So now that my first quarter of grad school is over, I finally have time to sit down and write about my last adventure in Tucson! My friend (and Maid of Honor!) J. and I decided to try out one of the lesser known outdoor adventures in Tucson – amateur spelunking in Peppersauce Cave, Tucson, Arizona.
The cave has seen many visitors and evidence of this is the graffiti throughout. Some of it is helpful – green grafitti marks various tunnels that lead you to the exit and keeps you from walking in circles. Honestly, it is really difficult to get lost even without a map or the graffiti.
The cave is pretty dirty (or muddy if it has just rained) so I would recommend wearing clothes that you don’t care about. We also picked up some cheap hard hats from Lowe’s. While you could probably get by without them if you’re careful, I’m glad I opted for the hard hat because I whacked my head against the ceiling at least three times. I didn’t wear gloves, but they probably would’ve been helpful to keep my hands from getting so muddy.
Hiking boots or other shoes with lots of traction are a must. I saw someone not wearing appropriate shoes slip and fall numerous times. Finally, bring a light source. Flashlights work best, but lanterns are also an option. I would try not to use the flashlight app on your phone because you may slip, fall, and break your phone.
The arrow along the road indicates the direction you will be driving if you have taken the back road up Mt. Lemmon. If you plug Peppersauce Cave into google maps, it will take you fairly close to this point. Just keep an eye out for this turn and (I believe) some rounded rocks are built into the right hand side.
If you go on a weekend, there will likely be cars parked near here to indicate that you are in the right place. To the left, you should see what looks like a wash. To the right, there should be more trees and the ground should slope upwards. Go towards this side. If you do not see the map and/or cave entrances within 5 minutes, you have either missed it or you are on the wrong side.
This cave entrance was huge, so we thought this was going to be a piece of cake. But, just feet inside the cave the pathway becomes much narrower….and narrower.
As we looked up ahead, the tunnel narrowed to a point where we would’ve had to crawl on our hands and knees. We couldn’t see any point where the tunnel opened up wider, so we decided to quell our claustrophobia and head back to the entrance. As we were about to give up and head back down Mt. Lemmon, we ran into someone who mentioned that there was another entrance further up the path, so we decided to check it out.
This entrance was not as large, but the inside was much more open.
Another tight squeeze!
Until next time!