Moaning Cavern Tour

Vallecito Travel Blog

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flowstone - chocolate waterfall

A limestone cave, located in Vallecito, CA, is the largest vertical chamber in a public cavern that you can visit on the West Coast - said to fit the entire Statue of Liberty comfortably inside! I know they offer rappeling and adventure tours I would like to work up to sometime, but I knew Michelle would not be up for that!  I double checked and they have a regular walking tour....468 steps round trip though!  YIKES!  Given that I had been having my health issues with my heart, I thought maybe it was not the best idea but we were there and paid for the tour, so what the heck..let's give it a go!

The cave was discovered in 1851 by gold miners but has had been known by prehistoric people for the "moaning" the cavern made.

Cave bacon
  Water dripped into small holes at the bottom of the "chocolate waterfall" flowstone formation, causing a drumming sound, which would echo off the cave walls and be carried by the wind out of the natural entrance of the cavern.   It doesn't moan now due to the building of the visitor center over it, but you can sometimes hear a very faint moan at the bottom from the few water drops. 

The tour is about 45 minutes and has you descending a pretty steep spiral staircase that I had to stop on several times due to feeling a bit dizzy! LOL  As you start the tour, there is a natural hole that was created which is where you can do the rappel tour.  This hole was discovered centuries ago and the bottom of the cavern now holds the bones of those prehistoric people who fell to their deaths! People obviously didn't realize the depth of the cavern and many fossils were recovered, several of which are on display in the waiting area by the hole itself.

Michelle and I at the bottom of the cavern
  Considered an archeological site, the human remains are said to be some of the oldest found in America.

The depth of the cavern has been explored to the depth of 410 feet!  The adventure tour looks amazing.....we stood in the cavern where the rappel trip ends and also where the adventure tour comes up through the crack in the wall! You would definitely have to be ok with crawling through very tight spaces to handle that one! 

Our guide was very knowledgeable and I really enjoyed just sitting at the base of the cavern taking in all the formations.  It was also neat to be in total darkness - when they turn off the tour lights, it is truly so dark you can't see your hand in front of your face.  It was eerie to adjust when the lights came back on - it took a few minutes for our eyes to adjust. 

The trip up the stairs was one I don't want to relive! LOL.  It was not as bad going up (dizziness wise) as compared to coming down. We stopped a few times to take photos and next thing you know we were off the spiral stairs and on the tiny ones leading out of the cavern.  Fun times! Can't wait to try that adventure tour sometime now! :D

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flowstone - chocolate waterfall
flowstone - chocolate waterfall
Cave bacon
Cave bacon
Michelle and I at the bottom of th…
Michelle and I at the bottom of t…
Welcome to Moaning Cavern
Welcome to Moaning Cavern
cave map
cave map
HA HA HA...Had to get this for my …
HA HA HA...Had to get this for my…
The hole you rappel down
The hole you rappel down
First set of stairs
First set of stairs
Next set...a little tight!
Next set...a little tight!
Flowstone
Flowstone
Michelle by the only formations yo…
Michelle by the only formations y…
Me touching the dirty formations! …
Me touching the dirty formations!…
Dizzy spiral stairs
Dizzy spiral stairs
Cave bacon
Cave bacon
the hole the adventure
the hole the adventure
Cave drapery
Cave drapery
the holes water dripped in creatin…
the holes water dripped in creati…
flowstone
flowstone
Chocolate waterfall
Chocolate waterfall
Chocolate waterfall
Chocolate waterfall
Close up of cave formations
Close up of cave formations
Close up of cave formations
Close up of cave formations
Flowstone
Flowstone
Cave bacon
Cave bacon
Cave bacon
Cave bacon
spiral staircase and part of the c…
spiral staircase and part of the …
The frog mascot for the ziplining
The frog "mascot" for the ziplining
Zip Line Station
Zip Line Station
View on the grounds
View on the grounds
Rock climbing wall
Rock climbing wall
Vallecito
photo by: poohstanggt