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Caves in the Sequoias - Come explore with us

NEW CAVE DISCOVERY IN SEQUOIA NATIONAL PARK!
When you think of the Sequoias the first thing you probably think of are our majestic redwoods, followed by our gorgeous snow capped peaks. But there is another part of the Sequoia National Park that lies just below the surface. Literally below the surface - the spectacular subterranean caves as well as the mysterious creatures that dwell within them.

And it's just these caverns that have recently put the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks into the forefront of the news - underground news that is. August 19, 2006 a group of volunteer cave explorers with the Cave Research Foundation stumbled upon a small hole in the ground approximately the size of a baseball. That simple discovery led them to 1,000 feet of a new cave formed an estimated 1 million years ago. To date 5 rooms and a lake, possibly 20 feet deep, have been discovered. But according to cave technicians exploring this new find, the newly-found cave is likely to be much larger as they have uncharted "holes that go off into blackness". The team has not explored these finds yet.

Bowing to tradition the new cave was named by volunteer, Scott McBride, who found it during a lunch break. Mr. McBride christened his exciting find "Ursa Minor". Scientists will be revealing much more fascinating news about this amazing find for years to come.

The new Ursula Minor cave boasts several unique features including:

  • The size of the cave itself
  • Another fascinating feature are the delicate formations, soda straws, which are approximately 6 feet long. These soda straws are formed when a drip of water from the ceiling of the cave deposits calcite, also known as calcium carbonate, on the bottom of the cave
  • The Ursa Minor cave is also home to newly-discovered species of millipedes and isopods. Isopods are similar to potato bugs

Approximately 5 years ago Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks were awarded a grant to hire a group of biologists to research of life forms in the caves located within the parks. So far this team has discovered new species of spiders, millipedes, centipedes, pseudo scorpions, and flat worms.

   

CRYSTAL CAVE

Crystal Cave is the cave which most people are familiar. Founded in 1918 it opened to the public in 1941.Popular belief is that this is the only commercialized cave in the park. But this cave is only one of an astounding 240 caves in the parks.

Tours of Crystal Cave are open through November. Cave tours close early due to inclement weather. For additional information about the tours please visit Crystal Cove Tours.

   

LILBURN CAVE

Located in Kings Canyon, Lilburn Cave is the longest cave in Sequioa and Kings Canyon National Parks. With approximately 21 miles of passages the cave boasts 30 different minerals, giving the cave its unusual colors including blue, green, yellow and black.

   

WHITE CHIEF CAVE

White Chief Cave is located in Mineral King and is open to the public. At White Chief Cave visitors can wander in this astounding underground cavern for 1 1/2 miles.

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