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Lewis & Clark Caverns State Park announces modified tours

WHITEHALL – Staff at Lewis & Clark Caverns State Park are pleased to reopen the cave once again on a first-come, first-served basis for the 2021 season.

Two distinct tour options will be offered from May 28 to Sept. 30, 2021. Visitors are encouraged to call a week before their visit as tour options, times and availability may change throughout the season. No reservations will be taken for cave tours this season. Park staff are always committed to providing a quality experience for visitors.

Classic tour

The classic tour will feature a 2-mile journey through the majority of the developed cave tour route, including the second-largest and longest rooms in the cave. This tour lasts for two hours and includes more than 600 stairs, stooping and tight squeezes. It is not recommended for small children, or visitors with mobility limitations or claustrophobia.
Bats occupy some rooms that are part of the classic tour. Bats can be susceptible to pathogens carried by people. To reduce risks to sensitive bat populations at the park, visitors will be required to wear facemasks in rooms that contain bats.

The classic tour is generally not held at specific times, but it is offered based on visitor demand and staff availability.

Tickets for the classic tour are $15 for visitors ages 15 and older, $10 for children ages 5 to 14, and $5 for anyone ages 4 and younger.

Paradise tour

The second option is the paradise tour. It includes a view of the largest and most decorative room in the cave — the Paradise Room. This 1-mile tour lasts for 90 minutes. It includes 15 stairs between two rooms, but the path is mostly level and partly wheelchair accessible. Because the paradise tour provides better accessibility and easier passage, this tour is highly recommended for anyone with small children, claustrophobia concerns or mobility challenges.

Starting May 28, the paradise tour will be offered every hour on the half hour, from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. These times are subject to change, so contact the park prior to your visit.

Tickets for the paradise tour are $10 for seniors ages 62 and older, $15 for visitors ages 15 to 61, $10 for children ages 5 to 14, and free for anyone under age 4.

Planning your visit

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 offers camping, trails to hike or bike, a state-of-the-art visitor center, interpretive displays, a gift shop, food and beverage concessions, an amphitheater, and interpretive events during the summer months. The ticket office opens daily at 9 a.m., and the last tour departs at 4:30 p.m.

An $8 entrance fee is required for visitors who are not residents of Montana. Residents of the state normally pay the fee with vehicle registration.

Lewis & Clark Caverns State Park is roughly 7 miles southeast of Cardwell along Montana Highway 2.

As always, visitors are asked to not wear any clothing, shoes or accessories, including glasses and cameras, that have been to another cave or mine in the past two years. This is to protect bat populations at the Caverns. White-nose syndrome, a fungus that kills entire bat colonies, can be transmitted easily and does not come out of clothing or other materials with normal washing methods. While it does not affect humans, it could have significant impacts to the cave ecosystem.

To inquire about tour availability or other questions, please call the park at 406-287-3541. For more information about the park, visit fwp.mt.gov/stateparks/lewis-and-clark-caverns.