California Deserts Visitor Information

Mitchell Caverns

Mitchell Caverns are limestone caves that feature a wide variety of formations. Trips through the caverns are conducted by guided tours only and last about 1 1/2 hours.

Although the tour is not strenuous, there is a half-mile walk to the cave entrance from the visitor center and another half-mile walk throught the caverns on uneven ground. The area became a California State Park in 1956 and still contains the only limestone caves in the California State Park system.

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.

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Top Attractions in the Deserts Area

Amargosa Opera House and Hotel, Death Valley Junction
Boomers, Palm Springs
Cabot’s Pueblo Museum, Desert Hot Springs
Death Valley National Park
Havasu National Wildlife Refuge
Joshua Tree National Park
Living Desert Zoo and Gardens, Palm Desert
Mitchell Caverns
Palm Springs Aerial Tram
Wet ‘n’ Wild Palm Springs

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