Crystal Cave
Crystal Cave
4.5
About
This Place is Temporarily Closed. Crystal Cave is a marble cave with a wide variety of stalactites, stalagmites, and other geologic features and cave-adapted wildlife that add to its popularity with visitors and scientists from around the world. There is a wide variety of tour options and experiences that appeal to adults, families, and the wild caver. Crystal Cave is open early May-late November, weather and conditions permitting. Advance reservations are online. Please review the physical fitness precautions before purchasing tickets. No pets.
Duration: 1-2 hours
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4.5
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42
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FresnoTravelers
Fresno, CA576 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2021 • Couples
We were able to get reservations for the Crystal Cave your thru Recreation.com! As we had not been in a cave in many years, we were really excited!! From the start, it was an excellent experience!! My nephew was with us. As he is deaf, he often misses information. One if their rangers signed!! So the intro was presented by one ranger while a second signed!!! Additionally, they have a tablet with ASL videos of the tour guide. Our cave tour guide, Emily, was amazing!! With each stop, she held up a number so my nephew knew which video to watch. The cave is about 1/2 mile from the ticket and introduction area. It is a very primordial walk, full of vegetation and waterfalls! But it is steep going down, and you must walk back up. The cave itself is AWESOME!! Narrow passageways, babbling streams along the side, pools, large open caverns with stalagmites and stalagtites, and rock formations, great lighting! And Emily giving information on formation, history of finding the cave, geology, etc. Just fantastic!! The tour is just under an hour, but you also need an extra hour for the walk down and back. Again, a shout out to the rangers!!
Written June 5, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Departure35579
Carlsbad , Ca1 contribution
4.0 of 5 bubbles
I recently took the tour of Crystal Cave and was impressed by both the tour and the drive.
We left Logdepole camp about 3 hours prior to the tour that we reserved and I am glad we did. The drive turned off the Generals Hiway and began a journey in to deeper and more impressive forest.
About 2 miles in we stopped at a bridge to look at an aray of streams pouring into a fantastic gorge.
I foung a parking area just past the bridge with a trail down to this river and casscades... we spent almost an hour gawking. It was worth the stop and we saw most drive past trying to get to the cave as fast as possible. OH well.
The hike to the cave took all of 15 min and we waited for our tour by this neat little creek with falls . Not bad.
Our guide was a former park ranger naturalist who liked caves and it was a treat to hear a non-canned talk. The guide encouraged our questions and provoked our thinking about caves. The lights out part of the tour at the end was enlightening and took all of 2-3 min.
The cave is in Marble not limestone and has a lot of unique formations and a stream that has carved neat sections out in black and white banded stone.
I had never seen this zebra like marble and liked it.
The cave has a variety of things to see and has been lit very nicely...no colored lights or music.
I have been to other caves where it was P.T. Barnum time and the guides had a canned talk.
Not so with Crystal.
The National Geographic Society published a guide I read that If you have but one day to see Sequoia National Park then see 2 things, Giant Forest and Crystal Cave. I agree.
I foung that we could also sign up for spelunker tours and a special natural history tour....I will try to come back and try it.
Written May 22, 2004
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

kasejason
Chicago, IL357 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2017 • Couples
We started our day at Sequoia with a tour of Crystal Cave. This ended up working out well, but there were a few things that I wish I had done differently when preparing for the trip. Below are some tips to help you plan a trip to the cave and to maximize your enjoyment.

1. Book your tour ahead of time, and book as far out from your trip as possible. We had really wanted to take a discovery tour, but found that all of these tickets were sold out several weeks in advance. We had to settle for a family tour, which we enjoyed, but we're quite certain that we would have liked the discovery tour more. By booking early, you will be able to get whatever tour best suits your needs.

