My family and I visited the Caverns while spending some time up at Lake Shasta on a camping trip. Overall, my husband and I found the tour of the caverns very interesting. The formations are interesting. Our boys were bored (ages 6 & 10) by the tour, although walking in a cave was fun for them. Our guide was named Nicole (Nicky - she has a beautiful singing voice) and she was very knowledgeable and entertaining. I would recommend her if you have an opportunity to chose your guide. While I wasn't aware of what colors I would see inside the caverns we discovered that most of the formations were cream colored and mostly cave drapery and columns. I was hoping to see more stalactites in a range of colors. Most were of a rusty creamy color. There were somewhere around 180 stairs to climb up and down inside the caverns. The caverns were mostly dark aside from some rope lighting along the stairs and some landscape type lighting in various places to illuminate the area for walking purposes. Our guide had a maglite type of flashlight that she used to point out specific things throughout the tour. The temperature inside the caverns was cool and comfortable.
Some other noteworthy information about the facility and the tour....
There is ample parking available when entering the parking lot. There are also picnic tables under trees where you can eat some lunch before your tour. They have a small snack bar where you can purchase some food if you didn't bring any. They also have a small play structure for kids to play on at no additional cost (that was totally in the sun so you'll need sunscreen if they plan to play on it) and also offer a simulated gold panning activity (at an additional cost). Inside the registion area is a gift shop. Expect a lot of stairs and up and down hill walking throughout your arrival to the completion of the tour. (I overheard a guide telling someone that if anyone was unable to walk up the steep hills before or after the tour, the tour operators could transport them by car. This however does not apply to the actual tour inside the caverns. You must be able to walk through that part and climb the stairs.) After purchasing your tickets you have to walk down a steep hill side by either taking the stairs (lots of them) or walking down the ramps. From there you'll take a short ride across the lake by way of a large pontoon type of boat with covered seating. After exiting the boat, you have to walk up a steep hill where an air conditioned bus drives you to the top of windy hill where you'll meet your tour guide. A hat and suncreen aren't necessary as you'll be covered on the boat ride and indoors at the cavern. The only time you are in the sun is your short walk down from the registration area out to the boat for the short ride. No backpacks are allowed in the caverns, however a camera bag was allowed. They do allow bottled water in the cavern but no other types of drinks or food are allowed. I don't think strollers would be allowed inside the caverns. The walk ways are just wide enough for one person. Our visit was on a Sunday mid day and it wasn't crowded, I was expecting large crowds of people but was pleasantly surprised by how uncrowded it was. Perhaps the cost of the tour kept the crowds in control. If you've never been inside a cavern I would recommend seeing the Shasta Caverns.
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