Go prepared! - Caving Checklist
In the late 1800s Absalom Lehman happened upon a cave in the South Snake Range near his Nevada ranch. Legend has it that Ab Lehman happened upon the cave while riding on horseback, and that suddenly him and his horse fell into a hole in the ground. Apparently old Ab managed to lasso a tree while he was falling, and hung by his rope for four long days while waiting for rescue. Later Mr. Lehman would quip that the hardest part of hanging by a rope for so long was holding his horse between his legs so it didn't fall. Ab Lehman claimed he had discovered the largest cave in the world. Quite a stretch, but this cave is beautiful none the less.
After you purchase your cave tour tickets the tour starts right out back on the patio of the visitor center. Rangers will briefly go over cave rules before entering the cave. The big rule is to not touch anything in the cave. Oils on our skins can be damaging to the cave and can stop formation growth. After a few minutes outside you will head on in.
First you will go through a blasted tunnel that was constructed to give visitors easier access to the cave. After the tunnel you will find yourself seeing the last natural light that will be present in the cave. Up and to your right is the natural entrance. A few feet down the trail and you will find yourself in the gothic palace, an incredibly beautiful room full of decorations. Stalactites, stalagmites, soda straws, shields, are a few of the notable formations that you will be seeing throughout.
From here the trail continues on through the Rose trellus room, the wedding chapel, and the music room. Take care as the passageways are narrow. There will probably be some shimmying and ducking involved if you are over the age of eight.
In the music room your ranger will likely point out "organ pipes" and possibly a couple other musically instrument shaped cave formations. You may also see human caused damage to the formations in this room, from an earlier time. From the music room the trail continues on and you will soon find yourself in the Lodge Room. From here you will either exit the cave (if you are on the Lodge Room tour) or take a trail towards the Grand Palace (if you are on the Grand Palace tour).
For those on the Grand Palace tour the trail passes by some large pools of water and then enters a room filled with graffiti, the aptly named Inscription Room. Many of these inscriptions are historically significant and there are some funny inscriptions in this room. The trail splits at this point and you will be led down the trail on the right by your ranger. You will pass through some corridors, than a room filled with large pools, and finally you will enter the Grand Palace. The ranger will likely take some time in the Grand Palace, so take a good look at the beautiful formations in this room. Many cave shields are present, as are bulbous stalactites, and an angels wing. After a few minutes you will exit the Grand Palace the same way you came and head back into the Lodge room. From the lodge room you will now take the other trail into the exit tunnel and out of the cave.
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.