Lewis & Clark Caverns State Park

Lewis & Clark Caverns State Park developed around the unique geologic feature: a cave carved from the Madison Limestone Formation.  Though Native Americans must have known about the caverns, the cave did not become well known until two ranchers noticed it in November of 1892.  With Civil Conservation Corps development, the site was deeded by the Northern Pacific Railroad to the state of Montana to become its first state park.

Today visitors explore the most highly decorated limestone caverns in the northwest on an informative two-hour guided tour. Cave passages are lined with a variety of vibrant stalactites, stalagmites, columns, helictites, flowstone ribbons and popcorn. 

Learn about geologic development and the history of early exploration; gain insight into the delicate ecology of this fabulous underground!

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Location

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Nearby
Latitude: 45.8227 Longitude: -111.8508 Elevation: 4265 ft

Recreational Opportunities

Choose the best tour type:

The Classic Tour (Moderately Difficult) is offered May 1-September 30  DAILY and is two miles and two hours long, has over 600 stairs, ducking waddling, bending and sliding. Tickets are purchased upon arrival with wait times usually less than an hour. $12 for adults (12 years and older); $5 for children (6-11 years); 5 years and under are free but may prove very challenging.

The Paradise Tour (easy) is designed for visitors physically unable to do the classic tour but who can walk a level ½ mile trail to enter the largest, most active and decorated portion of the cave.  Guests exit via the same trail, which can accommodate wheelchair access.  Offered 4 times daily June-Sept.  Twice per day in May.  It is the best fit for families with small children.  $12 for adults (12 years and older); $5 for children (6-11 years);  5 years and under are free. 

The Wild Cave Tour (Very Challenging) is only offered June 17 - August 19, 2018 on Tuesdays and Sundays.  They last from 5:30 PM -8:30 PM including the training involved.  Tours are two miles and three hours long, often have no handrails, and require duck waddling, much bending, and crawling.  PANTS, LONG SLEEVE SHIRTS AND STURDY SHOES ARE REQUIRED. Park provides helmet, kneepads, gloves and headlamps.  This is an introduction to caving that provides an up-close look at some of the wildest speleothems that Lewis & Clark Caverns State Park has to offer.  $30/person; must be 12 years or older. Reservations Required by calling (406)287-3541.  NO REFUNDS!

 

Candlelight Tours of the Caverns occur 6 days every December.  In 2018, those dates will be the 16/17; 22/23; and 29/30th.  Reservations are required and bookings start November 27th by calling (406)287-3541.  $15 for adults (12 years and older); and children are $8.
 

Seasons Accessible

Classic Tour - May through September

Paradise Tour - May through September

Wild Cave Tour - mid-June through mid-August

Candlelight Tours - 6 days in December that vary each year depending on when Christmas lands.

Fees

varied

Accessibility Notes

Only Paradise Tours can accommodate those with physical limitations.  A wheelchair can do the gravel trail to the cave while the inner portion of the Paradise Rooms are paved.  If the visitor can manage a dozen steps, then both sides of this marvelously large, beautifully decorated cave chamber can be seen from two separate viewpoints.  The park has a golf cart for this 1/2 mile trail and a wheelchair - book ahead for these amenities.

Pet Friendly Notes

Non-service animals are not allowed in the caverns so the park provides spacious, shaded kennels for pets for the duration of the tour length.  Guests make check out the free facility as they purchase tickets at the ticket booth.

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