The Best Caves in Idaho, USA: Complete List

This post may contain affiliate links. By purchasing products through these links, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. If you would like to learn more, please read this Disclaimer for details.

Beware: You should never explore wild caves alone or without proper gear. Consider getting in touch with a Grotto of the National Speleological Society at or a qualified cave club. These groups are skilled and will train you. Without sufficient knowledge, preparation, and equipment, cave exploring can lead to serious injury or death.

Exploring caves is an excellent way to gain insight into past civilizations and our past over the ages. Throughout human history, many different societies have revered caves as holy sites.

Since caves are typically very dark, they are frequently used for meditative purposes. A fantastic way to see the world and connect with nature that most people never get to do is to go caving. Caverns are fascinating destinations for explorers of all ages.

Caves of every size, color, and variety have been developed by geologic processes in Idaho, adding to the state’s already impressive mountain and river landscapes.

Some are in inaccessible places, while others were important to indigenous peoples in the past and are now major tourist destinations. Idaho is home to some spectacular caves, and this article will show you the best ones.

Clay Caves

The Clay Caves, a system of lava tunnels located 30 minutes outside Twin Falls, are worth the trip. A road descends from the main entrance to the bottom.

As you go deeper, the wide tunnels become more confining. You shouldn’t venture any deeper into its foreboding depths, lest you risk getting disoriented.

An image of the view from inside one of the Clay Caves by Twin Falls.

Craters of the Moon

Several hundred caverns and other volcanic marvels can be found within the Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve in south-central Idaho.

Lava tubes, caves formed by fissures, and caves formed by weathering are all examples. Essential lava tubes such as Indian Tunnel, Boy Scout, and Beauty Cave can be reached through the Cave Trail.

Explore their mazes and twisting passageways to discover something new at each stop.

The Craters of the Moon National Monument in Idaho feature several hundred individual caves, some depicted here from a distant view.

Darby Wind and Ice Caves

Darby Wind and Ice Caves are located in eastern Idaho, just a half-hour drive from Driggs.

You’ll have to take a trail that’s about as tough as a moderate hike to get there. After a short rock climb, you’ll arrive at the entrance to the Wind Caves, where a narrow shaft will bring you to the cavern’s depths. The cave derives its name from the frigid wind that blows across it as you explore further.

However, unless you are an expert caver, you should not continue down this tunnel, as it leads directly into Ice Cave. After around 0.75 miles, the tunnel becomes so small that you’ll have to squeeze and crawl on your stomach through it.

You can instead go back to the trail and keep walking along the South Fork of Darby Canyon for another.8 miles. To reach the cave’s entrance, one must first climb over a jumble of rocks and then traverse a series of rock outcroppings.

In its deepest regions, you can find some magnificent ice structures that can only be explored using advanced caving skills.

An image of the natural cliffside and large trees that lead to the aboveground Darby Wind Cave

Hidden Mouth Cave

A relatively short but challenging hike can reach this concealed cave in Mackay. Don’t let its modest exterior mislead you; inside, there are three main rooms to explore.

Historically, they served as a haven for locals seeking refuge. If you shine a bright light on the cave walls, you might be able to make out artwork or other traces of human habitation from thousands of years ago.

A distant view of the landscape in Idaho that surrounds Hidden Mouth Cave, and some markings denoting different landmarks and roads along the way.

Kuna Cave

To reach this less-frequented cave, one must take a detour off the Black Cat Road and go down an unpaved trail into the midst of BLM territory. You’ll see a steel ladder leading down into the cave when you get there.

Despite the graffiti, it is still interesting to explore the cave. The environment inside is somewhat dusty; thus, you must bring a flashlight and wear a mask.

A black and white image shows a small group of people that descended into the Kuna Caves of Idaho, using a large ladder.

Mammoth Caves

Mammoth Cave, eight miles north of Shoshone, is the world’s biggest system of navigable lava tubes. There are several caves that Native Americans used as dwellings and food storage, and you may see them all by following the marked trail for half a mile.

The proprietor at the front door will give you lanterns to use as you make your way through the maze. If you want to take photos, bring a flashlight as well; doing it with only the lanterns would be a considerable challenge.

Keep in mind that the interior temperature is a constant 41 degrees Fahrenheit, so you will also want to bring a light jacket.

An image shows the bright red and orange colored Mammoth Caves of Idaho, with a man-made walkway with railings leading into it.

Minnetonka Cave

The beautiful St. Charles Canyon in southern Idaho is home to one of the state’s largest and most visited Minnetonka Caves. Five species of hibernating bats call this area home as well.

The cave has nine chambers filled with stalagmites and stalactites and can only be explored with the guidance of a guide who can point out and explain the many features of the cave.

