Discover the Top 10 Best Caves in All of Utah

wind caves logan canyon utah hiking in winter
© Livy Rich/Shutterstock.com

Written by Kellianne Matthews

Published: September 18, 2023

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Located in the western United States, Utah is a treasure trove of jaw-dropping geological wonders, including many mind-blowing and magical caves. From the majestic stalagmites and stalactites found in Timpanogos Cave National Monument to the awe-inspiring icy chambers of Big Brush Creek Cave, the top 10 best caves in Utah offer a diverse range of natural wonders and exciting adventures that you most certainly won’t want to miss! 

1. Timpanogos Cave National Monument

The system of cave is famous for its unique helictites abundance is high. Timpanogos Cave, National Monument, Utah

At Timpanogos Cave National Monument you can tour Timpanogos Cave, Middle Cave, and Hansen Cave.

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One of the best caves in all of Utah is Timpanogos Cave National Monument, located in American Fork Canyon. It is also one of the most popular caves in the state, and for good reason! Helictites, stalagmites, stalactites, calcite crests, draperies, frostwork, cave popcorn, and flowstone are just a few of the extraordinary formations you can see here! However, one of the most iconic formations is the “Heart of Timpanogos Cave”, an incredibly pure white calcite formation shaped like a heart with two lobes coming together at the top. A thin layer of water trickles over the structure’s surface, making this incredible 12-foot tall 10-foot wide “heart” sparkle. 

However, it is important to note that the only way to see inside the caves is by registering for a guided tour. You can buy tickets 30 days in advance, and the tours are quite popular and often sell out. Tours are offered from May through October, but it also depends on the trail conditions and weather.

The only way to get to these three beautiful caves at Timpanogos Cave National Monument is via a 1.5-mile trail. The trail is paved, but it is quite steep and in the summer it is also incredibly hot, so be sure to bring lots of water. In addition, to protect Utah’s bats from the vicious white-nose syndrome, you cannot wear shoes inside the caves that have ever been in any cave at any time. 

2. Mammoth Cave

Mammoth Cave is actually an ancient lava tube.

Located in southern Utah’s Dixie National Forest, Mammoth Cave is actually a really neat lava tube with around 2,200 feet of passageways. Less than 2,000 years ago, a massive lava flow engulfed this spot. As the fiery lava slowly cooled, a crest formed over the still-flowing molten rock, creating this incredible tube-like cave structure. 

Mammoth Cave is open all year round, but from October through April sections of the cave are closed to protect hibernating bats. In addition, Mammoth Cave does close completely when winter snow blocks the roads. When visiting, be sure to bring sturdy shoes and a light source (the cave gets pretty dark). Depending on how adventurous you are, there are also tunnels you can walk or crawl through. Some passages are narrow enough that you’ll need to belly crawl along the cool, moist ground — which means you are going to get pretty dirty! 

3. Bloomington Cave

Utah’s Bloomington Cave is a “fault cave”.

If muddy adventures and spelunking are your thing, then you should check out Bloomington Cave, just 15 miles from St. George in Southern Utah. Although limestone caves are typically carved out by water erosion, Bloomington Cave is quite different. Instead, this gem is a “fault cave”, which means that it was actually formed by tectonic movement! However, while water didn’t initially create the cave, it still played a major part in shaping the cave’s geological wonderland inside. Over countless ages, flowing water left behind a mesmerizing display of stalagmites, stalagmites, and many other formations that you can observe during your underground escapade. 

Exploring the labyrinths of Bloomington Cave may demand a bit of belly crawling or sliding through some of its narrow passages. In addition, there are some steep floors with a generous coating of slimy mud that make the trek more challenging. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) classifies this cave as “unrated”, and it can prove to be quite the challenge for novice explorers. However, several more experienced cavers have reported that while it is demanding, it does not require technical expertise. Bloomington Cave is open all year round, but you will need to obtain a free permit from the BLM at least three days before your visit.

4. Mossy Cave

Waterfalls in Mossy Cave Trail at sunset, Bryce Canyon National Park in summer season

The Mossy Cave Trail has stunning scenery, including beautiful flowing streams and a 10-foot waterfall.

©GagliardiPhotography/Shutterstock.com

If you’re looking for a taste of Bryce Canyon’s splendor without diving into the heart of this national park, then Mossy Cave is an excellent option. Mossy Cave is located at the end of the short (about 0.8 miles round trip) and easy Mossy Cave Trail. The trailhead is just off Highway 12 outside of the main section of Bryce Canyon National Park.  

