Caving is one of the most thrilling pastimes nature provides. Every venture down into the depths feels like you are voyaging to new frontiers, even if the caves have already been fully explored and mapped.
Expand your horizons underground and check out one of these amazing caves for an unforgettable and possibly other-worldly experience:
Carlsbad Caverns National Park New Mexico
Carlsbad Caverns is among the most well-known natural destinations in the US. These caves were formed 250 million years ago by sulfuric acid underneath the hard-baked New Mexico soil. The acid gradually eroded the limestone deposits to create massive rooms as well as stunning stalactite and stalagmite formations. Left behind are countless prehistoric fossils embedded in the cavern walls. A gaping entrance and well-serviced tour pathways make this cave friendlier to the beginning spelunker who would rather walk than crawl.
Wind Cave National Park South Dakota
Wind Cave offers its namesake winds to visitors as they approach the cave entrance. The whistling sound that results is what first attracted explorers to the caves interior. There, they discovered extensive cave networks as well as large rooms with impressive ceilings. One of the most unique features of the Wind Cave Park is the intricate boxwork formations created when veins of harder rocks remained after the softer rocks eroded, creating beautiful honeycomb patterns.
Mammoth Cave National Park Kentucky
The aptly-named Mammoth Cave system was explored back in 1912 by veteran spelunker Edouard-Alfred Martel. This enormous, 390 mile-long series of connected caves has been a source of tourism revenue in the region for over a century. With plenty of variety and jaw-dropping formations like the famous gypsum flowers, the sites popularity should come as no surprise.
Oregon Caves National Monument Oregon
Often referred to as the marble halls of Oregon, they were formed from the infiltrating rainwater of Oregons ancient rainforests. Over time, the steady dripping of runoff opened up stunning passages and rooms into the metamorphic marble rock below. When visiting the caves, be sure to spend some time above ground, too, since the Klamath-Siskiyou mountain region is one of the most biodiverse temperate ecosystems in the world.
Caverns of Sonora Texas
Texass heartland boasts plenty of natural splendors, but perhaps none so stunning as the Caverns of Sonora. Dubbed the most beautiful cave in Texas, this cave system boasts room after room of stunning calcite formations that glisten like crystal or ice. The most famous calcite formation was the butterfly, which bears a striking resemblance to a swallowtail-style butterfly.
Lehman Caves Nevada
Nevadas Great Basin National Park is an incredible destination for immersing yourself in natural beauty. Mountains, deserts, forest, lakes and caves can all be found here. Lehman Caves, in particular, offers incredible marble formations discovered by Absalom Lehman over 100 years ago. The apricot trees that bloom near the cave entrance are thought to have been planted by him around this time.
Spelunking in any one of these caves promises an exciting and unforgettable experience. While hanging out below ground, one of the biggest concerns is losing track of time. Stay oriented and on top of your schedule with a Joy Joy watch that can light up in even the darkest passages with a colorful LED display. Our watch heads are also rated waterproof up to 5 ATM, meaning they can handle even the wettest cave adventures. Visit our watch heads page to learn more.