Mitchell Caverns

Mitchell Caverns

Providence Mountains State Recreation Area

After being closed for nearly seven years the cave is open and ready for tours; by reservation only of course.  We made our appointment and went on the tour. Mitchell Caverns are limestone caves that feature a wide variety of formations. Mitchell Caverns become a California State park in 1956 and contain the only limestone caves in the California park system.

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The Tour is 1.5-mile hike that the CA.gov website clams is “Strenuous”.  However, after doing the tour I wish I would have warn my Van’s slip-ons rather than my heavy hiking boots.  This trip was easy and a simple stroll.  Most of the tour is spent standing in the cool cave while the tour guide gave a history of the location.  So, the standing around is why I would have rather had my house shoes on then my hiking boots.

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If you are planning to enter the caverns, please be make sure that shoes, clothing or gear have not been in contact with the White Nose Syndrome (WNS) that affects bats. It is important not to bring clothing or gear that was previously used in a WNS-affected site. WNS is a fungal disease killing bats in North America.

The Cave is actually a couple of different caves with a man dug connection tunnel between them.  They have installed doors to separate the 2 different climate zones and to help preserve the natural climate within the cave system.  You will notice that as you walk through this area that the humidity changes a good deal. However, the caves maintain a constant temperature of about 65-degrees.
The tour itself took us about 2 hours and our guide was very knowledgeable.

The Chemehuevi people, a branch of the Southern Paiute Natives, have lived in the area beginning about 1,000 years ago. They referred to the to the Cave entrance as “The Eyes of the Mountain”.

Other features of the caverns also have Chemehuevi referenced names and features.  The Chemehuevi people have lived in the Mojave Desert for thousands of years. The surrounding areas have many historical artifacts and features to support their long history with in the area.

At the entrance we were fortunate enough to see several Chuckwalla lizards.

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El Pakiva Cavern

 

Some Formations

 

Tacopa Cavern

 

For more information please visit the following web sites:

 

www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=615

www.desertusa.com/mnp/mnp_mc.html

http://www.parks.ca.gov/pages/615/files/ProvidenceMountiansFinalWebLayout040510Rev2017.pdf

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