Summer Activities | Big Sky Day Trips Part Two: Lewis and Clark Caverns

Tobacco Root Mountains

Drive to Lewis and Clark Caverns

Where we last left off, we had just finished up exploring Missouri Headwaters State Park with vistas of the headwaters and four surrounding mountain ranges. Next stop on the itinerary Lewis and Clark Caverns.

The drive to the caverns is beautiful. We traveled along in early Summer when everything was an exquisite green, the mountains were still snow capped and the wildflowers just began to bloom. I imagine that it would be just as pretty in September when all the fields take on a golden color.

Now the first fact I will point out to you is that Lewis and Clark did not discover these caverns. They never even set foot in them, but they did pass awfully close on their expedition. I guess that’s reason enough to name them so.

To explore the caverns you will take a two hour guided tour. You travel two miles through twisted, sometimes tight, dark dank corridors to see stalagmites, columns, stalactites and helicitites, Your guide will tell you in sing song voice at the beginning of the tour, “Let’s go spelunking.” Just what is spelunking? According to Wikipedia, it is the really cool term for describing exploration of wild caves.  And the caverns are definitely wild.

The best part to me were the nicknames coined by your guides for all the different formations. In the Cathedral Room, a grand cave in the cavern, there was Snow White with her seven dwarfs. There as a young couple in love that you later saw as an elderly couple in love. My favorite is cave food. They had popcorn, grapes and the all time best bacon. I guess this is standard fare in all the caverns through out the country, the formations are renamed for what they most look like. Sometimes they were spot on.

I don’t think that their are specific age restrictions for the caverns, but I’d highly recommend ages 7 and up. For younger children it is a long hike in a very dark and cold environment. Everyone needs to bring a a sweater or lightweight jacket and for young children the whole experience might be both scary and a little bit boring after a while.

Next stop, Virginia City!

The Details

Distance from Buck’s T-4 Lodge: Approx. 85 miles, 1 hour and 40 mins drive time
Distance from Missouri Headwaters State Park: Aprox. 24 miles and 30 mins drive time
Lewis and Clark Caverns Website
Cave Tours: 5/1 to 9/30 every Summer
Admission for Cave Tour: $15.00 for adults
Camping: Yes
Fishing: Yes, on the Jefferson, permits required
Food and Drink: Yes, a small cafe with basic fare

Mike and Andrea Scholz

Formerly a Historic BuildingSpelunkingLewis and Clark CavernsLewis and Clark Caverns

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