Fulford Cave, about 15 miles southeast of Eagle, has been a popular destination for adventure seekers since an expedition led by geologist Ferdinand Hayden discovered the cave in 1874. It is one of several hundred caves in Colorado, and it is designated as the eighth largest.
The .7-mile trek up to the cave begins at the Fulford Cave Campground and ascends up switchbacks through a forest of aspen and pine before arriving at the entrance. Upon arriving, hikers will see a sign for Fulford Cave and a narrow culvert to climb down into.
Some may say that cave exploration, also known as spelunking, can be dangerous, but the reward outweighs the risk if you are properly prepared. Keep in mind the temperature inside the cave is 40 degrees, and hypothermia is a possibility if extra layers are not worn. Wearing a helmet is also necessary before navigating the low ceilings and tight spaces of the cave. It is also recommended to bring at least three light sources because the cave is 100% light free. Footwear with good tread will help grip on the wet, slippery rocks below.
The Forest Service requires online registration as well as decontamination protocol to prevent white-nose syndrome, which has killed over 5 million bats in eastern North America since 2006. The fungus can be brought in on clothing and equipment on humans who have been in states where WNS is found.
With decontamination and safety protocol in place, Fulford Cave is a geological wonder worth checking out. Once inside, the cavern twists and turns, has multiple levels to explore, and features endless geologic shapes and textures to marvel over. Carry a map and retrace your steps to return back out of the cave.
Note: The cave is closed from October 15 through April 15 during the bat’s hibernation period.