Along the trail, you can see much of Bryce Canyon’s beautiful natural architecture, like red-colored hoodoos, pinnacles, and window walls in the cliffs. However, remember that these ecosystems include sensitive plants and many delicate rocks, so tread carefully and be sure to stay on the trail. When you get to the end, you’ll find the enchanting alcove of Mossy Cave. This constantly wet grotto is always dripping, creating its own little oasis during the summer months. In the winter, the water transforms and decorates the cave with beautiful ice crystals. 

5. Kanab Sand Caves and Moqui Cave

Sandcaves near Kanab, a tourist attraction

The Kanab Sand Caves are popular for photographers.

©Christoph Bauwens/Shutterstock.com

The Kanab Sand Caves are hands-down the best sandstone caves in Utah, located just a few miles north of Kanab in southern Utah. These beautiful sandstone caves were created during a short-lived mining boom, leaving behind several spectacular sandstone caves. The caves are quite popular due to their beauty, and people come from far and wide to explore and even host photoshoots here. 

When you visit the Kanab Sand Caves, be sure to stop in at Moqui Cave as well. This unique cave extends about 200 feet at the bottom of Three Lakes Canyon and into a Navajo sandstone formation. Long ago the Anasazi used this cave, and it was rediscovered by white settlers in the nineteenth century. Garth Chamberlain later purchased the cave and turned it into a museum and gift shop, featuring many items from his own collections. Today, you can see all kinds of historical treasures, from Native American artifacts and dinosaur tracks to one of the largest collections of phosphorescent fossilized minerals and rocks in the United States

6. Duck Creek Ice Cave

Duck Creek Ice Cave

In the winter, a beautiful layer of snow and ice decorates the opening of Duck Creek Ice Cave.

©The Dye Clan / CC BY-SA 3.0 – Original / License

Tucked away in the heart of Kane County, Duck Creek Ice Cave is a small, one-room limestone cave near Duck Creek Village. What makes Duck Creek Ice Cave so special is its natural design. The entrance is higher than the cave floor, preventing warm air from freely flowing in and keeping the cave’s interior refreshingly cool and icy. In fact, even during the scorching heat of summer, the temperature inside Duck Creek Ice Cave remains just above freezing! Stepping into the cave provides a welcome relief from the sweltering heat as you explore this unique microcosm of icy tranquility.

However, it is important to note that the entrance to the cave is a steep climb down with some gnarly rocks along the way. Thankfully, there is a rope tied near the entrance to lend a helping hand, but if you’re bringing along little ones you’ll need to be prepared to give them a lot of assistance. You can easily explore Duck Creek Ice Cave in just a few minutes, and there are many other beautiful places to visit nearby, such as Cascade Falls or one of the region’s many stunning lakes. 

7. Wind Caves

wind caves logan canyon utah hiking in winter

The Wind Caves in Logan, Utah, offer stunning views of Logan Canyon.

©Livy Rich/Shutterstock.com

Although called “Wind Caves”, this name is a bit misleading, as these caves are actually the result of water erosion and not created by wind at all! Made from limestone deposits slowly dissolving over time, the Wind Caves are now three stunning natural arches. 

You can reach the caves by taking the trailhead in Logan, located just 5 miles up Logan Canyon. The hike is just under 2 miles, but there are some challenging areas along the way in addition to gaining 1,000 feet in elevation. One of the three caves faces out into Logan Canyon, offering spectacular views and one-of-a-kind photography opportunities. However, it’s important to note that the Wind Caves are located on the edge of a steep cliff and drop off, so if you have children with you you’ll want to make sure to keep them close. 

8. Hobbit Caves

Children love visiting the Hobbit Caves in Logan, Utah.

As if carved from a fairytale, the Hobbit Caves in Utah’s Logan Canyon are a collection of adorable, small cutouts nestled in a rock outcropping next to a charming little stream. These tiny caves only go to about 10 feet deep, which makes them the perfect adventure for kids. The caves are a very short walk from the parking area, hidden amongst an enchanting collection of green trees and beautiful rock formations covered in moss and lichen — you’ll feel like you’re stepping right into the Shire! 

This natural and magical experience can be found through an 8-mile drive into Logan Canyon, turning off onto Right Fork Canyon Road. The trail to the Hobbit Caves is short and fairly easy, although you will need to cross a small stream or river. There is also a lovely little 6-foot-tall waterfall. 

9. Big Brush Creek Cave

Big Brush Creek Cave is the second-longest cave in Utah.

High up on the south slope of the Uinta Mountains under 20 miles from Vernal, the dazzling ice formations of Big Brush Creek Cave change each year depending on the temperatures and precipitation. Big Brush Creek Cave has nearly 5 miles of passageways that run 858 feet deep, making it the second-longest cave in Utah. One of the large ice columns near the entrance sometimes even lasts all the way through the summer, and some further inside remain all year long! 

