A trip to Murphys, CA is always a delight for travelers, but those looking to pair sensational scenery with exploration and discovery will find there are a variety of caves to be found here! The next time you’re in town, be sure to add the following to your itinerary and round out your stay with an unforgettable adventure.
For more information on the area’s best activities and attractions, download our free Vacation Guide. This carefully curated guide will provide you with everything you need to plan the perfect Murphys and Sierra Foothills vacation.
Visit California Cavern State Historic Landmark
Just over 15 miles from Murphys, visitors can find the California Cavern waiting to be explored. This stunning limestone cave is part of the California Cavern State Historic Landmark and was originally referred to as Mammoth Cave. It’s earned the title of the state’s first show cave offering public tours and is thought to be California’s longest cavern too. A stop here is a chance for visitors to enjoy a customized tour that can be booked to fit their skill levels and preferences. The Middle Earth Cave Expedition takes 2.5 to 5 hours to complete and gives guests the chance to explore nearly 80% of the cavern system over the course of a mile. The Trail of Lakes Tour is a winter and spring season option lasting around an hour and taking participants around underground pools that are only accessible when water levels rise. While the guided Trail of Lights Tour is a great option during summer or fall, the Mammoth Cave Expedition is a must when you’re looking to put your caving skills to the test.
Explore Mercer Caverns
Travelers looking to stay right in Murphys with easy access to underground fun will find Mercer Caverns checks every box on the list. This cave was named after a gold prospector known as Walter J. Mercer who was credited with discovering the landmark back in 1855. A trip through Mercer Caverns is an up-close experience with stalagmites, stalactites, aragonite frostwork, and speleothems alike. It’s thought that the origins of this breathtaking cave date back as far as 12 million years making a stop here that much more impressive. Booking a Mercer Cavern tour is a chance to explore alongside a guide for 45 minutes as visitors descend 160 feet into the earth following a staircase of 208 steps. Tours are available year-round from 10:00 am until 4:30 pm with summer hours extended from 9:00 am until 5:00 pm.
Take Time to Experience Moaning Caverns Adventure Park
Formed within soluble rock limestone, Moaning Caverns is an example of one of the most frequently occurring types of caves found in the Murphys area. A visit to Moaning Caverns Adventure Park is a chance to check out caves that gold miners first explored in the 1840s. The name these caverns were given stems from the distinct sounds resembling a moan that occurs here as the result of wind and water running through and around the rock floors. Guests who head this way can enjoy taking a Moaning Cavern tour with a focus on the spiral staircase that descends 165 feet into the earth to reach the cavern’s main chamber. There’s another tour option available that involves 3-hours of cave exploration alongside a knowledgeable guide as well. Before you go, be sure to check out the gift shop and stroll the surrounding nature trails!
Book Your Stay in Murphys Today
When a bed and breakfast stay is what you’re looking to enjoy in Murphys, Courtwood Inn has you covered. Reach out today to learn more about our luxurious accommodations and to start planning your next California adventure.