We are excited to announce that the Western Cave Conservancy has purchased the bulk of Cave of the Catacombs, including the main entrance.
This gold country cave was first discovered by European settlers in 1850, but it had clearly been known to the natives for much longer, as evident by the presence of numerous human bones in the cave at the time. (The exact origin of these remains is a bit of a mystery since this site has never been formally studied by an archeologist and the remains have not been analyzed or carbon dated.)
From a caver’s point of view, the cave is small (about 500’ of surveyed passage) but fun, and eminently friendly to first-time cavers. Located in the same Permian marble as many other caves in this area, it features a small but appealing set of decorations, as well as occasional fossil coralloids if you look carefully.
It is easy to visit year-round, with essentially no hike to the entrance — though winter visits often encounter an elevated water table that requires traverses and chimneys to stay out of the sometimes-deep water (or a wetsuit if you prefer to simply embrace the water). Occasional bat roosting may also limit human visitation in late spring and early summer. Late summer and autumn are usually the best time for visits, as much more of the cave is accessible in the dry season.
We anticipate that access to this cave will be handled similarly to Rippled Cave, with easy access to keys for local grottos, and no formal trustee requirements. Be sure to follow WCC news for more information!