" Lake Shasta Caverns, we have basically 3 tours in one", said Shasta Cavern's General Manager Matthew Doyle.
A visit to the north states historic Shasta Caverns includes a lot more than it used to. It starts with a colorful catamaran across the McCloud arm of Shasta Lake's blue waters, surrounded by local wildlife.
A scenic bus ride through the Grey-Rock Mountain Forest will take you 800 feet above the lakes surface and lead you right to the caverns entrance, and that's where the real sight seeing begins. " You get to see basically an amazing piece of mother nature", said Doyle.
What you'll find once inside the caverns is something you literally have to see to believe. Beautiful formations of limestone marble rocks that form multicolored fluted columns studded with brilliant crystals, all made by mother nature herself. " As the rains come in, it leaves behind those right crystals, those crystals that are needed and the cave just continues to grow and grow and grow", said Shasta Cavern's manager Joshua Francis.
The caverns date back at least 200-million years. They're first recorded discovery was by James A. Richardson, and his claim to the discovery is still seen clearly on the rock wall he wrote it on, November 3rd 1878, and the discoveries are still being made. " I've worked here for 10 years and gone through that cave a 100 times, and every single time I go through it I find something new", explained Doyle.
By the end of the tour you may even become a bit of a rock connoisseur, learning about everything from flow-stone and cave draperies to stalagmites, stalactites and helictites, all found in the cavers. Since the caverns were first opened to the public in 1964, more than two- million people have explored them. " It's just so mind boggling, you're just in awe, I just can't believe what I'm seeing and it's been here for thousands of years", said Washington resident Janet Terry.
And each explorer has their own favorite part. " The guy that wrote his name on the wall", said Washington resident Elijah Brown, " That was really cool when the water came down and created that , it was really cool", said Mikaehla Brown. Brendon Brown also of Washington adds, " the little caves that I saw around the place".
By the end of the tour more than 650 stairs were climbed, 181 miles were driven, and less than a half-a-tank of gas was used. All well worth the 2 hours spent viewing one of mother natures greatest creations. " Cave into your curiousity" says Francis.