2. The road leading to the cave from the Generals Highway is quite rough, and you will need to allow a ton of extra time to get to the cave. I had read this same warning myself before our trip. We have a lot of experience with rough roads, and my hubris caused me to think "how rough could it be?" We ended up grossly underestimating the time it would take us to get to the cave. The problem wasn't us, but other people. The trouble is that the road is narrow with lots of blind turns, and this creates two problems. Some people drive very slowly and stop up traffic. Others drive down the middle of the lane at high speeds, causing near misses with oncoming cars. In my opinion, the road leading to the cave is the worst part of the overall cave experience. If you aren't picky regarding which tour you take, your best bet might be to book the first cave tour in the morning so that you can face the minimum in oncoming cars on the way to the cave. If you are fairly certain that no cars will be traveling in the opposite direction, you can drive a little more comfortably.

3. If you are concerned with the timing of your tour, book a later tour and aim to arrive 35 to 65 minutes early. If you do arrive early and speak with the rangers, you may be able to get into an earlier tour using your later tour tickets. We observed this happening a few times during our visit. This strategy will allow you a good deal of cushion in your timing, and you won't be punished if you end up running a little late. If you have small children, note that some of the family tours are limited by age, so you may not be able to get an earlier time.

4. Know what you can and can't take into the cave before you arrive. You should make sure that none of your gear has been worn in other caves prior to your trip. White-nose syndrome has been spreading across the US from the East, and the best way to prevent its spread is to keep out potentially contaminated equipment. If you are wearing shoes that you previously wore in another cave, you will not be allowed to wear them into this cave. The rangers will make you change into duck shoes for the tour. Additionally, you should bring your own flashlight and a bottle of water. You are not allowed to take bags into the cave, and you will have to leave them at the entrance to the cave. The only food or drink that is allowed in the cave is a bottle of water. Because the hike out is rather strenuous, you will surely want water before you get back to your car. If you have other food with you, you should lock it in the bear boxes at the parking area so that you won't attract bears.

5. Use the restroom before you head down to the cave. There are no facilities after the parking lot, and it will be at least two hours before you will return to the cars (assuming you take a family tour - other tours are longer).

6. Don't underestimate the hike to and from the cave. You will only have to cover about 0.5 miles to get to the cave, but this is all downhill on the way there. When you leave the cave and return to the parking area, you are in for a workout as you hike uphill all the way. As others have mentioned, there is a lot of poison oak on the trail. A small patch of it is identified with a sign, but the rest is up to you to spot. It's best to stay on the dirt part of the trail and to stay away from all vegetation. We were warned about mosquitoes and rattlesnakes as well, but we saw neither. Many people at the parking area were bathing in deet sprays, but we did not use any and had no problems (late morning in late July).

If you prepare well for your trip to the cave, you can easily make this part of a wonderful day at Sequoia National Park. It is possible to drive to the cave, take the tour, and drive back in just under 4 hours, which should leave the rest of the day for other hiking/ exploration.
Written August 12, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Jennifer T
Devore Heights, CA469 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2021
We were so excited to be able to tour the inside of Crystal cave but the tour itself was cheesy. The tour guide used the comparison of touring the cave being likened to going on a space mission. So each room was "the moon", "another planet" etc. The example didn't add it the experience but instead took away from what could have been an informative tour about the cave. At one point, the lights were turned off (intentionally) which frightened some of the children and even made a grown woman on our tour cry. Overall, I am happy we got to see the inside of the cave but I wished it would have been a conventional educational tour. Be warned the hike down to the cave is rough, it is paved, however there is no railing and it is a steep drop off the side. I would not recommend for anyone with balance issues. Also there are snakes, lots of them. We encountered 4 on the trail to the cave.
Written May 31, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

delily
Ohio780 contributions
2.0 of 5 bubbles
Sep 2018 • Family
I’ve been in lots of caves and I would be the last person to discourage anyone from spending money to support a National Park. But even if you have never visited a cave before, there are several reasons why I’m telling you to just skip this one and spend your dollars in one of the park gift shops instead. There are much better ways to spend your money and especially your precious vacation time inside the park.

