Ledgemere Picnic Area near the base of Big Cottonwood Canyon has a cool cave. It’s man made, but pretty big and fun to explore!
To get there begin at the Ledgemere Picnic Area. There is free parking across the street or if you want to bring a picnic, you can pay the $10 day use (or bring your National Parks Pass).
You can go over the upper or lower bridge. Either way it’s nice to see the stream.
There are several picnic tables and even some double sites.
Head west towards the entrance of the canyon. When you are about ten feet from the last table, look to your left.
You will see a fallen log with a super cool texture.
About 20 feet off the paved path you can see the cave entrance. In the photo below the entrance is somewhat hidden in the shadows.
You have to crawl for about three feet to get inside, but then it opens up and you can stand easily. I am standing, looking back towards the entrance.
It’s clearly an old mining tunnel, but I couldn’t find specific information for it. There were several historic mines in Big and Little Cottonwood Canyon. The main shaft goes back at least 40 feet.
It has a few off-shoots, but most of them are short. Here is one just inside the cave.
You’ll want to come prepared with a flashlight or headlamp. You could probably get away with a cell phone flashlight, but visibility will be better with something brighter.
Can you see that I am standing in shallow water? With the rocks I wasn’t actually getting wet, but I probably would have if I went in even farther. If you really plan to explore it, wear sturdy shoes that can get wet. Here is a look further into the shaft. You can see there has been a bit of graffiti. Please leave no trace when you visit.
Stats: Distance – 0.1 miles round trip
Approximate hiking time – 10-15 minutes
Elevation gain – 8 feet
Difficulty – Easy
Trail – paved, dirt and rocks
Bathrooms – Yes
Seasons to hike – Year-round
Permits needed – None to see the cave, $10 or National Parks Pass to picnic or park at Ledgemere
Pets allowed – No
For more caves see this post.