Page 2 Tour information, fees and map
Mitchell Caverns is closed for repairs. There are no tours of the Mitchell Caverns or the Providence Mountains SRA during this time. There are more pictures of the interior of the caverns below.
Tours CLOSED The following tour information has been left on this site for reference purposes only.
Tour fees are $6.00 for adult, $3.00 for child under 16.
Tours are limited to 25 persons. For groups of 10 or more persons, reservations should be made by contacting the park at 760 928-2586.
Tour Schedule: Labor Day weekend to Memorial Day
Weekends 10:00 AM, 1:30 PM, 3:00 PM
Weekdays 1:30 PM
Summer weekend only Sat. and Sun. 1:30 PM
More about the caverns below
An account of Jack Mitchell's first descent into the "Winding Stair Cave" during the period of his early explorations would read like fiction. It was a chilling experience as he lowered himself into the unknown depths with the use of a "bosun's chair" that constantly turned in the darkness, causing him to virtually lose all sense of both time and direction. His signature on the cavern wall, dated July 1, 1931, indicates that he had penetrated this cave at least as far as the portion he called "Dog Leg Room. "
The Cave of the Winding Stair has been utilized as a training area for cave rescue teams under a program sponsored jointly by the California Department of Parks and Recreation, the County Sheriff's Department, and the National Park Service.
In conducting the tours that Jack guided through the El Pakiva and Tecopa caverns, it was necessary to make a separate entrance into each cave. This was a situation that always bothered him, because he said that it "spoiled the tour." He told everyone that he had always wanted to connect the two caverns with a tunnel that would provide a continuous excursion, but lack of financing prevented him from making this improvement. It was finally accomplished after his death, when the California Department of Parks and Recreation hired crews to do the work. With the added publicity that the State was able to provide, the annual count of visitors to the Caverns has increased dramatically since the Mitchell years.
For a Book and Map of the area see our
Mojave National Preserve Introductory Package
Keeper of the Caves - Mitchell Caverns originally titled Jack Mitchell Caveman, this expanded second edition (2003) features many new photographs, restores the missing chapter on famous botanist Mary Beal and includes a foreword by renowned Mojave Desert historian, Dennis Casebier.
Facilities - Activities
The Mary Beale Nature Trail, located near the park's visitor center, is a self-guided moderate walk through the desert. A brochure describing desert plants and animals is available. Another, more strenuous, mile-long trail leads to a spring above the visitor center. There are also cross-country hikes to the many peaks in the 5,900 acre Providence Mountain State Recreation Area.
Mitchell Caverns, located in the heart of the Providence Mountains State Recreation Area, is a popular tourist attraction. Spectacular and intricate limestone formations found include stalagmites, stalactites, helictites, lily pads, draperies, curtains and popcorn. First opened for tours by Jack Mitchell in 1932, the caverns were purchased by the State in 1954. They are the only limestone caverns in the State Park System.
Located at an elevation of 4,300 ft., temperatures usually remain moderate throughout the year. The most popular months to visit are October through May. Temperatures inside the caverns are a constant, comfortable 65 degrees.
Location/Directions: The recreation area is located in the eastern Mojave Desert, 56 miles from Needles on Interstate 40, 116 miles east of Barstow, and 16 miles northwest of I-40 near Essex Road. Located at an elevation of 4,300 feet, the park is surrounded by one of the newest National Parks, Mojave National Preserve.
Other locations to visit in Mojave Desert.
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