When we went to San Angelo last year because it was one of the few places in Texas that had not cancelled their 4th of July fireworks, we decided to also finally visit a place I had heard so many good things about: the Caverns of Sonora. They are somewhat isolated as you can see on the map below, so the 1.5 hour drive from San Angelo seemed like a great opportunity to see them. And believe me, I didn’t regret it one bit. The Caverns of Sonora are beautiful!
The Caverns of Sonora
I grew up close to some small caverns in Germany, I’ve visited the incredibly big Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico a few times, but the Caverns of Sonora were by far the prettiest I have ever seen. And it’s not just the caverns themselves that make Sonora so special. The owners have created a great park around the caverns with a tons of chickens and peacocks roaming around; a cute house where you can buy the entry tickets, souvenirs, snacks like homemade fudge and lollipops with bugs in them; lots of feeders for hummingbirds and benches to hang out on and watch them. Random fact: It took Sonora for me to realize that what I know as a kolibri is in fact a hummingbird. How did I finally make the connection? I saw some in real life for the first time 🙂
I remember that I was surprised when we got there about how pricey the tickets were, but, oh well, we were already there and in the end it was all worth it. Unlike most caverns, you can’t just walk around there. You buy your tickets and are signed up to meet your guide at a specific time. Our guide was an older Texan gentleman and his Texas accent and expressions added to the atmosphere 🙂 It was here that I learned that cement is pronounced like semen in Texas…. imagine my confused look when he told us about all the semen in the caverns until I figured it out 🙂 And the story about how the caverns were found!! There was a raccoon that some guys followed down a hole I believe. Our guide kept saying how they followed “the coon” and and I didn’t get it. “The coon” this and “the coon” that and finally I broke down and asked “Which animal???”. Somebody else in the group laughed and explained that it was a raccoon… I kind of had a little rabbits-in-the Egyptian-pyramids moment there 🙂 Anyways, he was a great guide and I enjoyed all his stories and explanations. At one point he made our group sit on a few benches and turned all the lights off. You can’t imagine how dark it was, pitch black really.
Know before you go
It’s not too hot in the caverns, but it is very humid and you walk quite a bit. Dress in layers. We were drenched by the time we got out again.
As I mentioned above, the entrance fee is somewhat steep, but it was worth it to us in the end.
Sonora is pretty isolated. There is one steak house a few miles away and that was the only restaurant we saw. On our way back to San Angelo we found a Subway that wasn’t too bad either. They do have snacks and delicious homemade fudge in the store at the caverns themselves, but I wish we would have packed some sandwiches.
There are lots of birds around the building and we spent probably at least 30 minutes alone watching the many hummingbirds. Plan to spend some time exploring the grounds.
The Caverns of Sonora had an act of vandalism some years ago where some stupid person broke half of what looked like a butterfly off the wall. Naturally, they are more worried about people breaking things down there now.
Here’s a compilation of some of my favorite high speed videos of the hummingbirds at the Caverns of Sonora on my YouTube channel: