Caving Links

Becoming a part of the Colorado and the national caving communities provides access to information about caves and caving, and a network of cavers.

Learn more about caves and caving from these links:

  • National Speleological Society – chartered in 1941, the Huntsville, Alabama-based Society includes more than 9,000 cavers in all 50 states. The Society publishes the monthly NSS News, the scientific Journal of Caves & Karst Studies, the annual Member’s Manual and special publications like the Caver’s Digest. The Society also hosts an annual member’s convention, two of which have been held in Colorado, 1996 and 2011, the latter being held in Glenwood Springs. Local chapters of the Society are called grottoes, of which Colorado has several.
  • Colorado Cave Survey – Colorado-based member organization of the National Speleological Society. This organization, of which the Colorado Western Slope Grotto is a member, works closely with private and public land owners in Colorado in management and access to caves. Access to Colorado’s longest, Groaning Cave, is through the Survey access coordinators. The Survey also manages access to Deep Creek’s LaSunder Cave, owned by the Bureau of Land Management, and to the privately-owned Fly and Marble Caves near Canon City. The Survey membership also works with public land owners in cave management and scientific studies, and with issues important to cave owners.
  • Rocky Mountain Region – National Speleological Society grottoes in Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, Nebraska, South Dakota and Montana are all part of the Society’s Rocky Mountain Region. The region annually hosts a regional gathering in one of the states, usually during the summer season. Such regionals offer caving opportunities, an annual banquet and program, and time for fellowship with cavers throughout the region. Sometimes, regionals offer special events, from special access to commercial caves to geology tours of the area to raffles. Regionals often offer guidebooks for participants of area caves, and sometimes t-shirts and other clothing.
  • Colorado Cave Rescue Network – Volunteer organization supporting cave rescue, providing cave rescue training, and promoting caver safety awareness in Colorado. Hosts annual caver training session alternating between Glenwood Caverns at Glenwood Springs and Cave of the Winds at Manitou Springs, Colorado.
  • Williams Canyon Project – National Speleological Society project at the commercially-operated Cave of the Winds and Williams Canyon at Manitou Springs, Colorado. Chartered in 1989, the project has managed access and science, exploration, digging, conservation and survey in the more than 80 known caves in the canyon. The Colorado Western Slope Grotto is a member of the project.
  • Timberline Grotto – Glenwood Springs – Eagle based chapter of the National Speleological Society. Hosts annual caver weekend on the White River Plateau.
  • Colorado Grotto – Colorado’s oldest chapter of the National Speleological Society, chartered in 1951. The grotto is also Colorado’s largest chapter, with more than 100 members. Meets monthly in Denver.
  • Front Range Grotto – Northglenn, Colorado based chapter of the National Speleological Society. Originally the Colorado School of Mines Student Grotto, later the Colorado Mines Grotto. Meets monthly.
  • Southern Colorado Mountain Grotto – Colorado Springs based chapter of the National Speleological Society. Meets monthly in Colorado Springs.
  • Northern Colorado Grotto – Fort Collins/Loveland based chapter of the National Speleological Society. Meetings alternate between the cities at member’s homes. Originally the Colorado State University Student Grotto.
  • Red Canyon Grotto – Colorado’s newest grotto, located in Canon City. Hosts monthly meetings.
  • Rocky Mountain Caving – State caving journal for Colorado. Published quarterly since 1984. Print and digital subscriptions are available.
  • Glenwood Caverns – Commercially-operated cave on Iron Mountain at Glenwood Springs. Formerly known as Fairy Cave; opened in 1891, closed in 1917, reopened in 1999. Cavers with the Fairy Caves Project are allowed access to non-commercial sections of the cave and other smaller caves on the property.
  • Cave of the Winds – Commercially-operated cave in Williams Canyon, north of Manitou Springs, Colorado. Opened in July 1880, re-opened in March 1881. Owner of more than 80 caves in the canyon, including the former commercial caves, Manitou Grand Caverns (now shown in candle lantern tours), Manitou Cave and Colorado’s first commercial Cave, Huccacove Cave (shown 1875-1880 as Mammoth Cave).
  • Yampah Spa Hot Spring Vapor Caves – Commercially-operated natural steam-filled vapor caves at Glenwood Springs. Opened in 1893.
  • Rifle Falls State Park – State Park north of Rifle contains several natural caves in travertine that are open to the public for exploration. Fees apply for visitation.
  • US Forest Service Region 2 – Access policies and trip registration for caving trips to US Forest Service caves in Colorado. All trips into caves must register prior to the trip using a free emailed PDF form. Information about White Nose Syndrome and caver and gear decontamination. Some USFS Colorado caves have seasonal visitation restrictions owing to bat activities.
  • Bureau of Land Management Colorado – Access policies and regulations to Bureau of Land Management owned caves in Colorado. White Nose Syndrome policies and procedures.
  • Orient Mine – Colorado’s largest known bat colony in the San Luis Valley lives seasonally in the abandoned Colorado Fuel & Iron mine. Access to the mine and associated natural caves is currently closed owing to concern about White Nose Syndrome.

Main Elk Creek Canyon

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