If you’ve never heard of Goshute Cave, then you’ve got to check it out. Think Timpanogos Cave but better! This rugged and primitive cave in Eastern Nevada is like nothing you’ve ever seen before and fun for the whole family. Here’s some tips and tricks to make this adventure a safe and enjoyable one.
Located about an hour and a half from Wendover, it’s just a hop skip and a jump away. This cave offers the skilled and unskilled adventurer plenty of tight passages and wide open spaces. Considered an beginner/intermediate level hike, even our little five-year-old was able to do it. And considering I am seven months pregnant and was still able to do it, I’d say it’s welcome to anyone up for an adventure. Here’s what you’ll need to know:
Bring the right gear for Goshute Cave
Unlike Timpanogos Cave that has an official tour guide, lighted rooms and paved pathways, this cave is completely primitive. It is literally in the middle of a barren wilderness and you are completely on your own. So, bringing the right gear to stay safe is essential. Here’s what you’ll need.
- Headlamps, flashlights and extra batteries
- Pants and long-sleeve shirts
- Climbing rope
- Backpack with lunch/snacks
- Small first aid kit
- Face mask or bandana
- Latex-coated work gloves
I didn’t think I would need a helmet but after I hit a my head a couple of times, I wished I would have brought one. With kids it’s definitely a must. Plus, you’ll be in the cave for at least 2-3 hours, so you’ll want to pack a lunch. The floor on parts of the cave are dusty and a bandana is really helpful so you’re not breathing it in. Also, you’ll definitely want to wear gloves and long pants and long sleeves. You’ll be climbing and crawling around everything. I didn’t bring gloves either and scraped my hands pretty good.
How to get there
Goshute Cave is located in eastern Nevada about an hour and a half drive from Wendover. It rests on the eastern flanks of the Cherry Creek Range in the Goshute Canyon Wilderness about an hour north of Ely, Nevada. If you enter Goshute Cave in your GPS, it will take you straight to the trailhead. There are literally no landmarks, just fields and dirt roads. You will also be driving on a dirt road for a good portion of the way there. If you’re thinking of bringing your motorhome or trailer, I wouldn’t recommend it. The dirt road is bumpy enough that it would be a miserable ride in your motorhome and you might get a flat tire. We stayed in a hotel in Wendover and then headed to the trail the next morning.
Hike to the cave
Once you reach the trailhead, take a picture of the map of the cave. You’ll want to reference the map through the duration of the hike. You’ll have to hike a steep incline to get to the mouth of the cave. It’s about a 1/2 mile up. Right before the very top there’s a section of solid rock. Our entire group was able to climb up it without a problem, even my five year old. But if you’re worried, someone can climb it first and tie a rope at the top to help everyone else up.
Navigating the cave
There are two main sections of the cave. The first section is to the left of the entrance. This section is dry and has a very dusty floor. There are some very large rooms to explore including the Dance Hall. I would recommend heading to the left first. After you’ve explored that section, head to the right of the entrance.
This is the Main Cave. It gradually slopes downward and includes multiple off shoots if you’re feeling daring. Be careful because this section of the cave has a lot of moisture. It can be very slippery. During certain times of the year, you may need to attach a rope at the top so you can pull yourself back up when you’re done.
As you head down the main cave, you’ll first reach The Fountain and then Liberty Bell. There’s a small entrance behind The Fountain that leads to a large corridor and a big cliff 30-foot area that you can climb. There’s even a rope there but I wouldn’t recommend climbing unless you have the correct gear. But it’s spectacular.
After you reach Liberty Bell, continue downward and you’ll reach the end of the Main Cave. However, to the right, you’ll see a small section you can crawl up into. Then you’ll find even more tight spaces and a section that has another rope and a hole just big enough to fit an adult male. I didn’t go on that part, being 7-months pregnant and all. However, I wouldn’t recommend it if you are claustrophobic. Here’s video to see what it’s like:
Admire but don’t touch
The natural limestone in this cave offers the most amazing formations. However, this cave has taken a bit of abuse over the years. As you explore Goshute Cave, admire all of its natural wonders without touching. And make sure you leave no trace that you were ever there. That way, we can continue to enjoy this beauty for years and years to come.
Overall, Goshute Cave is one of the most amazing places that I have ever visited. I would recommend it to anyone! It’s truly an adventure worth taking, even if it is out in the middle of nowhere.
Check out this blog post that gives a lot of helpful info about Goshute Cave as well. What other places do you recommend for an adventure in Utah? Leave your comments below.
Related link: The spectacular family-friendly hikes in Escalante, Utah