7 Ways to Go Underground in California

California is renowned for its sunny beaches, picturesque mountains, and diverse cities. However, there are also numerous intriguing underground attractions to discover in the Golden State. From natural wonders to human-made marvels, here are seven ways to explore the underground in California.

1. Lava Beds National Monument

Situated in the northeastern corner of California, Lava Beds National Monument boasts over 700 caves formed by volcanic eruptions over the past half-million years. You can hike, camp, and explore these lava tubes, ranging from easy to challenging. Among the most popular caves are Golden Dome, Skull Cave, and Valentine Cave.

2. Forestiere Underground Gardens

In the early 1900s, Sicilian immigrant Baldassare Forestiere spent 40 years creating an underground oasis in Fresno. He crafted a network of tunnels, courtyards, and chambers filled with fruit trees, vines, and flowers. Today, you can tour this distinctive subterranean garden and marvel at Forestiere’s vision and craftsmanship.

3. Black Chasm Cavern

Black Chasm Cavern, a National Natural Landmark in the Sierra Nevada foothills, showcases stunning formations like stalactites, stalagmites, flowstones, and helictites. Guided walking tours of the cavern are available, or you can opt for a more adventurous spelunking expedition. Additionally, visitors can pan for gold, gems, and fossils at the surface.

4. Winchester Mystery House

The Winchester Mystery House, an expansive mansion in San Jose, was constructed by Sarah Winchester, widow of the rifle magnate. Believing she was haunted by spirits of those killed by Winchester rifles, she continuously added rooms and features to appease them. The result is a labyrinth of corridors, staircases, and secret passages that defy logic and reason.

5. La Jolla Sea Caves

The La Jolla Sea Caves comprise seven caves carved by waves along the San Diego coast. Accessible by kayak, snorkel, or scuba dive, these caves showcase marine life and rock formations. The most famous is Sunny Jim Cave, featuring a man-made tunnel leading to a gift shop.

6. The Underground Tunnels of Los Angeles

Los Angeles hides a history beneath its streets. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the city constructed a network of tunnels for transporting goods, people, and money. These tunnels were also used by bootleggers, gamblers, and criminals during the Prohibition era. Some of these tunnels, like the one under the Hall of Records, are still visitable today.

7. The Catacombs of San Francisco

The Catacombs of San Francisco, situated beneath the St. Francis of Assisi Church in the North Beach neighborhood, are a mysterious and eerie attraction. Housing the remains of thousands who died during the 1906 earthquake and fire, these catacombs offer guided tours but be prepared to encounter paranormal activity.


Delve into California’s secret realms, where lava tubes, underground gardens, and mysterious tunnels unveil a different dimension. From the intricate Winchester Mystery House to the eerie Catacombs of San Francisco, these underground treasures add an unexpected layer to the state’s diverse allure, inviting adventurers to unearth the captivating stories beneath the surface.

Leave a Comment