1) First of all, the ticket process is dumb. You cannot show up at the cave and purchase a ticket. If you do, you will be placed on a waiting list and will have to wait until a space becomes available. No telling how long that will take. Instead, you must buy your timed ticket either on-line or at one of the visitor’s centers. That means you must guess at what time you will arrive at the cave and allow plenty of time to get there. If you are like most people, that will probably mean you will over-estimate and end up sitting around the parking lot waiting for your tour time to begin. There is a small open-air gift shop with a few items to browse and restrooms are available in the parking lot. They may also allow you to join an earlier tour if space is available.

2) Second, once you reach the turn off for the cave you must drive at least another 20 minutes down a very long and winding road to the parking lot. The road you travel down to the cave must be traveled back up. That’s 40 minutes spent just driving the cave road that could be better spent communing with the giant trees.

3) From the parking lot it is a steep and long half mile hike down to the cave opening where the tour begins. You are warned to watch out for falling rocks, rattle snakes, and poison oak. They allow you a good 20 minutes to get down the path. The path is narrow, roughly paved, and with a few stairs. If walking down the steep half mile isn’t a problem, walking back up after the tour might be. There is no wheelchair access. If you are handicapped or elderly or for any other reason would have a tough time climbing a long way up a steep hill, you shouldn’t attempt this tour. The path itself is pretty with a waterfall running alongside it, but honestly, if it's scenery you are looking for check out one of the real park trails. There are lots of beautiful options.

4) Once inside the cave, the lighting at your feet isn’t that great. If you are still young and spry you'll be fine with it. But you are walking on an unfamiliar, paved, often steep, and sometimes wet path. You are told not to touch the walls. That would be fine except it is an unfamiliar, paved, often steep, and sometimes wet path! There are only a few handrails. The group is encouraged to walk quickly and they do. I am no spring chicken, but I am not particularly helpless either and although it did not appear to be slippery, I was nervous that I might slip. Be sure to wear decent shoes. This is not a place for flip flops. You might also want a light jacket if the cool 50-ish temp will bother you. I wore a long sleeved t-shirt and was fine.

5) The guide was knowledgeable, interesting, and well-versed but the cave tour really isn’t very good mostly because it is so short. You get some info just inside the mouth of the cave. You enter the first room and get a few stories there. Then you climb up into a second room where you hear some more cave lore and experience what it is like with all the lights turned out. Over and out. You are led back to the first room where you are left to make your way out the cave entrance and back to your car.
The cave is filled with stalactites and stalagmites which are interesting, but hardly worth all of the time and trouble it takes to see them for those few minutes. Frankly, I was too busy carefully watching my feet as we hurried through the cave to even see most of the formations I was passing. There might be other tour options available that would be more worthwhile, but as far as the standard tour goes I have to say “skip it.”
Written September 24, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

