The only way to see Lehman Caves is on a guided tour led by a park ranger, who points out the intricately formed stalactites, stalagmites, draperies, and shields that have been created by the oozing and dripping of water. Although Lehman lacks the vastness of the caves at Carlsbad Caverns National Park in New Mexico, it makes up for that in the number of beautiful formations in this small space, and the fact that Lehman can be seen easily and fairly quickly. In addition, Lehman Caves possess formations called shields, rarely seen in other caves. These consist of two roughly circular halves that look like flattened clamshells. Scientists have yet to agree on how the shields are formed.
Cave tours begin near the visitor center and run daily year-round (call for schedules), except on New Year's Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. A part of the tour is accessible to those in wheelchairs, with assistance. Adults must accompany all children under 16, and children under 5 are not permitted on the 90-minute cave tour. The temperature in Lehman Caves is 50°F (10°C) year-round, so a jacket or sweater is advised. Because the path is often wet, good traction shoes with rubber soles are strongly recommended. Some passageways are narrow, so items such as fanny packs, purses, and backpacks are prohibited. Hand-held cameras are permitted.
Although the park's main ranger-led activity is the Lehman Caves tour, during the summer rangers also guide nature walks and hikes and present other programs. These change each year, but recent programs have included a 1.4-mile hike (one-way) to the bristlecone pine grove. Rangers usually present short talks several times daily at the visitor center, as well as evening campfire programs at Wheeler Peak and Upper Lehman campgrounds, with subjects such as the night sky, gold prospecting, and the area's bat population. One-hour programs for children, who must be accompanied by adults, have also been scheduled in recent years.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.