Crystal Cave

Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park

Useful Information

Location: In Sequoia National Park, between the Ash Mountain entrance and Giant Forest. From parking lot 800 m hike down Cascade Creek.
No buses, trailers or vehicles over 6 m long on Crystal Cave Road!
Open: 08-MAY to 11-JUN Mon-Fri 11, 12, 14, 15, Sat, Sun 11-16, every hour on the full hour.
Memorial Day Weekend 10:30-17, every half hour.
12-JUN to 06-SEP Mon-Fri 10:30-16:30, Sat 10-17, Sun 10:30-17, every half hour.
07-SEP to 19-SEP Mon-Fri 11, 12, 14, 15, Sat, Sun 11-16, every hour on the full hour.
20-SEP to 14-OCT Mon-Fri 11, 13, 14, Sat 11-15, Sat 11-14, every hour on the full hour, weather permitting.
Closed [2010]
Fee: Adults USD 13, Golden Access USD 12, Children (5-12) USD 6.50, Children (0-4) free, Seniors (62+) USD 12.
No discount for National Park or federal passes.
SNHA members get a 25% discount on regular cave tours.
Tickets must be purchased in advance at Lodgepole or Foothills visitor centers!
Classification: SpeleologyKarst cave
Light: LightLED Lighting
Dimension: L=3300 m, T=9 °C.
Guided tours: D=50 min., L=800 m. Not wheelchair accessible.
Bibliography: Joel Despain (S.N.H.A.) (1994): Crystal Cave: A Guidebook to the Underground World of Sequoia National Park, 49 p., $9.95.
Joel Despain (2003): Hidden Beneath the Mountains, Caves of the Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks. 128 pp, many colour photos. Cave Books, Ohio, USA, ISBN: 0939748568
Address: Sequoia Natural History Association, HCR-89 Box 10, Three Rivers, CA 93271, Tel: +1-209-565-3134. E-mail: contact
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.


???? two Native Americans die or are intered in Crystal Cave.
1600-1810 burned wood is left behind inside the entrance to Crystal Cave.
28-APR-1918 discovered by A L Medley and C M Webster, two park trail construction employees who were fishing along Cascade Creek on their day off.
30-APR-1918 first exploration led by Walter Fry.
JUL-1918 Marble Hall found in Crystal Cave.
29-MAY-1940 opened to the public.
MAY-1946 the book Crystal Cave by Frank Oberhansley is published.
1957-1958 self-guided tours lead to wide spread vandalism.
1982 operated by Sequoia Natural History Association
MAY-2010 propane generator powered electric light replaced by solar cell powered led light.


Crystal Cave occurs in a formation of limestone which was altered under high temperatures and pressure into marble. There are nearly 100 more marble solution caves in the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park. They are famous for impressive speleothems and Crystal Cave is know as the most impressive one.

The entrance to Crystal Cave is closed by an iron gate, looking like a spider's web. The cave is maze-like in character. Marble Hall measures 60 m long, 20 m wide, and is 10 to 15 m high.

This cave is often referenced as Crystal Sequoia Cave, which is a good idea as there are virtually dozens of Crystal Caves all over the world. But the official name is still Crystal Cave.

During winter 2009/2010 the electric light in Crystal Cave was renovated. The light bulbs were replaced by LED (light-emitting diodes) light, which needs only a fraction of the energy. As a result the propane generator which was used to power the cave light was replaced by solar cells. An array of batteries stores the energy from the solar panels. The propane generator is still available for case of emergency, or if by coincidence the energy of the cells is not suffient. This cave is the first show cave managed by the National Park Service which is actually lit by the sun. The renovation was financed with about $300,000 in federal recovery funds and grants.