5.0 of 5 bubbles
Crystal Cave is a beautiful marble cave steeped in cultural and natural history. I was lucky enough to visit when they still held the off trail or "wild" tour which was magnificent. If you visit fill out a comment card to encourage re-instatement of this tour! It's worth it, trust me. The guides there are incredibly knowledgable, friendly and funny. A good time all around.
Written April 11, 2002
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Love_2_camp_in_Cali
14 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
After coming for years to the Sequoias in the winter months so our kids can play in the snow, we finally made it up in the Fall so we could visit the Crystal Caves. I called a month in advance to inquire on hours, climate and most importantly whether the tour was appropriate for my children, ages 2, 7 and 9. The nice lady on the phone ensured me that children were more than welcome and even suggested to us that we being glow sticks for them as they tend to comfort children in the sometimes dark areas of the cave and children think they are fun. We purchased our tickets at the Foothills Visitor Lodge where three rangers answered questions about the tour and even asked us how old our youngest was. When we responded that he was 2 not one of them mentioned any possibility of it being a problem that he take the tour. We stopped once more at the Cave Bookstore at the entrance to the trail leading to the cave entrance. the lady behind the counter talked with us and again made no mention of children being an issue. So on to the walk to the cave entrance. The walk down was beautiful. Passing several small waterfalls, there were plenty of great photo opportunities. Our children did just fine, but just needed to be reminded to stay away from the edge of the trail since most of it led to steep edges with no fences to keep visitors from falling. The problem began when we met our tourguide Alex. He was very dry and his attempts at humor were marginal at best. What really bothered me was while he was talking my son, from the back of the group said, "mama what is it?". Alex said "come on seriously?" in front of the entire tour group. Ignoring the comment we started the tour, often times staying toward the back of the pack so we didn't hold anyone up as the kids looked around. My 2 yr old son asked a lot of questions, was laughing and kept saying "cool" to which Alex was becoming increasingly irritated with. In EVERY room we stopped in he made a comment about my son, including "seriously" (again) and "those with the baby can you do something about him?". Mind you my child had NOT once cried and the comments he was making were relevant to the tour. The next room we entered my husband stayed behind in one of the walkways as Alex had made it very well known in front of the entire group that he was not happy with my child. This made things worse, NOW my son did start crying because he wanted to be with the rest of our family. Again, Alex asked in front of the group if we could do something with him. I explained to Alex that my son is 2 and that I had verified before coming that children his age were welcome on the tour and that up to this point he hadn't cried or been unruly and that we were working on getting him calmed down. This mans next move is what floored me...Alex was huffing and puffing and when my son (who wasn't even all the way in the room with us) didn't stop crying immediately he said "really? Hold on" and swung his mag light as hard as he could and hit the metal railing of the walkway. What? I mean talk about a threatening move!!!! This of course made my son scream louder and so Alex asked that my husband take him further down the walkway.at this point I asked how we could exit the caves as I felt he was being very disrespectful. After a moment of arguing with me Alex showed us which way our party of 7 could exit the cave. We walked the remainder of the tour by ourselves and found the exit. After walking back to the Bookstore (the trip back was a tad strenuous but not impossible) I talked with Beth, the manager and explained the situation. She was very kind and understanding and offered a solution to the problem. Please note that we are always very aware of how our children behave and how it affects people around us. Our girls were beyond well behaved as was our son prior to us being repeatedly bullied by the tour guide to "do something about him.". I understand customer service; I understand the need to please the majority; but I also understand that in a service based industry you must use tact when dealing with your customers. Alex could have very easily discussed his concerns about my son talking with us on the side instead of in front if an entire group. The snide remarks were more than unnecessary and flat out rude. But most importantly, there is never an excuse to make a loud, startling noise using a flashlight and metal railing to quite a child. Not only does Alex have little to no tact, he obviously has no patience for or experience working with children in general (see comment from another traveler on this site and yelp). We were paying customers like everyone else. We were never told that talking by a 2 year old would not be allowed. Fortunately, Beth was very nice, caring and concerned. It gave me hope that others visiting may be able to enjoy their experience unlike us. If you have children, I would suggest being sure that Alex is not your guide before spending the time, money and energy on the tour.
Written October 22, 2011
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Tim S
Orange County, CA271 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2017 • Family
Well worth the price and effort to do this attraction while you are staying in Sequoia. The road to Crystal Cave can be treacherous, so drive it safe and slow. Be mindful of blind corners, and there are dozens. (Allow 50 minutes to one hour for the drive from Lodgepole Village.) Bear Boxes are available in the parking lot for your "smells" items. There is a small restroom, with no sink.
BRING WATER! There is no fresh water, drinking fountains, or water bottle refilling station. They do sell small water bottles at the mini bookstore/stand.
You will need water when you arrive back from the cavern. Trust me on this one. Bring a small water bottle for part of the hike down to the cave, and save some for the climb back up the trail to the parking lot. Make sure to have water waiting for you in the bear box also.
Arrive at least 20 minutes before your tour begins to secure your items and use the restroom. THERE IS NO RESTROOM AT THE CAVE, OR ALONG THE TRAIL.
Bring bug spray and sunscreen, the parking area has little shade and plenty of mosquitoes.
Stretch before you hike down to the cave. The hike is moderate for most but very strenuous for others. The trail is a .4 mile "drop" down to the cave. There trail definitely has poison oak alongside it, so stick to the path, and you will need to be conscious that you are in rattlesnake territory The first half of your descent is steep and precarious, running along a ridge with a 400 foot drop. There is no railing, so some people are shaken up on this section of the trail. You are rewarded by Cascade Creek flowing past the trail, midway down. There is a rockfall area of the trail where you must keep moving, no stopping. Cascade Creek has a great picture spot in front of the cavern entrance, but save your pictures after the tour.
Our Tour Guide Nolan was excellent. He gave the Family Tour and had great control and presence over the group of about 30. Nolan was great at interaction with a couple of kids on the tour. The tour was about 45 minutes long.
You will not need a flashlight, but bring a mini one if you feel you must. (Keep the light beams low.) It is better to let your eyes adjust to the cave lighting.
Bring a camera that can take good pictures in the dark. A camera flash is not allowed in any part of the cave. LED flashes from your cellphone are also prohibited. Selfie sticks, GoPro sticks, and tripods are not allowed either.
You will have to leave any backpack, fanny pack, purse, tote, and water bottles at the cave entrance unattended. Nothing is allowed on your person, other than your clothing. This is because of some tight spaces on the walkway, and scraping of the cave walls will do damage. If you consider yourself "fluffy", there is a good chance that you might not make it through a section of the trail in the cave.
After passing the Spider Web Gate entrance the guide took us up to the first main chamber and room. On our tour we went into five distinct rooms, two of which were very large. There are formations that look like an octopus, a dragon, and Jabba the Hutt! A neat highlight of the tour is turning the lights off and asking for quiet.
The cave is near 50 degrees, so a light jacket is highly recommended. You will get a few drips on your head and shoulders. After your hike down to it, the coolness of the cave is actually quite refreshing.
After the cave tour, visit the picture spot of Cascade Creek near the entrance. Make sure to stretch and prepare yourself for the hike back up to the parking lot. (It takes 15 to 20 minutes to get down to the cave, and about 35 minutes to get back to the parking lot after your tour.) Return to the parking lot on the same, steep, precarious, .4 mile climb back. (Adding the cave tour, your total mileage will be near one mile of walking.) For total hours spent on this adventure, plan for three-and-a-half to four hours.

