0.75 miles each way to cave entrance, then whatever distance you explore undergroundElevation:
Trailhead is at 9,400 feetLocation:
White River National Forest, Eagle County (see directions below)Trailhead:
There's actually a campground here with 7 sites and a pit toilet. Entrance fee:
Free for the cave area.
Alex, Bill & Emily
Sure there are miles and miles of hiking trails in Colorado, but did you know a few trails lead to caves? Colorado is home to more than 100 caves
. There are two commercial caves, Cave of the Winds
in Manitou Springs and Glenwood Caverns
in Glenwood Springs. The rest are called "wild caves."
Some wild caves in Colorado are gated and locked, while others are open to the public. Fulford Cave is not only open to the public, it's on the state highway map and the Forest Service has named a nearby campground after the cave, the Fulford Cave campground
When you arrive at the campground, turn right for the camp sites, turn left for the cave parking area. There's a sign in the parking lot for the trail to Fulford Cave. Follow the trail through the aspen trees. The trail is a beautiful hike. I can only imagine how nice it would be in the fall when the leaves are turning. While this is a pretty hike, it's not easy. The trail has several places where it climbs in elevation and there are several switchbacks. The view on the hike to the Fulford Cave entrance
You'll know when you've reached the cave entrance, there's a sign and there's a metal culvert in the ground. Sometimes the culvert entrance has a cover on it, sometimes the cover is broken. This is where we gear up.
Don't come to a cave in your hiking clothes and think "I'll just pop in." Bring gear, it's worth it. There are several web sites that list what to bring. The basics include 3 sources of light (don't bring just one, batteries die, even fresh batteries in a cold cave), a helmet (even a bike helmet will work), gloves (not cotton gloves, consider rubber gardening gloves), and boots (you will get muddy). You may want to add elbow and knee pads. Remember caves are cold, so bring a jacket, jeans and maybe a hat that will fit under your helmet.
The Forest service web site
says, "This popular cave has a great variety of features to discover and explore. Cave exploration can be exciting, but visitors are reminded that caves can be dangerous and that special equipment is needed for a safe trip."
The culvert by the Fulford sign is the best entrance. There are other entrances to the cave, but you'll need technical gear. The culvert entrance to Fulford cave
The culvert entrance has a ladder inside. It's best to use the ladder like a ladder, face it and climb down. Work your way down slowly, there is one rung missing. At the bottom of the ladder, there is a bit of a drop into the cave. Be careful here, there is a steep slope below the entrance and it can get very slick. Take a moment to look around. You should see a rope you can hold onto as you walk down this slope into the cave.
You'll immediately notice a difference in temperature. It's about 45 degrees in Fulford, even in the summer.
At the bottom of this slope, consider turning off your lights for a minute or two. That will help your eyes adjust to the darkness. Turn your lights back on and you should see better. This is also a good spot to make sure your lights are working well, just in case you need to turn around. Alex, Bill & Emily adjusting their headlights inside the cave
From here, it's time to explore. I've been inside Fulford anywhere from an hour to several hours. I've found dead ends and turned around. I've been inside with experienced cavers who hit dead ends, then found the nook or cranny to crawl through into a different passage or different level. If you have children with you, consider letting them lead the group and see where you end up.
Always look behind you from time to time to see what the passage looks like going out. It's quite a different perspective and will help keep you from getting lost.
Wayne Harrison, the senior news editor for The Denver Channel
and his daughter have been caving for years. Margaret has a great Web site
with lots of information about her caving trips around the state. Margaret has also written a Guide to Fulford Cave
which explains what to look for and where to turn to find your way around the cave.
As we explored, we found not only lots of cave formations, we also found a waterfall! Due to all the snowmelt this year, the waterfall was gushing. Bill and Alex climbed the waterfall while Emily and I stayed behind. Remember, snowmelt is very, very cold. Alex's feet were so cold that when he and Bill came back down, we had to hike back out of the cave really fast to get him outside and warm again.Climbing a waterfall in Fulford cave
For a map of the cave, visit pinecam.com
I am no expert and this company does not take any responsibility for your adventure. Go only as far as you're comfortable and come prepared.
Don't forget to save some energy for the hike back to your car after caving. Fortunately, the hike back is down hill.
As always, if you have questions or comments, I'd love to hear from you, email@example.com
Take I-70 to exit 147/Eagle. Turn left off the highway (from Denver) and follow the signs for "Sylvan Lake State Park." You'll take a couple turns, drive through a housing development, then turn right on Brush Creek Road. Drive 10.1 miles south of Eagle; turn left on the East Brush Creek, FDR 415 and drive 7 miles. The last mile on FDR 415 to the campground is a very narrow and rough rocky road. You'll pass the Sylvan Lake State Park visitor's center, but you don't have to stop here or pay to visit Fulford Cave.
Interested in hiking to another cave? 7NEWS Executive producer Robin Hoffman hiked to Spring Cave in the Flat Tops Wilderness with her family and several dogs, read her report tomorrow on TheDenverChannel.com
Previous hiking reports:(lower elevation hikes have a star)
, Mallory Cave*
, Marshall Mesa
,Heil Valley Ranch*
, South Boulder Peak*
, The Boulder Flatirons*
, Walker Ranch*
, Bear Peak*
, Rabbit Mountain*
, Bald Mountain*
, Betasso Preserve*
, Wonderland Lake*
, Chimney Gulch*
, Apex Park*
, Elk Meadow*
, Chicago Lakes
, Chief Mountain
Rocky Mountain National Park:
, Twin Sisters
, Bierstadt Lake
, Chasm Lake
, Lulu City & Little Yellowstone
, The Loch, Andrew's Glacier
, Sandbeach Lake
Indian Peaks/James Peak Wilderness:
King, Bob & Betty Lakes
, Forest Lakes
, Arapaho Lakes
, Mitchell & Blue Lakes
, James Peak Area
, Heart Lake
, Devil's Backbone*
, Lake Agnes
Summit & Eagle Counties:
, Missouri Lakes
, Mohawk Lakes & Continental Falls
St Louis Lake
, Waterfall At Snow Mountain Ranch
, Granby Ranch
Our Favorite Hikes
, Our Favorite Bike Rides
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