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Pluto’s Cave Trail – Mount Shasta Wilderness
Location: Montague, CA
Length: 0.5 to 1 mile
Features: Hiking trails, backpacking, cave, bird watching, dogs allowed, wildlife observation, wilderness
About the Pluto’s Cave
A less traveled and also less known series of ancient lava tubes are found in the Shasta Valley on the north side of Mount Shasta. As the northern reaches of the Cascade Range were coming into being and Mount Shasta was erupting, the tubes took form about 190,000 years ago. While there are cave-ins along the first stretch of the main tunnel, if you are courageous enough and have brought proper gear, you will be able to travel almost 2 miles to the final segment. However, there is no exit and you have to work your way back out.
Trails In The Mount Shasta Wilderness
Walking on dry high desert sand through desert shrubbery is the trail to reach the Pluto’s cave. While on the way, a few distinct flowers that may be in bloom and fantastic views of Mount Shasta may be viewed in the distance. And while seeing wildlife in their natural habitat is a cool experience, avoid disturbing them as much as possible. The entrance to Pluto Cave is a huge dark hole that leads under the ground. The entrance is also surprisingly high, almost 40 feet perhaps, which is further accentuated by the cave’s downward angle.
Top 3 Adventure Hacks
1) Wear Proper Footwear
The Pluto cave can be slippery, so it is highly suggested to wear proper footwear if you want to explore the cave. Try to wear cave-friendly footwear to avoid unwanted accidents that may cause serious injuries.
2) Bring Flashlights
There is literally no light inside Pluto’s Cave, so it is essential to bring not only one flashlight but a couple more. You will also be warned beforehand that he darkness inside the cave is absolute that if one attempts to explore it without any lighting, it will be incredibly difficult to get out.
3) Wear Appropriate Safety Gear
The best way to explore Pluto’s cave is to explore it with safety and precaution. Before you give yourself the go signal, think about the “peaks and valleys” of the location.