Great Destinations: Underground Caverns

Lewis and Clark Caverns open on limited basis

If you're looking for a great family adventure in Montana, be sure to check out the Lewis and Clark Caverns near Butte.
The Lewis and Clark Caverns State Park are open for daily tours, by reservation. This comes after several weeks of operating only four days per week.  “We are seeing high demand for our tour offerings,” park manager Rhea Armstrong said. “This increase in capacity allows us a better opportunity to serve the public, while keeping staff and visitors safe.”
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Reservations are required, as tours are operating on a limited basis.
At this time, only Paradise Tours are available. This 1.5-hour, 1-mile walking tour allows access to the largest and most decorated room of the cave system, while still allowing for social distancing in 10-person groups. Nonrefundable payment in full is required at the time of booking.
For reservations, call 406-287-3541.
Visitors must wear masks or face coverings on the tour. Those with sensitive skin may want to wear clean gloves, as staff cleans the handrails with a bleach solution. The cave is 48 degrees Fahrenheit, so a light jacket is recommended. No strollers or baby backpacks are allowed.No clothing or other items that have been in another cave or mine are permitted inside Lewis & Clark Caverns. This measure is in place to help protect resident bat populations from a deadly fungal disease called white-nose syndrome, present in other caves throughout the world.Lewis & Clark Caverns State Park features one of the most decorative limestone caverns in the Northwest filled with spectacular stalactites, stalagmites, columns, and helictites. The park also features camping, trails to hike or bike, a state-of-the-art visitor center, interpretive displays, a gift shop, food and beverage concessions, amphitheater, and interpretive events presented during the summer months.
The Corps of Discovery travelled within today's park boundaries but explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark and members of the expedition never set foot in the actual caverns. President Theodore Roosevelt used the name Lewis & Clark when he made the caverns a National Monument on the same day the Grand Canyon received this honor. Roosevelt named the site Lewis and Clark Cavern National Monument--recognizing the fact that it had been over 100 years since the famed Lewis & Clark Corps of Discovery expedition and nothing in the federal system had yet been named for them. The Grand Canyon went on to become a National Park while Lewis & Clark Caverns became Montana's first state park. In 2018, the park was listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

PROTECT OUR BATS

YOU CAN HELP conserve the bat population at Lewis & Clark Caverns State Park. White nose syndrome is a fungal disease, well established in the eastern portion of North America and recently found in the west. It does not affect humans, but has proven lethal to bats. If you have been to a cave or mine in the past two years, do not wear the same clothing, shoes or accessories as you wore there on our caverns tour. If it cannot be avoided (for example, eye glasses or shoes) please contact park staff the day of your visit in order to obtain a disinfecting wipe.
For more information about these or other events at Lewis & Clark Caverns State Park, call 406-287-3541, or visit http://stateparks.mt.gov/lewis-and-clark-caverns/To get to Lewis & Clark Caverns State Park, 25 Lewis & Clark Caverns Road in Whitehall:
  • From the exit 274 on I-90, we are 13 miles south on Highway 287 and 5 miles west on MT 2.
  • From the Cardwell exit 256 on I-90 we are 7 miles east along MT 2.

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