Mammoth Cave (Utah)
Mammoth Cave (Utah)
Mammoth Cave is one of the largest lava tubes in Utah, and relatively young at only about 2000 years old. The cave has about 2,100 feet of passageways, 5 entrances, and from one end to the other (with the largest, main entrance in the middle), it is about 1300 feet long. Access to the largest of the caves is blocked from October through April to protect hibernating bats.
|Elevation Range:||0 ft|
|Low Elevation:||7900 ft|
|High Elevation:||7900 ft|
Mammoth cave is somewhat confusingly named, since it is nothing like the massive cavern in Kentucky. It is a cave though, and it is near Mammoth, Utah, so perhaps the name makes sense at some level. This is a fun cave, but come prepared with a jacket no matter how hot it is outside - and make sure to bring a flashlight if you want to venture very far into any of the tunnels. Clothes you don't mind getting dirty, and sturdy, ground-gripping shoes are recommended if you plan on going very far in.
The parking lot was moved back further away from the cave in late summer 2016, with the way to the cave clearly marked. If you arrive via ATV, there is designated ATV parking in addition to car parking. At the parking lot is a pit toilet, and an informational posting area that will have various signs and other information from the forest service.
The main entrance will require a short scramble to get over the lava rocks and boulders on the way down. As you drop down, there is an entrance to a lava tube to your left, and then an entrance to a tube to the right. The entrance on the right is barred up, with a crawl point underneath to allow people in during the time of year when the cave is open. From October to April, this will be closed off to protect various sensitive bat species that use the acve for their hibernation, including the Townsends Big-Eared Bat and Fringed Myotis.
Both tunnels require some amount of crouching, crawling, and stooping to get through. Watch your head for any low-hanging rocks, and watch your step as there will be water on the floor of the tunnel all year round. The ground can be quite slippery as a result.
Take your time and explore all 4 tunnels. The tunnel heading away from the parking lot and the tunnel with bars on it are the best two to explore since they each have exits 75 yards away. If you only have time for one, do the tunnel with the bar on it. It is slightly longer, and requires less crawling to get through.
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From Duck Creek Village:
- Travel East on highway 14 for 1.3 miles
- Turn left onto Mammoth Road; watch for the sign announcing the turn
- After 5.1 miles, turn right onto a well-groomed dirt road. There should be a sign - but watch your mileage closely just in case.
- Follow this road south for 1.5 miles
- Turn left onto Forest Service Road 675
- After .7 miles, turn right onto Forest Service Road 950
- The cave is 0.4 miles further