Rising a whopping 8,160 feet above sea level, the entrance to this chilly and breathtaking cave lies snugly along the bottom of a dead-end canyon with a disappearing stream. This unique setup creates the perfect environment for dense, cold air to settle inside the cave. In addition, Big Brush Creek Cave doesn’t have a lower exit point, so the cold air has no way to escape. So, even when temperatures drop below freezing, groundwater continues to drip into the cave and slowly transform into some of the most spectacular ice formations you’ll ever see. 

The best time to visit Big Brush Creek Cave is during the summer and fall. In the spring the runoff can be deadly, and in the winter it can be hard to access unless you have a snowmobile.

10. Little Brush Creek Cave

Little Brush Creek Cave is the longest cave in Utah!

Just 5 miles away from Big Brush Creek Cave is Little Brush Creek Cave — which is even longer than its “big” sibling! Nestled high in the Uinta Mountains near Vernal, Little Brush Creek Cave is the longest cave in Utah, stretching an astonishing 5.93 miles with a depth of 658 feet! Like Big Brush Creek Cave, Little Brush Creek Cave is also a breathtaking adventure with dazzling ice crystal formations and massive ice structures that span over 10 feet. The cave is accessible all year round, but due to thousands of acres of snow melt, it’s not possible (or safe) to enter the cave from the first spring melt until the end of summer.

Although both Big Brush Creek Cave and Little Brush Creek Cave are popular destinations for experienced cavers and spelunkers, they can be dangerous so it is important to be prepared before you visit. Both caves are extremely cold inside, even during the hot summer months, so you’ll want to bring warm clothes and sturdy shoes. In addition, you’ll definitely want a flashlight and/or a headlamp, as well as first aid supplies. Both Big Brush Creek Cave and Little Brush Creek Cave have rather extensive interior systems with vertical drop-offs, high carbon dioxide levels, and sometimes unexpected flooding. 

Exploring Caves in Utah

The trail to the Timpanogos Cave and beautiful fence. National Monument, Utah

The Trail to Timpanogos Cave National Monument offers gorgeous scenery.

©IrinaK/Shutterstock.com

Many of Utah’s caves are well-suited for children and beginners, while others are definitely best for experienced spelunkers. Whether you are new to caving or have been exploring the underground recesses of the earth for years, it’s always important to be prepared. Here are a few tips for visiting the best caves in Utah:

  • The first important thing to remember when it comes to exploring caves is that not all caves are created equal, so choosing the right one is crucial. Some caves can be difficult to navigate and may require special gear or training. That’s why it’s essential to do your research and find a cave that matches your experience level. 
  • Even if you have your phone with you, make sure to bring a compass and a physical map. Depending on the cave and location, there may not be any reception, leaving you unable to use your phone.
  • Always let someone know when and where you are going, and when you plan to be back. 
  • Never go caving alone. 
  • Bring a light pack with flashlights or headlamps, food, water, and first-aid supplies. 
  • Wear the right gear — long pants, sturdy shoes, and layers. 
  • Stay on the path, both inside and outside of the cave. Not only will this keep you safe, but it will prevent damage to the cave and its delicate ecosystems.
  • Do not disturb any bats or other wildlife you may see during your adventures. Stress can be detrimental to the plants and animals in and around caves. 

Summary of the Top 10 Best Caves in All of Utah

Cave NameLocation
Timpanogos Cave National MonumentAmerican Fork Canyon in the Wasatch Range in north-central Utah.
Mammoth CaveThe Dixie National Forest on the Markagunt Plateau in southern Utah.
Bloomington Cave15 miles from St. George in southern Utah.
Mossy CaveJust off UT 12 in southern Utah, outside the main section of Bryce Canyon National Park.
Kanab Sand Caves and Moqui CaveJust north of Kanab in southern Utah.
Duck Creek Ice CaveNear Duck Creek Village in southern Utah.
Wind CavesLogan Canyon in northeastern Utah.
Hobbit CavesLogan Canyon in northeastern Utah.
Big Brush Creek CaveUinta Mountains near Vernal in northeastern Utah.
Little Brush Creek CaveUinta Mountains near Vernal in northeastern Utah.


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About the Author

Kellianne Matthews is a writer at A-Z Animals where her primary focus is on anthrozoology, conservation, human-animal relationships, and animal behavior. Kellianne has been writing and researching animals for over ten years and has decades of hands-on experience working with a variety of different animals. She holds a Master’s Degree from Brigham Young University, which she earned in 2017. A resident of Utah, Kellianne enjoys creating, exploring and learning new things, analyzing movies, caring for animals, and playing with her cats.

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