Little Brush Creek Cave – Vernal, Utah – This wonderful cave is located high in the Uintah Mountains, Little Brush Creek Cave is a popular destination for cavers and locals. It can be accessed year round, but entrance into the cave in not feasible from the first spring melt to the end of summer,( Watch Out for Flooding) as the entire Little Brush Creek, along with thousands of acres of snow melt, flows into the cave. The cave sees an average of 250 visitors per year, January being the most popular time to visit. It is the longest cave in Utah at 5.93 miles and 658 feet deep. It is the 37th deepest cave in the US.
The cave is part of a larger caving system, and is similar to its brother, Big Brush Creek Cave. Ice crystal formation up to a foot long, and ice structures over 10′ long, make this cave an amazing winter wonderland. Inside the cave, passage ways are narrow and cold. Many tunnels are plugged with logs and debris forced into it in past floods. Much of the cave is spent crawling and winding over very tight passages.
Big Brush Creek Cave – Vernal, Utah – N This amzing cave is located high in the Uintah Mountains, Big Brush Creek Cave tends to be a popular destination for cavers. One can drive to the trail anytime there is not snow (depending on the year). The entire Big Brush Creek, along with thousands of acres of snowmelt (beware of flooding), flows into the cave during spring runoff. Please check with local forest services to get an updated report before entering the cave.
It is the second longest cave in Utah at 4.92 miles and 858 feet deep. (The cave could be pushed deeper if it was not for the bad air in dead air passage) Best time to visit would be in summer through fall. If you have snowmobiles winter is a good time to visit. Avoiding visiting during spring dew to high unexpected, deadly runoff. (The cave has killed before) The cave is part of a larger caving system, and is similar to its brother, Little Brush Creek Cave. Ice crystal formation up to a foot long, and ice structures over 20′ long, make this cave an amazing winter wonderland.
Inside the cave, passage ways are narrow and cold. Many tunnels are plugged with logs and debris forced into it in past floods. Much of the cave is spent crawling and winding over very tight passages. Further into the cave it opens up into a canyon that takes you all the way to the bath tub room and to dead air passage.
Photo By: Benjamin Zack
This is where most turn back due to the bad air there that could be deadly depending on the conditions. The wood and debris from flooding is pushed back and then ferments with CO2, which creates the bad air conditions. This is a large cave and should be an all day event. If you make it deep enough it will require rope for small drops and climbs. This cave tends to stay cold and wet. The average temp is around 45-50 degrees F. This is a great starter cave when it comes to big caving.
This amazing cave in rock canyon is one of the most decorated caves in the state of Utah.
You need to anchor a rope to a tree that is split in half, rappel down 25 feet or so into the entrance deck. Located in the back of the deck room, there is a small entrance that is gated. It gets very tight right off the bat, but it opens up after about 20 feet. Taking off your helmet at this point helps tremendously getting through. As there are hundreds of delicate formations throughout the cave, please step lightly and be very careful with your head, as that can break formations and hurt pretty bad if stabbed.
Some of the formations in the cave are calcified roots, stalactites, and helectites.
The most decorated passage is off limits for recreational trips. Red Baron Cave is quite cool year round, so long sleeves are recommended. This is very long and difficult hike, so be ready to give a good amount of time to hiking.
This cave is located just to the south of Y mountain and has many other small caves near by.
The cave was originally named after Fred Buss, who was a geology professor at BYU from 1907 to 1927. He took his students up regularly to the cave as section of their class work. A few years later when Nutty Putty Cave was discovered, most students lost interest in the long and difficult hike to Professor Buss Cave and started going to the more accessible Nutty Putty Cave. In the bottom of the cave there are signatures dating as far back as 1886. Because of the historical value of the cave, the Timpanogos Grotto is attempting to gate the cave. Access should be fairly easy to acquire once the gate is put in place.
Main Drain Cave – Logan Canyon (Tony Grove) – WARNING! EXPERT CAVERS ONLY!
During the summer season of 2005 mapping occurred in several “small” caves in the tony grove area. To aid in the effort, Brandon Kowallis led a cave mapping workshop to get new cavers the know-how in mapping caves. Over the season, 10 small caves were mapped. Brandon and Vern Bowden together produced 18 maps for most all of the small caves surveyed in 2005 and previous years. The heavy snowpack of 2005 created large concern and delays in the exploration efforts in Main Drain Cave. The initial trips started in mid-July with the entrance pit still heavily coated with ice and snow. At the end of July, the first trip to the bottom of the cave discovered the 2004 depth record’s 45-ft pit completely full of water and back flowing down the passage with waist deep water. By mid-August, the bottom push resumed with a crew of 6 cavers with about a dozen more begging to come along. Following the main lead, we found a large room where two streams flowed into a 15-ft diameter pool. The survey ended at the edge of this 25 to 30 foot deep pool. A new depth record of 1227 ft was reached.
With no other downstream leads, the project’s participation waned. All of the remaining leads continue upstream. However, the first upstream mapped lead led to a large breakdown room with 3 converging waterfalls.
Dave Shurtz led several other survey trips to clean up the leads in the middle depth of the cave. After several trips Dave is close to completing the survey of the upper section of the cave. These upper leads have shortened the 450-ft vertical gap between Lucifers Lair Cave and Main Drain Cave to 300 ft.
This weekend (February 2014) Divers are going to the bottom to dive the bottom pool to see if it is a sump or filled up to that point. This could be a trip to break the top 5 deepest caves in the US. I will keep you update. Cave On!
Photography by Brandon Kowallis
Spanish Moss Cave – Utah County, The cave is gated. Spanish Moss cave is very well decorated and is a great starting vertical cave.
The “Spanish moss” that it is named after, is located at the bottom of the subway passage where you sign your name in the registry. Spanish Moss is accessible pretty much year-round, and stays about the same temperature. It can get very slick in the main subway passage and requires a rope to get back up. A 200ft rope can get you past the slick part.
Amazing formations and easy to get to compared to other caves in the area.
South Madhouse Cave – Utah County – Starting From the start of the cave, rappel into the cave about 15 ft or so. After that follow that room downhill through several cracks. Be careful, You will come across a little pit you drop into. This pit is about 6ft deep. From there you can slip and crawl through another crack that is quite tight. This is where you might come across some popcorn formations. The cave continues beside another crack until it dead-ends.This is a fun cave to start a little vertical work with. Please practice before you go, as it is a little harder in dark places.