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Cowboy Cave
Red Rock Canyon NCA, Nevada
April 24, 2014

Having the morning free, I asked my Las Vegas friend Shin to suggest a short trip with a short drive. He came up with Cowboy Cave in Blue Diamond Hill. So we saddled up and headed to the trailhead at Cowboy Trail Rides. We started walking up a dirt road. When the road ended at the mouth of a huge canyon, we took a well-worn path. After hiking less than a mile, we arrived at the entrance of a limestone cave and dropped down a small opening. (The route is described on Jim Boone's Page).

We found ourselves in the main chamber: 20 feet high, 30 feet wide, and 60 feet long at its largest points. It's possible to explore further using small tunnels, so we did. Having visited the cave before, Shin was familiar with its layout and led me deep inside.

Sadly, vandals have heaped abuse on the cave. Thousands of small stalactites must have hung from the ceiling at one time, but nearly all appeared to have been broken off. Walls and columns were spray painted. Parts of the ceiling were blackened from fires. Broken glass littered the floor. However, after searching in deeper recesses of the cave we were able to find a few formations that appeared untouched.

It was my first time in a cave this size. I was shocked by the ravages of course, but I enjoyed crawling and scrambling deep in the rock with only a headlamp to cut through the blackness. We spent an hour exploring before emerging from the cave. The bright sunlight stung our eyes and we quickly put on our sunglasses. Then we continued up the canyon. There's another, smaller cave and we explored that too.

Our cave adventure began on a road

The road ends and we followed a trail into the canyon

Cowboy Cave is in the left canyon

Unseen from below, the cave entrance is high up the left wall

Heading up to the entrance

The cave entrance is carefully marked

Past the entrance the cave opens up

Heading deeper into the cave

We had to bend down to cross this chamber

Climbing down here was tricky because the rock was rather smooth

Another chamber in the cave

It's a tight squeeze here so we removed our packs to get through

Cave bacon (really, that's what it's called!)

One of several columns

The ceiling was covered with small stalactites. Unlike these ones, most
appeared to have been completely broken off.

These stalactites looked intact

View outside the cave entrance. Below is the approach trail while above is Bridge Mountain.

On the way up to the upper cave we had to scramble up this steep wall

Continuing up the canyon to the upper cave

Entrance to the upper cave

Inside the upper cave

Exploring deeper

The cave shows fewer signs of vandalism

The low ceiling of this chamber reduces it to a crawl space

Above the upper cave entrance, the canyon appears worth exploring

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