Pets allowed
Allowed
Elevation Gain
318.00 ft (96.93 m)
Trail type
There-and-back
Distance
1.40 mi (2.25 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

A short there-and-back hike perfect for a sweltering summer day, Natural Bridges Caverns is located in Gold Country, about 90 miles southeast of Sacramento. Fantastic and hidden, the cavern is open to the public 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Unlike many caves in the U.S. that require reservations and guides, this spot is off the radar. 

The unexpected and unique geologic wonder of Natural Bridges is astounding given the minimal length of the approach. The hike to the cave is an easy jaunt down a curved trail, and over a few rocks, with an option to traverse the river's beaches. Ascending back to the trailhead from the cavern is less than a 1-mile hike back up with no extremely steep areas.

Families, young adults, and children are all welcome to this spot as it is approachable with little effort and some drinking water (especially on those hot days). The water in the cavern is deep but swimmable, and cold but manageable. Bring some snacks for a picnic, listen to the soothing nature surrounding you, and don't forget to pack out anything you brought (and perhaps anything someone else forgot to pack out as well).

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Spring
Summer
Fall

Congestion

High

Parking Pass

None

Open Year-round

Yes

Pros

Family friendly. Unique landscapes. Short approach. Beautiful scenery.

Cons

Crowded. No toilets at destination. Fragile ecosystem. No trash cans.

Trailhead Elevation

1,502.00 ft (457.81 m)

Highest point

1,502.00 ft (457.81 m)

Net Elevation Gain

318.00 ft (96.93 m)

Features

Near lake or river
Historically significant
Waterfalls
Wildlife
Family friendly
Geologically significant
Cave
Wildflowers

Typically multi-day

No

Permit required

No

Location

Field Guide

Nearby Adventures

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