Crystal Ball Cave: Gandy, Utah
Updated: Jan 21
Discover a hidden gem in the middle of Utah’s West Desert at Crystal Ball Cave. This off-the-beaten path cave displays stalagmites, stalactites and large, round calcite deposits that look like a ball of crystals. All ages will enjoy this unique view into geological history.
Fun: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (out of 5)
Difficulty: Very Easy EASY Moderate Hard Very Hard
Distance: 0.75 miles
Elevation Gain: 150 ft
Terrain: Dirt, rocks, desert, cave
Time: 1.5 to 2 hours
When to Go: All year
Free. Donations accepted.
Bathrooms in the A-Frame at Bates Family Ranch where you meet tour guide. No amenities at cave site.
Small cabins and camping sites at the Bates Family Ranch.
THINGS TO BRING
Good walking/hiking shoes/sandals
Our kids absolutely loved touring Crystal Ball Cave. They were fascinated by the “crystal” formations and loved hearing all the stories of how the cave was found and the adventures the Bates Family had in the cave.
Crystal Ball Cave was found by the Bates Family in the 1950s. The cave is on Bureau of Land Management Land but is operated by the Bates Family Ranch. You must call to book a tour in advance @ 801-787-6675 email Batesfamilyranch@gmail.com. The Bates Family does not charge but donations are accepted.
At your tour time you will meet your tour guide at the Bates Family Ranch located in Gandy Utah near the Utah/Nevada Border. It is about 45 minutes north of Highway 50 on a dirt road. This dirt road is fairly tame and shouldn’t be a problem for most vehicles. The Bates Family Ranch has a few small cabins and camping spots if you need accommodations. From the Bates Ranch take a short drive to the cave following your tour guide along another dirt road.
After parking your vehicle you take a short 0.25 mile uphill hike to the cave entrance. The cave is locked and only those with a scheduled tour are allowed to enter.
The cave begins with a large cavern displaying many stalactites, stalagmites, columns and crystal balls. The kids loved this cave from our first glimpse. Our tour guides was a member of the Bates Family and was very knowledgeable of the geology and history of the cave. The kids loved asking her questions and she was super patient with them.
The “crystal balls” that the cave is named for are found throughout the cave but each area of the cave has its own unique rock formations. Each area had a different type of ceiling: some were "popcorn" others were smooth and some were "marshmallow" ceilings.
My favorite formation was the “cupcake” or “wedding cake.”
The kids favorite part was placing the flashlights next to the calcite walls to watch the wall glow.
There are a few areas in the cave where you will need to duck as an adult to ensure you won't hit your head. The tour guide does well in warning you of these areas. In these shorter areas there are small chimneys to give you a break to stand and stretch your back.
There is also an area in the cave with a large deposit of fluorescent minerals.
In the last cavern of the cave there is a “crystal throne” that you can sit in. It looks like a large inside-out geode. We loved taking turns sitting on the throne.
Some fossils found in the cave are displayed in the last cavern. This is a miniature horse hoof.
We spent about an hour in the cave which is a standard time for the tour. You walk just over 600 feet in the cave and then just over a quarter mile hike back to your vehicle.
PROS & CONS
Unique cave experience
All ages can enjoy
Cave is 65 degrees year around
Close to a few other fun adventures, despite its remoteness
Tours can quickly fill, schedule a few weeks in advance
Crystal Ball Cave is located near the ranching community of Gandy Utah in Utah’s West Desert near the Nevada Border. The tour meets at the Bates Family Ranch a few miles from the cave. From Hwy 50/Hwy 6 you will turn North on the Gandy Highway and continue about another 29 miles. The Bates Family Ranch will be to your left. Gandy Highway is a dirt highway with little traffic.
Map to Bates Family Ranch where you meet your tour guide.
OTHER NEARBY ADVENTURES
Gandy Warm Springs (10 mins)
Devil’s Gate Slot Canyon (20 mins)
Hermits Cabin (1 hour 30 mins)
Great Basin National Park (1 hour)
U-dig Fossil Quarry (2 hours)
Hi, I'm Corrine! I'm an outdoor enthusiast, mother of four, wife, nurse and runner. I believe God gave us this beautiful earth to explore, enjoy and protect.
My goal is to inspire you to get outside and create your own amazing memories as a family. Life is precious and there are too many adventures to be had to spend life on the couch or in front of a screen.
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