I live in Houston and have worked as a nurse. I have a lifelong passion for traveling, nature, and photography (preferably all together!).
The "Crystalline Butterfly"
The butterfly pictured above has been a trademark for the Caverns of Sonora since 1960. It truly looks like a butterfly has alighted upon the crystallized walls of the cavern. Its fluttering wings have been frozen for all eternity in a wide open pose.
These caverns are privately owned, and the owners are ranchers. They offer private tours to visitors.
The location of this cave, with its awe-inspiring and stunningly beautiful natural creations, is in the southwestern part of Texas just eight miles west of Sonora. One can access the caverns by taking exit 392 off of Interstate 10. Please join us on this photographic tour of one of the Texas sites well worth a visit.
A longtime girlfriend from Germany and I had started our trek heading west from Houston on vacation one year. Our goal was to view national parks, state parks and other scenic points of interest.
As we passed San Antonio on Interstate 10 and continued westward we started seeing numerous ads for the Caverns of Sonora. We were making pretty good time on the road and decided that we could spare an hour or so to take a look and discover what this cavern beneath the surface of the ground had to offer.
Touring the Caverns of Sonora
These caverns are not the largest of caves by any measure, but they are strikingly attractive and well illuminated. People may enjoy viewing the many different formations via a closer perspective.
Other than some necessary stair climbing both up and down, most of the cave had level pathways with railings for safety on the regular guided two-hour tour. Initially one climbs down 50 feet from the surface before hitting level pathways. There are four levels and seven miles of guided passages.
Stalactites hang down from the ceiling and are continually growing. Stalagmites are also growing up from the floor. Sometimes the stalactites and stalagmites are both collectively referred to with the name dripstone. It has taken millions of years to develop what can now be viewed inside of these caverns.
The cave is chock full of interesting and different types of shapes and forms to tickle the imagination. Several looked just like slices of bacon.
Another grouping looked like a spilled bucket of popcorn littering the floor. Tree-like structures add interest. At one point it looks like people are walking into the belly of a whale!
One can imagine a lions tail dangling down from the ceiling. Imagination is stretched to the limit in describing all of the interesting clusters of naturally occurring designs found inside the Caverns of Sonora.
The caves were discovered by accident back in the 1940s. The official opening of the caverns was on July 28, 1960. By 1980 tours were being led and since that time countless people have come from all over to personally see the beauty that presents itself inside.
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Above Ground at the Caverns
Above the cave grounds, picnic tables are placed, and we took advantage of using them for our lunch. On the other side of the fence, we saw a large herd of grazing cattle.
The caverns are open year round. There are RV and tent campsites available for those wishing to spend a bit more time in this area.
Intimate Cave Experience
We would later get to see Carlsbad Caverns National Park. It is vast and has huge chambers in comparison to this more intimate cave.
If you like seeing things up close and personal, then the Caverns of Sonora will satisfy you. It is truly a sparkling gem among many grand Texas sites worth visiting. Be sure to take your camera!
See additional photos below that were taken on our visit to this particular cave.
Off-Trail Adventure at Caverns of Sonora
For those who are in good shape and wish to explore these caverns even more intimately by climbing, crawling, and rappelling, there is a four-hour off-trail tour that will be right up your alley so to speak. My friend and I chose the shorter walking tour instead. Watch the video below to see parts of the discovery challenge tour.
The people who produced this beautiful video titled it "the most beautiful cave in the USA". It is well worth watching!
Location of These Caverns
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2009 Peggy Woods