Vallecito outdoor recreation is dominated by the spectacular geology housing an abundance of nature. Rolling hills hiding deep caves, spectacular mountain rivers, and volcanic buttes are all part of the scenery here.

Vallecito Outdoor Recreation: Moaning Cavern Adventure Park

Moaning Cavern Adventure Park | Dave Bunnell

Exiting the Adventure Trip | Dave Bunnell

Nowhere is the fascinating geology of the region more on display than at Moaning Cavern with its giant flowstones, stalactites and stalagmites, developed over millennia by mineral-rich water dripping into the hidden depths. Here, you can actually enter the limestone bedrock and descend deeper than in any other cave in California. In fact, this cave is large enough to hold the entire Statue of Liberty. And if you’re up for more than a walk tour, here you can also take a  3-hour Adventure Trip with crawling, climbing and squeezing through the wild areas of the cave provides additional thrills to anyone seeking a high adrenaline experience.

Vallecito Outdoor Recreation: Zip Lines

Happy Kids on Vacation : Tandem Zip at Moaning Cavern Adventure Park

Tandem Zip at Moaning Cavern Adventure Park

Soar high above the foothills at Moaning Cavern Adventure Park on their twin zip lines where you can race a friend. Even your youngsters can get in on the action, because here, they offer a tandem zip for parent and child for a maximum combined weight of 280 lbs.

Vallecito Outdoor Recreation: Natural Bridges Day Use Area

Natural Bridges | Dave Bunnell

A view from inside Natural Bridges | Dave Bunnell

Natural Bridges is a magical geological formation – a creek-fed cave you can swim through. The hike down and back is just under one mile, and the destination, so much fun. Bring your own inflatables to float on the water, wade or swim. This feature is very popular with families. If you’re visiting in the summer, we recommend a mid-week visit. Holiday weekends tend to be very crowded. Sorry, no dogs allowed on this trail. As usual, please follow our Hop Lightly guidelines when visiting our wilderness areas so we keep Calaveras beautiful.

Vallecito Outdoor Recreation: Camp Nine

Vallecito: Camp 9

Stanislaus River at Camp Nine | Photo: srsmedly

Camp Nine is another day use area, that includes a large swimming hole on the Stanislaus River – there are no amenities here, so treat this like real wilderness and please follow our Hop Lightly guidelines. To get there, you will drive along an unmaintained road that twists and turns, following the course of the Stanislaus River for 9 miles. When you come to the end, you will need to cross a footbridge and hike about half a mile to get to the swimming hole.

Vallecito Outdoor Recreation: Close to Arnold

Ebbetts Pass National Scenic Byway

Giant sequoias at Calaveras Big Trees State Park | Lisa Boulton

Vallecito is only about 15 minutes’ drive to Arnold where you can enjoy higher elevation outdoor recreation including the Arnold Rim Trail, White Pines Lake and Calaveras Big Trees State Park.

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