Written July 3, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

masaccio
Huntingdon, UK1,921 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Make sure you take the discovery tour of the caves that runs daily at 4.15pm as it is well worth the $20. The tour is advertised as 90 minutes, but ours lasted over two ours with a fabulous guide (Glenn). The light in the valley is also at it's best on the way back up after the tour for photos. There are much better caves to visit, but the quality of this small-group tour is hard to beat.
Written August 26, 2010
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

whataload
Orange, CA25 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
I took the "regular" our of Crystal Cave which was $10 per adult and last 50 minutes. A better way to describe that is you are taken to 5 different rooms in which you linger for about 10 minutes in each to observe and take pictures. You really don't walk that far (maybe 50 yards total). Note that the light level is low (it is a cave after all) so adjust your cameras accordingly. The tour guide talked about the discoverey of the cave and the various formations. If you have visited caves before it's the same spiel about stalagmites, stalactites, calcium carbonate, etc.. It's a nice stop if you're into caves, otherwise you can skip it. Like most places in the park the cave is reached by a windy mountain road that takes a while to get to because you can't go much faster than 25 mph. Then the hike from parking lot to the cave is only 15 minutes but it's steep, so getting back can be a bit of chore if you're not used to the thin air at 7,000' elevation. If you're not into caves I'd suggest skipping it and spend more time looking for Sequoias in Giant Forest.
Written July 8, 2006
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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