Ask Cavers: Which is the Best Wild Cave Tour?

January 9, 2013
A Wild Cave Tour at Mammoth Cave National Park.

A Wild Cave Tour at Mammoth Cave National Park. Photo by Vickie Carson/NPS

Many commercial show caves now offer more adventurous tours to explore undeveloped parts of the caves.

Although these wild cave tours are typically slower-paced than the average caving trip, they sometimes provide the only available form of caving in these often restricted areas.

This week we want to know, which are the best wild cave tours you’ve been on and what makes them so much better than others?

Let us know in the comments below.

Last Week’s Ask Caver Results

Many excellent goals were shared in response to last week’s question, what are your 2013 caving goals, the general theme of which was get underground as much as possible. We wish our respondents luck in surpassing their objectives.

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Comments (9)

  1. Paul
    January 9, 2013 at 8:52 pm

    Jewel cave, South Dakota

  2. Brandon Crane
    January 10, 2013 at 7:37 am

    I think Blanchard Springs Caverns in Fiftysix, Arkansas has one of the coolest trips. Also, great hiking and camping, and coolness year-round coming from the gaping spring entrance.

  3. January 10, 2013 at 7:46 am

    The only commercial wild cave tour in which I’ve participated was at Blanchard Spring Caverns near Mountain View, Arkansas. It’s a good tour, and it stimulated my interest in caving and cave research.

  4. Dawn DeVinney
    January 10, 2013 at 8:03 am

    Mammoth Cave National Park, KY has an EXCELLENT Wild Tour! Tours at Carter Caves State Park, KY are also very, very, good! Highly recommend BOTH locations for ALL levels of skill/difficulty. These guides know their stuff!

  5. January 10, 2013 at 10:00 am

    Laurel Caverns in western PA has a very good dark tour. They do focus on youth organizations, perticularly Scouts, but it is good for anyone wanting to try caving for the first time.
    We, the Youth Group Liaison Committee, recomend that youth group leaders take their group to a commercial wild cave tour for thier first caving trip. They are easy to set up and get the taste of real caving before they contact a Grotto or caver for a local caving trip.

  6. Tim Moulds
    January 10, 2013 at 8:33 pm

    The Clearwater Connection throughtrip in Mulu Caves, Sarawak Borneo. An amazing variety of huge passage to small climbs and then the exit via 1.5km of massive streamway with crystal clear blue green tinged water. Stunning.

  7. Corey Hamm
    January 14, 2013 at 2:46 pm

    Morrill Cave in Sullivan Co. TN has no comerciallized tours, I.E. no hand rails no lights, except for the one on your head. Great cave, lots of climbs, crawles, creek crossings, a few companies in the area do wild tours so look them up! All trips take at least 3 hours and if you feel frisky up to 6 hours. I know because i used to guide these wild tours, really fun if you are in the area!

  8. Paul
    January 14, 2013 at 7:55 pm

    Blanchard Springs Caverns in Fifty-Six, Arkansas has a great wild tour. The guides have a variety of passages to chose from depending on the skill level and abilities of the group. There are also some really incredible speleothems to see with many good photo ops.

  9. Bruce Zerr
    January 15, 2013 at 8:49 am

    it has to be Jewel Cave. You go right to, or right by, amazing speleothems – you just don’t see anywhere else. They show you Dwight Deal’ “Scintilites”.
    You go right past the huge “Logomites”. Then there’s the famous gypsum “Cave Spiders”. One of the guides told me to “look” to the left as I slid down a steep manganese bank – to be on the lookout for a 24+inch long gypsum needle, that bends greater than 90-degrees from its own weight.
    Then there’s all those “jewels”, Jewel cave is famous for!


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