Main Loop Trail Stop 11
NPS Photo by Stella Carroll
These cave rooms, classified as cavates (CAVE-eights) by Edgar Lee Hewett, an early archeologist, were dug out of the cliff wall. Even though the tuff is soft it would have been quite a task to carve them using only stone tools. Most cavates had stone rooms built in front of them, such as the one you will see at the next stop. The lower walls of cavates were usually plastered and painted while the ceilings were smoke-blackened. Smoking the ceilings hardened the volcanic tuff and made it less crumbly.
Did You Know?
Western Pygmy Blue butterflies are the smallest butterflies in North America. They have wingspans of just .5 to .6 inches.