Frequently asked questions

Moaning Caverns Spiral Tour
The entrance to the cavern is accessed from inside the gift shop. The tour descends 235 steps (144 of which are on the 100-foot spiral staircase) to a depth of 165 feet, then comes back up the same steps.

Wheelchairs and strollers are not able to negotiate the stairs. In addition, the occasional low ceiling does not allow for infants to be carried in backpacks. We do not recommend the tour to people who are claustrophobic or those who have a fear of heights.

Moaning Caverns Expedition Crawling & Spelunking Tour
This is a “wild caving expedition,” also known as spelunking. It is very physically demanding. THIS IS NOT AN EASY, WALKING TOUR!  Those with conditions such as heart and lung problems, pregnancy, impaired mobility, or excessive weight should not attempt the adventure. Participants must be at least 12 years old, and be at least 4-feet tall. Minors must be accompanied by an adult. Guides will limit participation to persons they believe to be suitable and fit.

Spiral Tour
Because the narrow and low entrance passage prevents the use of backpacks, and the stairs make it unsafe to carry a child without support and prevents the use of strollers or wheelchairs, children need to be old enough to walk on their own or small enough to fit in a front carrier. There are no age limits on this tour. Everyone is welcome!

Expedition Crawling & Spelunking Tour
Cavern exploration requires good health! THIS IS NOT AN EASY, WALKING TOUR!  Those with conditions such as heart and lung problems, pregnancy, impaired mobility or excessive weight should not attempt the adventure. YOU ARE REQUIRED TO NOTIFY US IF YOU OR ANYONE IN YOUR GROUP MAY REQUIRE SPECIAL ATTENTION OR AWARENESS ON THE PART OF YOUR GUIDE! Participants must be at least 12 years old. Guides will limit participation to persons they believe to be suitable and fit. Although our cavern trips involve little danger, all participants and parents of participating minor children are required to sign a waiver of liability.

In general, the best times to visit are when we are less crowded, which tends to be in the winter, early spring and late fall. These are also beautiful times to visit the Mother Lode which is beautifully green from the rains.

Moaning Caverns is open 364 days a year. Memorial Day through Labor Day are the busiest times, especially on weekends and holidays.

Fall and winter is a wonderful time to visit if you want to avoid the crowds. While Moaning Caverns doesn’t flood in the winter the cavern does get wet and visitors may get dripped on. The Expedition Tour can get very wet and muddy during the winter, which most people feel adds to the fun.

Due to the vertical nature of our cavern and our concern for guest and guide safety, we must limit what guests can bring on our tours. Backpacks, bags, purses, water bottles, food, drinks or camera attachments such as tripods, selfie sticks, and extra lenses will not be allowed in the cave. We want to make sure that everyone is safe as these items could be dropped into the cavern resulting in serious injury to another guest. Guests with special needs may bring necessary items at the discretion of the supervisor on duty. Our first-aid kits inside the cavern contain water for emergency purposes.

Spiral Tour
Cameras are welcome as long as they include a wrist strap. While using your camera, please make sure you have it attached to yourself via your wrist strap. If you get some really good photos, we’d like to see them, and may feature them on our website! Just e-mail them in JPEG format to PR@MoaningCaverns.com. Don’t forget to include your name(s), and some comments on your visit. Flashes are necessary for good pictures.

Expedition Crawling & Spelunking Tour
Cameras are discouraged. THIS IS NOT AN EASY, WALKING TOUR!  It is difficult enough to maneuver without having to constantly deal with carrying a camera. If you feel that you would like to bring one anyway, a disposable flash camera is recommended. The guide will make the final decision as to whether a camera will be permitted or not.

Spiral Tour
Regardless of the outside temperature and weather, the cavern environment is a constant 61°F/16°C with mild to high humidity. In addition to the warm conditions, you will warm up going down and then back up the 235 steps. Most people are fine in short sleeves and shorts. However, those who get cold easily may want to bring a sweater or light jacket.

Expedition Crawling & Spelunking Tour
Requires special clothing and gear. THIS IS NOT AN EASY, WALKING TOUR!  This information is given to you when you make a reservation, however you can see more here in the Expedition Preparation Guide.

To receive a group rate, groups must meet 4 requirements:

  • Have the minimum number of people.
    • For the Expedition Tour, the minimum is 8 people.
    • For all other activities, the minimum is 15 people.
  • Pay for everyone in one transaction. If payments need to be made by individuals, then it will be at full price. People who add on later will be at full price.
  • Groups who pay a 25% deposit can pay the balance due in one transaction and still get the discount.
  • Make a reservation.
  • Gift shop with snacks & drinks, nature, science & souvenir oriented merchandise
  • Restrooms
  • Picnic Tables
  • Gemstone Mining

In our conservation efforts, we do not allow any food, drinks, gum, tobacco or smoking in the cavern. It only takes a small amount of these foreign materials to make a big difference to the cavern environment. However, if a visitor needs to bring a small, unopened pack of food for health purposes they can get it approved by their guide.

Visit our Hours and Directions web page HERE for hours of operation and directions.

Lots of information is available in the AOPA’s Airport Directory. In addition, we have compiled some information here, to help you navigate to our locations. Under some circumstances, we may be able to pick you up from the airport to participate in an expedition – ask our reservations specialist when you call to make your reservations.

