There’s something exciting about descending into a cave. For many people, it’s like entering an alien ecosystem…a true world of wonder with dark, narrow tunnel-like passages that often open to large chambers filled with icicle-shaped stalagmites, stalactites, rugged columns, and other mineral deposits. Depending on the cave you choose to explore, you may discover pools of standing water, waterfalls and water dripping on the cave walls.
There are an estimated 45,000 caves within the contiguous United States, and while Missouri is known as the “Cave State” with 7,300 caves, Tennessee holds the record for having the most caves with 10,000 known caves.
Whether you and your family are seeking a guided cave tour or you’re planning a spelunking adventure with some friends, consider traveling to your destination in a luxury motorcoach.
Luxury Comfort Throughout Your Trip
When you travel in a luxury motorcoach, you have all the amenities that are found in a hotel, including queen-size and bunk beds, full bathrooms with showers, a large refrigerator, kitchen sink, oven, dishwasher, large screen television with WiFi, and plenty of storage space for your luggage and caving gear.
LiTRV can help you assess what type of motorcoach would be the best fit for you and your family or friends and arrange for a professional driver, should you choose not to drive. We can also research nearby luxury RV resorts and provide other concierge services, such making tour reservations in advance at large, popular caverns that limit entrance to protect their cave system.
Whether you want to plan a cave-themed vacation or you only have time for a day trip on the way to your travel destination, you’ll experience plenty of comfort traveling in a luxury motorcoach. Here are a few caves to consider visiting:
Ruby Falls, Tennessee
One of Tennessee’s greatest natural wonders, Ruby Falls boasts the tallest underground cave waterfall open to the public in the United States. This breathtaking limestone cave is in the heart of Lookout Mountain, less than 5 miles from downtown Chattanooga. Leo Lambert discovered the cave in 1928 and named the waterfall after his wife, Ruby. Today, visitors can descend 260 feet by glass-front elevator to see ancient cave formations along the cavern trail to the thundering waterfall. Ruby Falls also features fast-paced, guided cave walks and specialty tours at a relaxed pace for a smaller number of participants. Be sure to leave time to take in the sweeping views of the Tennessee Valley and Tennessee River from historic Lookout Mountain Tower, Blue Heron Overlook, and the Ruby Falls Village Plaza. And if you’re looking for more adventure, leave time to visit High Point ZIP Adventure at Ruby Falls, featuring zip lines and a climbing tower surrounded by spectacular vistas. Planning, though, will be important because RV parking space is limited. Important to note: Ruby Falls is not wheelchair accessible, and pets are not allowed.
Wind Cave, South Dakota
Wind Cave is the seventh largest cave system in the world and the third longest cave in the United States. Located near Hot Springs, South Dakota, this breathtaking cave is part of Wind Cave National Park, which was established in 1903 by President Theodore Roosevelt. Boasting 33,847 acres, Wind Cave National Park houses a complex cave system that dates back millions of years, as well as a rich Native American history and abundant wildlife. Wind Cave is also home to approximately 95% of the world’s discovered boxwork formations. Boxwork is made of calcite, which has formed in thin blades, creating a box-like or honeycomb pattern. The surrounding bedrock and limestone slowly eroded away, revealing these veins of calcite. Visitors to Wind Cave have a variety of tour options, ranging from easy to strenuous. When you emerge from the cave, be sure to spend time above ground marveling at the bison, elk and other wildlife that roam the rolling prairie grasslands and forested hillsides.
Limited areas of Wind Cave are accessible to wheelchairs and those with limited mobility. These half-hour tours serve as an introduction to the cave and boxwork. The tour includes riding the elevator into and out of the cave, and the elevator building is located about 200 yards south of the visitor center.
Carlsbad Caverns, New Mexico
The “Wow” factor of Carlsbad Caverns is off the charts. Located in the Chihuahuan Desert some 20 miles outside of the city of Carlsbad, this extraordinary natural wonder features more than 119 limestone caves which were once part of an underwater reef in an inland sea some 250 to 280 million years ago. The Big Room is the largest cave chamber in North America by volume. At approximately 4,000 feet long, 625 feet wide and 255 feet high at its tallest point, this massive chamber could fit more than six American football fields inside of it.
The Natural Entrance Trail is a steep, paved 1 ¼ mile descent, equivalent to about 79 stories, from outside to the Big Room. For those with mobility issues, the park offers elevator service into and out of the cavern, where you can access the Big Room Trail, which is the only wheelchair accessible route in the cavern. However, it’s important to note that the trail is wet from dripping water and can be slippery, bumpy, uneven, and difficult to navigate. It is not Americans with Disabilities Act approved and should only be attempted with assistance.
For a special treat, stay through the evening to experience Brazilian free-tailed bats emerging from the cave. The park’s rangers conduct an educational program each evening from late May through October.
Because many caves require reservations and limit the number of visitors through timed entry, we recommend planning your trip 3 to 6 months in advance. Let our LiTRV team help you plan a memorable vacation in a luxury motorcoach. Give us a call at 1-800-369-8153 or fill out the form on our home page for a quote.