If you want to see them, you’ll have to take more than 400 stairs down. Also, bring a jacket because the cave stays at a constant 40 degrees Fahrenheit all year.

Massive pillars of flowwall and stalagmites are shown here in an image of the Minnetonka Caves in Idaho.

Niter Ice Cave

If you’re driving along State Route 34, you should pull over and check out this exciting landmark. Pioneers and indigenous people once used a lava tube to store food. From the entrance, you can make your way gradually along a walkway with handrails to the cave’s interior.

The building is completely dark, so please remember to bring flashlights. It’s chilly and potentially dangerous outside as well. Keep your wits about you with any of these more fragile caves.

An image of a cleared walkway through Niter Ice Cave, with some railing to the right among large rocks.

Owl Cave

This is a privately owned cave located west of Idaho Falls. First explored in 1965, excavators have unearthed some extraordinary historical artifacts, such as the remains of bison, camel, and dire wolves. But the most interesting is the Columbian Mammoth, dating back to about 14,000 years ago.

They also unearthed some artifacts like a Folsom’s point, which is the sharp form of some knapped stone. This suggests the existence of humans using the caves or general area in the past.

Unfortunately, as it is privately owned, you must learn more about these artifacts at the Museum of Idaho.

Papoose Cave

Papoose Cave is a hidden gem that few ever get to see in the Papoose Mountain range’s easternmost section. You can access it via the nearby US Forest Service Road 517.

This is a popular winter hibernation spot for bats. The 40°F year-round temperature inside allows you to explore the enormous chambers contained therein.

As a result of its uninhabitable conditions, the cave is not a good spot for novice explorers. However, experienced spelunkers considering a trip here should remember to secure permits from the local Forest Service office.

Once you reach the top, there are some spectacular views from the summit.

An image of the incredible view from the summit of Papoose Cave, stretching for hundreds of miles into the distance.

Paris Ice Caves

Looking like Frodo’s trek to Mordor, a dirt path leads to this cave as depicted in the image below.

This ice cave can be found in Paris Canyon, not far from Garden City in Utah. Late summer and early fall are great times to come because the weather is pleasant, and there is less chance of rain, making the trails unsafe.

Additionally, the water will have evaporated enough during this time to allow you to drive up to the cave entrance and park your car. From here, a path leads below, eventually passing through a 50-foot chamber with an open roof and narrow passages.

Shoshone Ice Cave

The ice formations in Shoshone Ice Cave, a massive lava tube, are breathtaking. Within an hour, you will be taken on a guided tour that will take you to a depth of roughly 100 feet below the earth’s surface.

As you explore its many attractions, you’ll pick up interesting facts about the region’s volcanic past and natural beauty. As caves go, this one is fascinating and has good lighting. It’s recommended that you bring a jacket and wear hiking boots. Even during the summer, it’s a chilly 29 F inside.

Tours operate only from May 1st through September 30th, so please plan accordingly.

An image of the dark and cold interior of Shoshone Ice Cave and a man-made steel walkway suspended by cables.

Tea Kettle Cave

Getting to Tea Kettle Cave is a challenge. You need a high clearance vehicle, like a range rover, to get there. Once you see it, though, its name makes perfect sense.

To get to the base, like with any tea kettle, you must travel down its spout. But it can be slippery here, so if you are not careful it is easy to get hurt on the way down or back up.

There are some lava formations, ferns, and various other small rock formations here.

With the cave entrance opening to the top, it reminds us of some of the Mexican cenotes that opened up in a similar way.

A woman sits atop a cliff and looks down into the ferns and rock piles of Tea Kettle Cave.

Wilson-Butte Cave

This cave is located not far from Jerome, in the midst of the volcanic Snake River Plain. The abundance of artifacts indicates that humans have been in this area for hundreds of years, if not more.

For protection from the elements, it makes sense that prehistoric humans would have chosen the cave as their home.

If you want to see this remote location, be aware that the road to get there is a rough dirt track. Bring some comfortable shoes.

A lot of rocks and some shrubs litter the outside of this cave entrance, which leads to Wilson-Butte Cave in Idaho.


Idaho is home to various sorts of caves in addition to its other unique natural features, including mountains and canyons. Publicly accessible caves include lava tubes created by volcanic activity and ancient human settlements in limestone caves.

Not all of them are as simple to get to as others. But each of these caverns, no matter where they are, offers an unforgettable experience.

Let us know which of these caves in Idaho is your favorite. Also, when you’re considering a state to check out next, here are our own cave guides for each of Idaho’s neighbors:

Montana Caves

Nevada Caves

Oregon Caves

Utah Caves

Washington Caves

Wyoming Caves

Leave a comment