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Lake Shasta Caverns, Lakehead

#128 of 401 in Nature in California
The Lake Shasta Caverns are a network of caves located near the McCloud arm of Shasta Lake in California. It was formerly named Chalk Cave and Baird Cave, named after Spencer Fullerton Baird.HistoryThe caverns are dated at least 200 million years, and were formed by flowing water. Over the years this water drained leaving the caverns seen today. The caves are made entirely of limestone, and feature every type of possible formation, including stalactites, stalagmites, soda straws, columns, and flowstone. The Discovery Room, one of eight known rooms in the cavern system, contains all types of limestone rock formation. the first recorded white explorer was James A. Richardson, a federal fisheries employee. His claim of discovery is still clearly legible on the wall where he wrote it that day – November 11, 1878 – with carbide from his miner's lamp.Until 1964, Lake Shasta Caverns were seen each year by only a handful of hardy spelunkers who inched their way through steep, restricted natural fissures to view its startling formations. Before opening to the public, a new entrance was needed, as the current was a small hole in the ceiling, barely large enough for one man to fit through. Using explosives, workers blasted a tunnel from a rock face deep into the mountain, hoping to reach the lowest known room, the Basement. However, along the way, a large rock wall was knocked down, revealing the Discovery Room, perhaps the most fascinating room in the caverns. As a result of this, the Basement Room ironically is not the lowest room. The idea of preserving this natural phenomenon first came to Grace M. Tucker, an attorney from Chehalis, Washington. In 1955, she obtained sole ownership of the caves. In 1959, Mrs. Tucker, along with Roy Thompson and his two brothers, formed Lake Shasta Properties, Inc. The site was declared a National Natural Landmark in May 2012.
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Lake Shasta Caverns Reviews
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270 reviews
  • Even though it was raining and misty, we had a great time visiting the caverns. We bought tickets at the gift shop, which was full of interesting rock formations and gems for sale. After that, we had ...  more »
  • This is a must see if your at Lake Shasta! The tour is reasonable priced and your only walking through the caverns. Dave runs the tour scene and loves to answer all your questions. Chilly and a little...  more »
  • Enthusiastic & knowledgeable tour given by 'Cave Dave'! We learned so much from Dave about how caves are formed, and about the composition of the caves. Dave runs the tours year-round and hires extra ...  more »

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