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Shoshone Cavern





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Glimpses of Our
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Shoshone cavern.
Photo by F. J. Hiscock

The entrance to Shoshone Cavern, high up near the summit of Cedar Mountain, overlooking the Shoshone River and the Cody entrance road to Yellowstone National Park, is very picturesque. It is the sort of cave opening that one reads about in story books, being located among rugged cliffs, with pine trees scattered here and there among the rocks. The entrance is about 20 feet wide and 6 feet high, and is in a fractured zone in a massive bed of limestone.

The main cavern follows a fairly straight course, as though located in a large fault in the rock and extends into the mountain about 2,500 feet. There are a few side passages, but all are believed to be short, although as yet these have not been fully explored. Entering the cavern, one soon comes to two descending ladders; then after following the descending floor of the cave, two more ladders are reached, and finally a fifth ladder. At the foot of this ladder the passage turns toward the slope of the mountain, but still continues to descend. The air is very clear and the ventilation is good throughout.

The walls of the cavern are well covered by incrustations of crystals and dripping formations, mostly white, but some brownish or reddish in color. Some of the crystals are sharp and pointed, others resemble rock candy, and some of the formations are curious. The cavern is lacking in large stalactites and stalagmites, but is extremely interesting, as is any large subterranean passage. The rooms of the cave are not of great size, the largest being perhaps 40 feet wide, with a low ceiling about 8 feet high. At other points the openings run up to 50 feet or more, but the walls are only a few feet apart.

The Shoshone Cavern is located about 4 miles from Cody, on the south side of the Shoshone River. The automobile road from Cody to Yellowstone National Park passes within about a mile of the cavern. From this road visitors proceed for half a mile along a level trail on the rim of the river canyon, and then a switchback trail is reached leading up the mountain. The trail traverses a picturesque canyon, narrow and wooded, and ends at the foot of two ladders which reach the entrance of the cave. The length of the switch back trail is about a half mile and the elevation climbed is nearly a thousand feet. A visit to the cave may be made in from four to six hours from Cody, and the visitor is well repaid for the time and effort. Cody is reached by the Burlington Railroad, and is on the direct route of the National Park-to-Park Highway. The Cody or eastern entrance is perhaps the most popular automobile entrance to Yellowstone.

The monument, which covers an area of 210 acres, was created September 21, 1909.

At present the monument is not open to visitors.


Last Modified: Thurs, Oct 19 2000 10:00:00 pm PDT

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