Minnetonka Cave: One of The Best Exhibition Caves in the Country

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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 www.caves.org 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.

The Idaho cave of Minnetonka is found in the Cache National Forest. The largest limestone cave in Idaho, many even consider Minnetonka Cave the best exhibition cave in the country. It is well worth climbing the 444 stairs to and fro to witness the amazing limestone rock formations. This cave is a karst limestone cavern, produced by the erosion of sinkholes and subterranean rivers by groundwater moving through the underlying limestone. It has several distinctive drip patterns.

More than 40,000 people visit Minnetonka Cave every year, and often join one of the guided excursions. The instructors will stop the tours at least five or six times so that you may take a breather, ask questions, and learn about the cave’s geology. It is possible to have up to five excursions in the cave at once, with careful transit between them.

You’ll need a jacket all year round since the cave’s temperature hovers around 40 degrees. With your jacket and some comfortable shoes, let’s take a look at how you can book your trip.

A look at the flowwall and stalactites hanging down from the walls in Minnetonka Cave.

Minnetonka Cave Tickets

All ticket purchases, regardless of group size, must be made on the day of attendance at the venue. Tickets are only available on the day of the event unless you have a large party of 15 people or more and have arranged it with us at least 2 weeks in advance. Arriving first thing in the morning will give you the most options for tour timings.

Minnetonka Cave does not normally take reservations, unless you are planning to go with a very large group. It’s best to come early, or later in the day, but in the early afternoon, you may have to wait quite some time for a tour.

Minnetonka Cave Tours

Tours take 90 minutes, and fill up fast. Expect to wait up to an hour between tours, and plan your day accordingly.

Amenities include somewhat updated restrooms and a selection of alcoholic beverages, sodas, and snack foods for purchase.

One caver mentioned that local college students guide tours while on break for the summer, rather than by actual park rangers. This can make the adventure a little more humorous and down to earth. Prepare to learn the basics of stalagmites, stalactites and columns, and to experience the acoustics and complete darkness the cave has to offer.

Giant limestone pillars and stalactites clutter Minnetonka Cave.

Minnetonka Cave Camping

Campgrounds in the Cache National Forest are conveniently located near Minnetonka Cave, and the major road leading there is paved for your convenience. Driving a few miles north on Highway 89 from the northwest corner of Bear Lake will bring you to Minnetonka Road.

It has a wide range of environments, from RV docks to primitive camping areas. There is a wide variety in the quality of campsites’ available amenities. The majority of the campsites are situated along the stream, but a select few are built into the mountainside. The campgrounds on the mountaintops are surrounded by pine groves, while the dense flora near the lake makes for a more pleasant camping experience.

The following campsites are amongst those within a 21 miles radius:

  • Bear Lake State Park
  • Maple Grove Hot Springs
  • Bear Lake/Marina Side KOA Holiday
  • Rendezvous Beach State Park
  • Bear Lake North RV Park & Campground
  • Bear Lake Venture Park
  • Camp Hunt


Prices are quite cheap for this adventure. Bring the whole family, especially if you have several kids!

  • $8 Adult
  • $6 Children (age 6-15)
  • FREE for ages 0-5
  • $32 per Family, but only members of the same immediate family

Minnetonka Cave Restrictions (and Bats!)

Did I mention the bats? Certain regulations are in place in Minnetonka Cave to halt the westward spread of White Nose syndrome (WNS), a prevalent ailment among bats. The highly infectious WNS is killing bats in caverns throughout the United States. You cannot bring anything with you that has been in another cave or mine, since humans may transfer the WNS fungus across caverns by wearing clothing or carrying goods that have been exposed to it.

As for health, it’s best to be ready for a lot of stairs. You will get to take your time, but there is naturally no accommodation for wheelchairs, strollers, and the like.

If you love bats, you’ll love learning about some of the interesting bat facts we’ve compiled here.

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