Caverns of Sonora
The Mayfield family began its ranching operations in Sonora Texas around the turn of the 20th Century. An opening in the rocks was found in the southern part of the ranch when a dog chased a raccoon into this 20-inch opening. Locals began exploring the cave sometime in the early 20’s. They could go back about 500 feet from the entrance to a fifty-foot deep pit. This section of the Cave was eventually known as Mayfield Cave. Labor day weekend, 1955, the discovery of a lifetime took place on the Mayfield Ranch near the town of Sonora, Texas. Two weeks prior to that weekend, three speleologists, Bob Crisman, Bart Crisman and James Estes from Abilene, Texas were exploring another well-known cave in Sutton County. They exited the cave around three p.m. and headed to the Mayfield Ranch to take a look at a cave known as Mayfield Cave. They entered the cave and eventually made their way to a large room with a deep pit blocking further progress. High on the other side of this pit were seemingly inaccessible passages that continued, but pressed for time, they left the cave.
This story was told to other cavers. Labor day weekend, Danny Sheffield, Jack Allen, Claude Head and Jack Prince crossed a narrow, sloping ledge, high on top of the right hand side of the big pit, and reached the passages on the other side. Stories of bizarre formations and untold beauty began circulating among members of the caving community.
Jack Burch, a caver from Oklahoma saw the cavern for the first time in 1956. He began to see human impact in the caverns in places where there shouldn’t have been any damage. His vision was to develop the cavern to stop this destruction and preserve the cavern for future generations. Development started in 1959. The Caverns of Sonora was opened to the public July 16, 1960.
We stopped at this cave on a whim when driving from Austin to Big Bend and we're so glad we did! This is the most beautiful cavern I've seen in North America, and the hour+ exploration is well worth the $20 price. Our tour guide, Thomas, was knowledgable and fun- and his excitement for the cave and its formations was infectious. We'll definitely be back and hope to take advantage of the campgrounds next time. Thanks for an outstanding tour, Thomas!!
Purchased tickets online saved a few bucks. Had to wait 1 for out tour to leave and it was worth it. The group is limited to about 10 which allowed everyone to enjoy the tour. Our guide a high school student was very informative and nice. There is a lot of walking but it was so beautiful no one complained. Will bring family back to see this cavern. Best cavern I've been to in the area.
This is one of the most beautiful Caverns I have ever seen. Especially wonderful a as it is in private hands and so well taken care of. Our tour with the owners granddaughter tagging along with the guide could not have been a better experience. Her wonder for the cavern is infectious and hopefully she will stay to guide future generations.
C N J Hernandez
Awesome, beautiful natural formations...visual overload, sauna like, great workout hope you're in great shape the stairs will get you on the way back up. We paid dearly for being so out of shape. Damn those stairs. lol Make sure kiddos use restroom before entering caverns, wear comfortable non slip shoes, take sweat rag, you will sweat, I promise. Lots of moisture, 95% humidity. Jose Hernandez was an excellent guide. Overall great experience, very happy.
I was travelling with an anxious dog, so I didn't get to see the mine, but the gift shop was a welcome break from the road. The person behind the counter was really nice and there's a little gold - panning wash outside. Benches on a large porch let me and my dog get some fresh air.