The Caves

The Caves

On the corner of Fort Apache and Warm Springs there is not much going on—there are no familiar corporate businesses or anything that has the potential to attract many people except for one thing: caves. When I first heard about the caves up there, I was unsure of what to think. I mean, how many people have you heard of that went spelunking this past weekend?

My first experience there was in August of 2011. I’ve wanted to revisit again and again, and since then I have developed a unique relationship with these unnamed caves. Once I stepped foot on the short hike (short by distance, not time), it opened my eyes to the reality that it had been a while since my last hike and my body soon began feeling the effects of failing to keep up with my workout regimen. I laughed to myself and continued trekking onward.

Once I was up there, I saw a vast area that needed exploring. I was not the first person to do this, which was apparent by the trash left behind by previous explorers.  Some had left wood from an apparent bonfire, others left paint from firing their paintball guns, and some even left behind art on the cave walls. It was then that I realized the potential for this place: a few of my gun-owning friends would jump on any opportunity to go to a place that is relatively close to the main area of town and have fun with their guns and rifles. The caves also have potential to be the perfect place for dirt biking, riding ATV’s, camping or can even be one of the best spots to view fireworks from.

Perhaps it could serve as a place to go hiking or climbing to get a good workout in. Believe me, I’ve hiked at Red Rock Canyon but this is a completely unique challenge in its own way. The caves offer a combination of trails, rocks, light areas on the mountain, dark spaces, and nooks to crawl through that I haven’t experienced elsewhere. There is little to no light once you step inside any of the six caves so it is extremely crucial that you bring a flashlight or some sort of portable lighting to see inside. For the less adventurous of you, exploring the outsides of the cave is also very satisfying. You can still picnic or do some exploring, but to be safest, it’s best to stick to the outskirts of the caves.

Another activity I have tried on two of my trips to these caves was picnicking. As I am the complete opposite of a bug-enthusiast, I was thrilled to find out that there are practically no pests up there either. Although it is relatively close to the strip (about a 10-minute drive via the I-215), it feels so remote in a relaxing way. To me it seemed like I left the city when in reality I could still see its panoramic view.

In all, there are 6 caves on the mountain you can trek through. The first is visible from the street and is conveniently located by the road. This is the second-biggest cave of the six and absolutely worth the effort. If visitors go to the caves at least 3 hours before sunset, they can still catch a glimpse of sunlight in this cave. This can help navigate cave-dwellers as they explore the rocky area. The remaining caves are scattered around the upper-side of the mountain. Some of those caves also connect with each other which would be an impressive feat to travel through.
There are no designated parking areas for visitors so people who go there either take their cars up to the mountain itself, or like me, leave it on the safe, flat ground a few yards from the road.

 

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