The Lake Shasta Caverns in Lakehead, California, is a system of caves made of limestone. It attracts visitors year-round thanks to its natural beauty and peaceful environment. In the caverns are natural formations, such as flowstone and calcite, that tell much of the history of Northern California. These caverns have been around for millions of years but were only discovered in 1878 by J.A. Richardson. Its original name, which came from Spencer Fullerton Baird, was Baird Cave and Chalk Cave.


In May 2012, the Lake Shasta Caverns received the distinction of being a National Natural Landmark. Apart from developing the pathways within the caves and the trails, much of this property remains untouched.

Why Lake Shasta Is Worth Visiting

The Lake Shasta Caverns is a natural haven. It is the perfect weekend activity for the entire family. Even those traveling alone might get a kick out of the tranquility amid the beautiful landscapes. It’s a formidable alternative to the usual beach and hiking trip. This trip offers an exploration of a geologic phenomenon—the Lake Shasta Caverns—which formed from the flow of water.

A regular trip typically involves a 2-hour tour of the caverns. The administrators plan everything at Lake Shasta Caverns. Upon purchasing tickets, visitors will line up to take the catamaran and bus rides to the caverns. They then take a guided tour, in which a trained and knowledgeable staff member informs visitors of the site’s history and wonders.

Within just 2 hours, visitors will see first-hand the magnificence of the Lake Shasta Caverns! It is a relatively quick trip. Visitors may include other stops on their journey to make the most out of their stay.

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Activities At Lake Shasta

  • Two-hour guided tour - Get to know the Lake Shasta Caverns in this property tour, including the bus and a catamaran ride.
  • Tour group - for groups of 20 people or more. Lake Shasta Caverns staff can customize a program to fit the needs of the group.
  • School groups - for groups of 10 or more students from second to sixth grade. Aside from the tour, students can use the underground classroom. Lake Shasta Caverns staff can work together with teachers to customize an educational program for the students.
  • Catamaran rentals - available for dinners and private events for up to 50 people.

What You’ll See

Visitors will get to see many animals in their natural habitat during that quick ride to the caverns. Aside from the breathtaking mountain and lake views, the unspoiled natural environment provides the perfect place for these animals to settle. Some of these animals include:

  • Bald eagles
  • Black bears
  • Mountain lions

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Explore the Area

Other famous natural sights surround lake Shasta Caverns in upstate California.

Be sure to visit them before or after the scheduled tour of the Lake Shasta Caverns:

  • Shasta Dam
  • Lassen Volcanic National Park
  • The Sundial Bridge
  • McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park
  • Whiskeytown Lake
  • Castle Crags State Park

Access To Lake Shasta

Visitors must go to the Visitor Center in Redding, CA, before heading out to the caverns. From the Visitor Center, visitors will take a 10-minute catamaran ride through Shasta Lake, then take a bus ride going up a mountain, which ends at the entrance. Guides will meet visitors at the entry. They will oversee taking them through the tour.

Use Caution

It is best to go to the Lake Shasta Caverns when the weather is good. Try not to go after it rains or when there’s a chance of rain because the pathways can become slippery, making it dangerous for the elderly and children. Also, those recovering from injuries with joint pains, heart conditions, claustrophobia, fear of heights, and motion sickness should give it plenty of thought before deciding to go. Not only will a tour require visitors to climb up hundreds of steps, but they will also go deep inside caverns.

Adverse weather conditions may cause the cancellation of tours. Families should avoid bringing strollers, large bags, and pets (service pets are allowed). It is best to pack light on a 2-hour tour of the Lake Shasta Caverns.

Lake Shasta Costs

Here are the entrance fees for the Lake Shasta Caverns:

  • $26 per person ages 16 and up
  • $15 per person ages 3-15

Tickets can be purchased online and at the main gift store of the Lake Shasta Caverns. Online tickets are limited and run out fast on holidays and weekends. Purchase tickets online before getting in touch directly with the Lake Shasta Caverns to inquire about group tours. The fee includes the boat ride and bus ride to the entrance.

Where To Stay

Those who plan to explore other sites in Upstate California may want to book a stay in one of the hotels in the area. Here are some options:

  • Sheraton Redding Hotel at the Sundial Bridge / Cost: from $239
  • Comfort Suites Redding – Shasta Lake / Cost: from $157
  • Travelodge by Wyndham Redding CA / Cost: from $122

Exploring the Lake Shasta Caverns is a great weekend activity for the family. It’s a simple, straightforward activity that does not require much preparation since Lake Shasta Caverns plans everything. A tour of the Caverns does not take an entire day, so the whole group can move on to exploring other natural sites in Northern California.

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