As I sit, quarantined for the third time this winter, I have to wonder if this is what it must feel like for the bears being confined to limited space during the coldest and darkest time of year. Then I begin to think that if I were asleep for the majority of this time, maybe it wouldn't be so bad after all. Well, this next spot is gratefully uninhabited by our furry friends high in the Teton mountains!
Darby Wind Caves, named after the geological formation in which the cave formed, is an absolute monster of a cave! The mouth entrance rises several stories above your head. The cave rests in the top of a ridge in Darby Canyon. The10-mile out-and-back trail ascends into the high valley offering incredible views of the surrounding mountains and ridges. The dense forests, lush meadows, and crisp mountain air beckon you onward up the trail until at last you reach the incredible vista that is the mouth of the cave!
A fascinating side note for your science nerds out there; the Darby Formation, in which the caves formed, is chock full of fossils! Dating many millions of years old. Sea corals, shells, and small animals and plants are vastly abundant among the rocks that have been eroded and transported a small distance to the base of the cliffs. I don't advocate taking them but I gotta tell ya, it's worth taking a look at! Makes you wonder how ancient sea life now rests at 10,000 feet elevation!
The cave is really only accessible between June and September, as at its high altitude, snow is nearly always present. The caves remain at a very cool temperature year-round, and offer thrilling spelunking experience if you are brave enough to venture into the darkness. The thinning corridor quickly narrows into crawl spaces just meters from the mouth of the cave. I highly recommend flashlights on this hike!
The mouth of the cave has a spring flowing from the cracked rocks into a cascading waterfall. Truly picturesque, this hike is not one to pass up! I haven't seen any animals here before, but I have seen lots of evidence they exist here. Proceed with a measure of caution as always!
Darby Canyon is situated south of Teton Canyon (the last blog post) on the way towards the Teton Pass that takes you into Jackson Hole. Google has directions to the trailhead. It is pretty simple to follow, but if you have questions, hit me up!
Here are more pictures, as always, enjoy!