Caverns of Sonora, a family-owned attraction in west Texas, is a National Natural Landmark due in part to the phenomenal display of speleothems known as “helictites” and in particular “bladed helictites,” rare and beautiful cave formations. It is considered a world-class cave because of its stunning array of calcite crystal formations.
|Calcite crystal formations. (Wikipedia)|
The founder of the National Speleological Society, Bill Stephenson, said of the cave after his first visit: “This is the most indescribably beautiful cave in the world, its beauty cannot be exaggerated, not even by a Texan,” according to a post on Wikipedia.
History of the cave: The Mayfield family began its ranching operations in Sonora, Texas, around the turn of the 20th Century. An opening in the rocks was found in the southern part of the ranch when a dog chased a raccoon into this 20-inch opening. Locals began exploring the cave sometime in the early 1920’s. It took another 40 years before the Caverns of Sonora was opened to the public on July 16, 1960.
|Caverns of Sonora Visitors Center. (Julianne G. Crane)|
FYI: “All tours are guided, walking tours. The cave is 71 degrees with a 98-percent humidity level which makes it feel about 85 degrees.
Dress appropriately; no jackets or sweaters are necessary. There are approximately 360 stair steps throughout the tour. Animals are not allowed in the cave, but the Caverns provides free, on-site kennels. These precautions are taken to ensure the safety of guests, as well as the cave itself.”
|RV campground area (Julianne G. Crane)|
The RV and Tent Campground is only a few steps away from the entrance to the Visitors Center. There are 48 RV-tent sites with water and electricity. The night we stayed we were the only ones in the campground. There are about a dozen pull-through sites that can accommodate big rigs.
Due to the presence of the cavern, a dump station is not available; however there are restrooms with flush toilets and showers.
Caverns of Sonora
|Sign at Exit 392 of I-10 (Julianne G. Crane)|
1711 PR 4468 @ I-H10 Exit 392
approximately 8 miles west of Sonora, Texas.
Sonora, Texas 76950
Phone: (325) 387-3105
Open daily except Christmas Day.
Winter: Tuesday after Labor Day-Feb. 28–9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Summer: March 1-Labor Day–8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Tour costs: General: 12 years and up: $20 onsite, or $18 online; Children: 4 – 11: $16; under 4 years: free.
Note from editor: If you go to Sonora, please note the following from Wikipedia: “Sonora is one of the leading speed trap cities in the nation, writing over 48,000 citations per annum, mostly to out-of-state travelers along the I-10 corridor.” You’ve been warned. 😉