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“Gorgeous Formations Just Under the Parking Lot” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Black Chasm Cavern

Black Chasm Cavern
Volcano Road, Pine Grove, CA
866-762-2837
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Owner description: Black Chasm was named a National Natural Landmark in 1976 by the National Park Service for its outstanding displays of rare helictite formations. The 50-minute guided walking tour descends a series of stairs and walkways that loop around the formation covered caverns walls. Here, flowstones interspersed with stalactites, draperies and helictites compete for space above the stairways. Above ground activities: gemstone mining, nature hike, picnic tables. School program available. Open every day, year round.
Walnut Creek, California, United States
Top Contributor
196 reviews 196 reviews
55 attraction reviews
Reviews in 60 cities Reviews in 60 cities
95 helpful votes 95 helpful votes
“Gorgeous Formations Just Under the Parking Lot”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 29, 2012

Make time for this trip. On the hour, talented guides lead you below to see some amazing stalactite and stalagmite formations. In addition, this place offers the best (rare) helictites. You take a 50-minute tour and learn not only what these formations are, but are also guided to see all the natural art work that people recognize in these formations (fairies, bacon, a variety of Disney characters). Well-placed lighting means that you never get disoriented and it also backlights the formations for good photographic opportunities. Our guide, Nick, from TN, clearly loves his job which makes the tour that much more fun. As he is tall, he is very cognizant of the few tight spots and helps you navigate those head-clonkers without injury. We appreciated that he didn't turn off the lights (something that is often done in caverns.)

The parking area also includes quiet spots for a picnic. Nick assures us that you can get some great burgers in Volcano (also worth a brief visit).

It is important to note that the map included on the cavern advert is a bit misleading and you can get confused in the backcountry. Map it out carefully (our GPS couldn't find the place). Still, the area is beautiful so a few wrong turns were harmless. For those leaving Sutter Creek, the sign indicating a left to Volcano means right there - it looks like a small street, but gives you a clear route to the park.

Don't plan to bring food, drink or gum into this attraction.

Visited October 2012
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47 reviews from our community

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  • English first
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English first
Sutter Creek, California, United States
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Mother Nature's Eye Candy,Wow!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 26, 2012

This Hidden Treasure is not to be missed when visiting Amador County!
Year round it provides the best "wake up your senses" experience imaginable. You leave with a magical feeling that stays with you long after the tour is over. Everyone there is well educated in cavern science,and a lot of fun.
Wear closed toe shoes and bring a sweatshirt or light jacket.
It's extra fun to go when it's snowing or when its 100 degrees! Pack a picnic and prepare to be amazed.

Visited December 2011
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, ON
Top Contributor
75 reviews 75 reviews
38 attraction reviews
Reviews in 32 cities Reviews in 32 cities
53 helpful votes 53 helpful votes
“Beautiful Underground Formation”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 14, 2012

Located outside Valcano California and operated as part of the National Park Service's National Natural Landmarks, the formations in this cave are unique and beautiful. We thoughly enjoyed the 50 minutes guided tour and enjoyed the stalacitites, stalagmnites and rare helictite crystal formations. The stairs provides easy access to the cave but is not wheelchair accessable. It was something unique and worth a visit.

Visited September 2012
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Cincinnati, Ohio
Top Contributor
79 reviews 79 reviews
18 attraction reviews
Reviews in 45 cities Reviews in 45 cities
55 helpful votes 55 helpful votes
“Cool Cavern”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 30, 2012

While staying at Angels Camp, CA, we noticed several caves in the area but our trip to Black Chasm fit the bill. My wife was fearful of a tight space but the tour with a guide was easy, comfortable amount of steps and so well lit, there was never any chance to be nervous. The fact that some of the interior views were used in the Matrix movies added an extra bit of cool. ANd at 55 degrees year around, a long sleeve shirt was plenty.

Visited September 2012
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Los Angeles, California
Top Contributor
171 reviews 171 reviews
49 attraction reviews
Reviews in 112 cities Reviews in 112 cities
234 helpful votes 234 helpful votes
“Some unique formations make this special”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 16, 2012

We have been to several cave/caverns in the U.S. Although this doesn't compare in size to some of the others, it has some marvelous formations called helictites that look like horizontal spaghetti or birds' nest remnants growing straight out of the rock. They are quite beautiful and very unusual. There are a lot of steep steps, with handrails, but you do have to be careful. It is very tempting to touch the rocks as you go under some low overhangs, but you are warned at the beginning not to do so, because they pick up oil from your hands. Warnings are given before low-hanging rocks, and our 6'1" friend was able to get through just by bending down a little. Our guide was very knowledgeable. Oh, and there is a magnificent turquoise blue pool at the bottom of one of the caves that is spectacular. Tour is only 45 minutes, but was very enjoyable.Something different to do in the Mother Lode country.

Visited September 2012
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