, up, up to the cave entrance and then you have to have paid because this is NOT a self-guided tour. In our case, we hiked all the way up, enjoyed the cool breeze from the cave, and peeped through the closed gate into the cave. It looked very slippery, but super cool!

                                                             

Lastly, we checked out Rattlesnake Spring since we had some extra time to spare! This took us by a bunch of peoples’ houses, which we were totally confused by. But, it turned out that we were in the right place. It’s fun to take the path less traveled sometimes. It was a tiny little spring. But, what confused us even more was when we were driving to the spring, THERE WAS A TURKEY IN THE TREE!!!! 32 wild turkeys I counted!!! And THAT was the day we found out that turkeys can fly…not well..but they can fly!

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How to cut your lodging cost by 50% or more while staying in the coolest places in the world

Quit saying I’ve always wanted to do that and travel today within your budget!

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