We have great news provided by the fine folks at the Sequoia Parks Conservancy. Crystal Cave tour dates for 2019 have been announced. Our advice for this awesome hike and tour is to abide by all the rules on the Conservancy site, buy tickets in advance before you visit the cave (they don’t sell tickets at the cave), bring plenty of water, get ready for driving in a remote location within the Sequoia National Park, and be prepared to see a true wonder of the world lead by incredible tour guides.
Also good news for ADA guests visiting the cave this year from Savannah Boiano, Executive Director of the Sequoia Parks Conservancy:
We successfully integrated assisted listening devices to accompany our tours of Crystal Cave. Crystal Cave is the first national park cave with a deaf and hard of hearing program of this kind. The cave hosts more than 60,000 guests each year.
For more info visit the Sequoia Parks Conservancy website for Crystal Cave. Enjoy this information provided by the Conservancy.
2019 Tour Dates: Friday, May 24 – Sunday, September 29
Come explore the underground world of Sequoia National Park. Cave naturalists will lead you on a journey through this beautifully decorated cave of impressive chambers, magnificent formations, and a polished marble stream. Several different tours are offered from mid-May through September. Due to its wilderness location, be aware that Crystal Cave can close unexpectedly at anytime. We look forward to seeing you underground.
Crystal Cave is located near Giant Forest in Sequoia National Park. From Foothills Visitor Center: from Generals Hwy, drive 13 miles (20 km). Turn left on to the Cave Road- look for a sign as you enter Giant Forest. Drive 6.5 miles (10 km) to the parking area. From Lodgepole Visitor Center: turn left on to Generals Hwy. Drive 6.5 miles (10 km) through Giant Forest. Turn right on to the Cave Road. Drive 6.5 miles (10 km) to the parking area.
VISITING THE PARKS
Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks offer the following passes for purchase through a downloadable app:
$35 Seven-Day Vehicle Pass
$30 Seven-Day Motorcycle Pass
$60 Sequoia and Kings Canyon Annual Pass
The line to get into the parks can be long during the summer season. Please allow plenty of time to get into the parks.
Visit www.nps.gov/seki for the most current travel information.
- From March to September, tickets can purchased at www.recreation.gov. Purchasing tickets at least 30 days in advance is recommended. Occasionally, tickets may be available each day for purchase at the Foothills or Lodgepole Visitor Center. You must have tickets BEFORE arriving at the Cave.
- It is recommended to check for Cave conditions/updates at the visitor centers at least two hours prior to your tour- even if tickets were purchased online.
- Tickets must be purchased at the Foothills Visitor Center or Lodgepole Visitor Center.
- Tours run from mid-May through September. Weather permitting. Tours often sell out and are full on the weekends and during special tours. July and August are exceptionally busy. Purchasing tickets at least 30 days in advance is advised.
- There are NO REFUNDS if you miss your tour.
- The Cave may close at anytime due to weather or other circumstances. If the Cave must be closed and your tickets were purchased online, you need to request a refund from www.recreation.gov by calling 1.888.448-1474. You may return your tickets to the ticket outlet for a refund only if purchased in the visitor center.
- Due to slippery conditions and stairs, tours are not recommended for children who are not old enough to walk on their own. Baby backpacks and strollers are not permitted.
TRAVELING TO THE CAVE
- You must allow 60 minutes from the Visitor Centers to get to the cave parking lot. Please plan to be in the parking lot 15 to 20 minutes prior to your designated tour time. Road construction may require delays. Follow the instructions provided by the staff when you purchase your tickets.
- The road through the park is narrow, winding, and steep. Allow plenty of time to drive safely.
- Vehicles over 22 feet (6.7 meters) and towed trailers are not allowed on the Cave Road.
- The Cave Road closes one hour after the last tour of the day.
UPON ARRIVAL AT THE CAVE PARKING LOT
- Due to black bear activity, you must place all food and scented items in the shared bear boxes provided in the parking area.
- Pets are not allowed in the Cave interior or exterior, on the trail, or in unattended vehicles.
- Use the restroom prior to meeting for your tour. There are no restrooms on the trail or at the Cave entrance.
- The Cave temperature is 50 degrees inside. A jacket is recommended.
- The hike from the entrance is strenuous. Bring drinking water. There is no water available at the Cave.
- Report to the gathering area at your designated tour time.
TRAIL TO THE CAVE ENTRANCE
- The 1/2 mile trail to the Cave is steep and strenuous with stairs.
- The trail is paved but uneven and cannot accommodate wheelchairs.
- There is poison oak growing near the trail – Stay clear and do not touch the plants.
- Rattlesnakes and bees are sometimes encountered. Do not approach, and inform the staff if you see either.
- Beware of rocks that may fall onto the trail and watch for obstacles.
INSIDE THE CAVE
- Personal photography is permitted, but tripods, monopods, and selfie sticks are not allowed. There is no flash photography allowed inside the Cave, including lights from video cameras. If you are interested in commercial filming in Crystal Cave, please visit www.nps.gov/seki for information.
- No backpacks, bags, purses, hiking sticks, or baby carriers are allowed inside the Cave. They may be used for the hike to the Cave, but must be left unattended at the Cave entrance.
- You may not consume food or beverages inside the Cave.
- Do not carry loose items that could be dropped or lost in the Cave.
- In the event of a power outage, flashlights will be provided. There are no refunds if the tour is completed with flashlights.
Do not visit the Cave if you have claustrophobia, difficulty walking, heart/respiratory problem, recent surgery/illness, physical limitation, health problems or cannot walk a half mile in 20 minutes on a trail. There are no first aid facilities nearby. Visitors assume all risk of personal injury and loss/damage to property. The park is not responsible for your possessions left in your vehicle. The Cave is not recommended for young children who cannot walk on their own.
FOR TICKETS PURCHASED ON RECREATION.GOV
The Cave may close at anytime due to weather or other circumstances. If the Cave must be closed and your tickets were purchased online, you need to request a refund from www.recreation.gov by calling 1.888.448-1474.
FOR TICKETS PURCHASED IN THE VISITOR CENTER
You may return your tickets to the ticket outlet for a refund.
School tours are available during the typical school year only. Advance registration required. Contact the group coordinator at SFI@sequoiaparks.org or 559.565.4251 for more information.
For the latest road updates call: (559) 565-3341. www.nps.gov/seki/planyourvisit/road-construction
SPC Newsletter, November 15, 2018.