Moaning Cavern (N 38° 4, W 120° 28)

The closest international airport to Moaning Cavern is Sacramento International Airport (N 38° 41.72, W 121° 35.44)   916-929-5411

Placerville Airport (N 38° 43.45, W 120° 45.19) 530-622-0459
Taxis:
Hangtown Taxi                    530-748-8294
Gold Rush Taxi                    530-651-4653
Amador Shuttle Service     209-271-7783

Car Rental:
Enterprise                              530-621-0866
_____

Westover Field, Jackson (N 38° 22.6, W 120° 47.63)  209-223-2376
Taxi:
Pioneer Cab Co                     209-223-3335

Car Rental:
Enterprise                              209-223-4200
_____

San Andreas Airport (N 38° 8.76, W 120° 38.89)  209-736-2501
Taxis:
Murphy’s Taxi                       209-795-7777
Copper Cab                            209-785-7433
_____

Columbia Airport (N 38° 1.82, W 120° 24.87) 209-533-5685
Taxis:
City Cab                                  209-694-8294
Frontier Cab                          209-228-2900

Car Rentals:
Enterprise                             209-533-0500
Hertz                                      209-588-1575
_____

Oakdale Airport (N 37° 45.38, W 120° 48.01)  209-845-3600
Taxis:
United Cab of Oakdale       209-847-8294
Red Top                                 209-836-4340

Car Rentals:
Enterprise                             209-845-1121
_____

Modesto Airport (N 37° 37.54, W 120° 57.26)   209-577-5318

Taxis:
A Metro Taxi                         209-222-2222
Modesto United Cab           209-888-8888

Car Rentals:
Avis                                         209-527-7223 or 209-491-9302
Enterprise                             209-491-0400
_____

Central Valley Airports – located about 1-1/2 hours from Moaning Cavern:
_____

Stockton Metropolitan Airport (N 37° 53.64, W 121° 14.29)  209-468-4700
Taxis:
Yellow Cab                             209-466-8294
Stockton Taxi Cab                209-612-3030

Car Rentals:
Hertz                                       209-460-0780 or 209-478-9800
_____

Tracy Municipal Airport (N 37° 41.34, W 121° 26.50)  209-831-6262
Taxis:
Yellow Cab                            209-830-9999
Red Top Taxi                        209-836-4340
Tracy Taxi                             209-833-8294

Car Rentals:
Enterprise                             209-835-3600

 

Car Rental Main Branch Phone Numbers
Avis               (Reservations) 800-230-4898,    (Customer Service) 800-352-7900
Alamo           (Reservations) 800-651-1223,    (Customer Service) 800-233-8749
Enterprise.   (Reservations) 855-266-9289,    (Customer Service) 855-266-9565
Hertz             (Reservations) 800-654-3131,    (Customer Service) 800-657-4178

For regular pricing please visit the Cave Tour page, and the Attractions and Activities  page. For the latest promotions please go to the Deals and Events page.

Groups such as schools or scouts, must make a reservation for the Spiral Tours or Zip Line in order to qualify for discounted prices. 
Reservations are always required for the Expedition Tour.

Reservations cannot be guaranteed to be held unless prepaid. Reservations can be made at any time, however keep in mind that tours can sell out. Therefore, the more in advance the better. Please click here to choose a tour and make reservations.

When making reservations please be ready with the following information:

  • Which tour you want
  • Several possible dates, in case your first choice(s) is not available
  • Number of people, including how many adults and children
  • Additional activities you want to reserve if applicable (ie gemstone mining)
  • Estimated arrival time
  • Group name, contact name, mailing address and phone number
The highways in the foothills are 2-lane roads. They are just like all the other country roads – going up and down hills, stop signs/lights here and there, and can be quite curvy at times.
Moaning Cave Rd. is also a 2-lane road. Buses and other large trucks/RVs do just fine. The cavern is below the snow line, so winter weather does not affect the roads. The parking lot is a large, gravel lot.

A cavern is a natural environment. In order to allow visitors to experience the cavern, some development is needed to make it accessible. In an effort to preserve the cavern for the use and enjoyment of future generations, some areas have been left untouched. Therefore, visitors on the walking tour may experience conditions such as low ceilings, narrow passages, and wet, muddy, slippery & uneven walkways. Please use your own discretion if you have health or emotional problems, or are claustrophobic.

Spiral Tour
The Spiral Tour consists of 235 steps with handrails, all of which must be walked twice; first down, then up – 100 vertical feet of which takes place on a spiral staircase. This tour is not recommended for people with heart conditions, claustrophobia or a fear of heights.

Expedition Crawling & Spelunking Tour
We provide trained expedition guides. THIS IS NOT AN EASY, WALKING TOUR!  It is a high-adventure activity in a natural environment with inherent dangers including, but not limited to slippery surfaces, dislodged rocks, and improper use of equipment that no amount of care, caution, instruction, or expertise can eliminate. All participants are required to sign a release and waiver of liability, assumption of risk and indemnity agreement. We do not recommend these activities to people with heart conditions, claustrophobia or a fear of heights.

Spiral Tours 1 – 35 per tour
Expedition Crawling & Spelunking Tours 2 – 8 per trip

Spiral Tour
No equipment or specialty gear is needed for our Spiral Tour. We do, however, recommend you wear shoes with good traction (no flipflops, etc.) for negotiating all the steps and the naturally wet and rocky ground.

Expedition Crawling & Spelunking Tour
We provide a helmet with light, gloves and knee/elbow pads. Participants may provide their own equipment if it meets our standards.

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