California Cavern’s historic lantern tour offers a glimpse into the past of the first cave opened for walk tours in California. This limited availability tour incorporates Registry Hall, which was part of the original trail in 1850, where guests were invited to carve their names into the walls of the chamber. Some notable signatures can be found here – and your guide, dressed in 1850s mining costume, will help you find them.
The entire tour is illuminated by lamplight as each person carries an old-style lantern to negotiate the trail. The soft, low-light produced by the lanterns transports guests back to the mid-1800s by replicating the experience of early visitors to the cavern.
The tour begins with a small set of grinding stones located just outside the cave. Guests then enter the cavern through the original entrance and view chambers that were used for meetings, church services and more. Short readings from historic documents pertaining to the cave’s history and the rare viewing of Registry Hall that designated California Cavern as a State Historic Landmark all add to the uniqueness of this tour into the past.
We highly recommend this tour for adults and children over 8 years old, interested in Native American and Gold Rush history. Space is limited to 15 guests, so reservations are recommended.