hiking
2 months ago

The Leviathan Cave trail is located in the remote Worthington Mts. Wilderness, and has had its share of Search & Rescue interventions for the foolhardy and unprepared. The hike up begins as a fairly well-marked path switchbacking through pinyon-juniper forest. There are free primitive campsites near the trailhead. As the trail ascends it gets steeper and may be a scramble in places, particularly if snow drifts are present. It is a steep ascent of over 2000 ft, but not too brutal, unless you insist on going in the summer heat. Do yourself a favor and go in the fall or late spring, and bring at least 2 liters of water per person. Nearer the top you will be hiking past limestone bluffs and stands of gnarled limber and bristlecone pine. From the summit the views are amazing, but the path to the cave is not well marked. If you are determined to find the cave, you will figure out how to get there, but that's all the hints I'll give. If interested in caving, contact your local chapter of the National Speleological Association (google it) before visiting a cave like this. The cave is fantastic, and contains many delicate formations that can be easy destroyed by the careless. Protection of this cave has been an ongoing debate between the caving community and the BLM, with many advocating a locked gate and permit system to prevent destruction by vandals. If set on entering the cave there is a 15-20 ft fixed rope to climb, and bring a climbing helmet for loose rock and ceiling projections and 3 sources of light. Bring gloves to protect the cave as touching formations damages them, and remember that damaging/defacing or removing cave formations on public lands carries stiff fines and jail time.