Some of our favorite units in the National Park Service system include caves. Here is a list of our 10 favorites. We now have a page just for all of our Top 10 lists.
- Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park (Hawai‘i)
Thurston Lava Tube is an electrically lighted half-mile walk through a high-ceilinged cave.
- Cumberland Gap National Historical Park (Kentucky)
Reservations are recommended for the ranger-guided two-hour tour of Gap Cave.
- El Malpais National Monument (New Mexico)
Short lava tubes are open to the public if you pick up your free cave permit at a visitor center.
- Great Basin National Park (Nevada)
Lehman Caves is only 0.6 miles long, but it is full of beautiful formations, like Parachute Shield.
- Wind Cave National Park (South Dakota)
Boxwork is an uncommon cave formation and 95% of the world’s known quantity is right here (see photo at the top of page).
- Mammoth Cave National Park (Kentucky)
The many tour options will keep you coming back to this wonderful park.
Start by hiking switchbacks up 1,092 feet, then your ranger guide will show you the gravity-defying helictite crystals.
- Jewel Cave National Monument (South Dakota)
The Wild Caving Tour here is reportedly the most difficult in the entire National Park Service System.
- Lava Beds National Monument (California)
Pick up a guidebook and chart your own course through dozens of unlit lava tubes.
…and finally our #1 cave in a National Park!
- Carlsbad Caverns National Park (New Mexico)
Visit this incomprehensibly huge cave during the summer to witness the Evening Bat Flight Program.
Sequoia National Park (California)
Having not yet visited Oregon Caves National Monument, we will defer to Crystal Cave for this spot since it is the first cave Scott ever entered in 1988.