I was always intimidated about caving in Utah. My friends wanted me to go to the now defunct Nutty Putty Cave and crawl through the dark on my belly, and that seemed pretty extreme to me. But caving in Utah doesn’t have to be that way. There are several guided caves, and plenty of “safe” caves that don’t require special equipment (other than light) or getting very dirty. Here’s our list of caves for families in Utah (or very near to Utah).
Also, be sure to scroll down and check out our quick list of caving tips before you begin spelunking! Click on any link for pictures, full details, tips, and directions to these Caves in Utah:
Some people are a bit daunted by the hike, but this guided tour is very safe and a great introduction to caving for kids. Every Utahn should go through this cave at least once. Make sure to get tickets beforehand, and to pick up a Junior Ranger booklet.
This cave is also guided and is near Bear Lake (technically in Idaho). Though the features in this cave are less exotic, the vastness is really amazing. You have to be able to do some stairs to make it through this cave.
The lava tubes located near Fillmore are unguided and really cool. You could mostly do them without light as there is some natural light that filters in. Some scrambling and ducking is required.
After a short hike along the Lava Flow Trail, there are two lava tubes to explore. These caves can be a little tricky to enter, so be careful, but there is a lot to see. We even spotted some bats on our visit. Make sure to take light. Then explore the rest of Snow Canyon State Park located in St. George.
This is more of a hike than a cave. Located in Logan Canyon, most of the cave is standing in the open (you have to see it for it to make sense). You won’t need light, just a little stamina to make the hike.
This cave is manmade and goes directly back into the mountain for about 50 yards. Make sure you take plenty of light, and you do have to duck to nearly crawling to get into the opening, but it is located in a picnic area so the walk is very easy to the entrance.
Mammoth Cave is an adventurous cave to visit. It’s located between Cedar City and Bryce Canyon. It’s a lava tube with a few different entrances. Take your own light and be prepared for some crawling. Make sure to visit Bower Cave too, which is near Mammoth Cave.
Bower Cave is close to Mammoth Cave, and between Cedar City and Bryce Canyon. This cave has a fun entrance with a ladder, but adults will need to help children down since the bottom rung is missing. This cave is home to 7 different species of bats, but we didn’t see any.
Duck Creek Ice Cave is small, but adventurous. Use the ropes, and adults, to help children down into the cave. The cave is really just a small room, but it is cold. Most of the year there is ice along the bottom, but when we visited in early August it was all gone. It was an easy stop, but along a very bumpy dirt road. This cave is also near Mammoth and Bower Caves.
The Kanab Sand Caves, also known as Moqui Caverns are a unique type of cave. The caves were created when sand was mined for glass. There are some big cavers with huge open windows. No light will be needed, but a scramble up the slick rock instead. Make sure to wear shoes with good traction to make this climb.
This guided cave tour is in Great Basin National Park which is just a few miles over the border into Nevada. There is no hike and the cave system is one of the best we’ve seen. We think of it as Utah’s 6th National Park.
Located in Logan Canyon, the Hobbit Caves are perfect for young kids. There was only one cave that the adults could fit in, but there are lots of little holes for kids to explore. The whole area looks like it belongs in Lord of the Rings. There is also a waterfall at this quick stop!
Okay, this one is clearly cheating. Located in southeast Idaho near Bear Lake, Paris Ice Cave is not technically a Utah cave. But it is so unique with it’s pinnacles of ice in the middle of summer that we had to include it!
Other Cave Info
If you’re feeling adventurous, Craters of the Moon National Monument in Idaho has several caves as well! Leave us a comment with your favorite Utah cave, too.
Be sure to check out our 5 Essential Tips for Caving with Kids!
Tip: We love this headlamp from Vitchelo. The bright beam light is perfect for exploring caves. And we like to use the red light when we are stargazing. It has lots of features.