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Image of the inside of a cave.
A cramped interior of one of Yosemite's talus caves.

Virtual Yosemite: Cave Environments

Yosemite’s caves!

Yosemite is perhaps best known for its towering granite peaks, spectacular waterfalls, and dramatic vistas – features which draw close to four million visitors to the park every year.

However, hidden within these attractions are numerous well-concealed caves that most visitors remain unaware of.

Experience an interactive 360° VR view inside one of these caves here.

Most of these are talus caves, meaning that they are formed within the spaces between rockfall boulders. They’re found most often below the dramatic granite cliffs in Yosemite Valley.

Some are large enough for humans to crawl into, and a few of them extend deep enough into the rockfall deposit that portions of them are in complete darkness. These unique environments can harbor rare and sensitive species of invertebrates. In 2010, a new species of pseudoscorpion (Parobisium yosemite), about the size of a small fingernail, was discovered in two of these caves.

Visitors to the park are generally discouraged from exploring these caves, not only because of the potential safety risks, but also to protect the sensitive species and environments within.

Caves are unique and often unexpected features of Yosemite. If you come across one in your travels within the park, please exercise restraint in exploring it and diligence in protecting its fragile ecosystem.

©2020 Photography by Scott Highton

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