Placerville has some pretty amazing historic landmarks and activities available, but if you’re looking for something a bit different, a little adventurous, and a lot of fun, we’ve got three great caves for you to explore…all within an hour to an hour and a half away!
Black Chasm Cavern – In addition to being an amazing cave to explore, the Black Chasm Cavern is also quite a star in Hollywood. This cave has connections to the Matrix movies, as well as Dr Hazel Barton who starred in the IMAX movie “Journey into Amazing Caves”.
The Black Chasm Cavern was made a National Natural Landmark in 1976 and is home to stalactites, stalagmites, flow-stones and rare helictite crystals. Stalactites and stalagmites are gorgeously eerie rock formations that look very similar to icicles hanging from the ceiling and rising from the ground, and are a sight to see all on their own.
In addition to exploring the cave, there is a visitor’s center above ground where you can learn more about the cave, as well as mine for gemstones, or even see a geode get cracked open!
California Cavern – If you are looking for an adventure in these caves, then the California Cavern is one of the caves to visit. Enjoy their walking tour and see the majestic crystalline formations inside this cave, or choose one of their other tours and get the full adventure experience!
In both the Mammoth Cave Expedition and the Middle Earth Expedition, you will be walking, crawling, and squeezing through natural passageways in the cave. Special parts of the cave will be accessible to only the extended tours.
In addition to the tight squeezes you’ll find in the Mammoth Cave Expedition, the Middle Earth Exploration includes wading through knee deep gooey clay, and even a short 70 foot rafting trip across “Tom’s Lake”. All three of the available tours for the California Cavern offer their own unique experience, and are fitting for any group of adventurers!
California Cavern: Photo via caverntours.com
Moaning Cavern – Whether below the surface exploring the cave, or above ground soaring through the sky, the Moaning Cavern will have the perfect experience for you. The walking tour will show you the beauties of this natural wonder with a professional tour guide. If you’re looking for a thrill though, you will find it while rappelling 165 feet down into the main chamber of the cave.
If rappelling into the cave doesn’t seem like enough for you, there is the Cave Adventure Trip, where the descent into the cave is just the beginning. After you make your way to the main chamber of the cave, you will explore the underdeveloped area of the cave with lighted helmets being your only source of light. Forget about stairs and walkways if you’re going on this adventure, because you are not going to find any of them during this wild adventure.
Above ground you will find an exciting zip-line, or a thrilling climbing tower. The zip line will send you flying through the Gold Country foothills at about 40 mph for a quarter mile. There are even two zip lines right next to each other so you are able to race your friends and family!