Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks

COVID-19 Response: Bannack State Park opens and Lewis & Clark Caverns tours start May 22.
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Lewis & Clark Caverns

STATE PARK

People on caverns tour. Man and child at overlook. Park ranger and family on a hike. Mom and son hugging in a dome tent.

Lewis & Clark Caverns

STATE PARK

Camp, hike and experience amazing geologic wonders at Montana's first and best-known state park showcase of one of the most highly decorated limestone caverns in the Northwest.

ALERTS / CLOSURES

ALERTS / CLOSURES
The Visitor Center is closed until further notice to comply with the Governor's statewide directive to reduce spread of COVID-19.


HOURS & LOCATION

SEASON & HOURS
Hours listed below are normal operating hours and may not apply when there is a special restriction or closure. Check Alerts.

Park
Open
 
Caverns
Limited tours beginning May 22, 2020.
 
Campground
Open.
 
Water
Available May 2 - Sept 30.
 
Showers & Comfort Station
Currently unavailable.

Visitor Center
Closed due to COVID-19 response.
Normal hours: Winter hours, October 7 - April 13:
Open Wed - Sun, 10 am - 4 pm.
Summer hours:
8:30 am - 4:30 pm daily;
Open until 6:30pm in mid-summer.

LOCATION
25 Lewis and Clark Caverns Rd.
Whitehall, MT 59759
Latitude/Longitude: (45.82289 / -111.85082)
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FEE INFORMATION »

Reserve Campground

Campground Map

Trail Map

Montana State Parks Guide

MEET THE PARK MANAGER
Photo of Rhea Armstrong, Lewis & Clark Caverns State Park Manager
Rhea Armstrong began working for Montana State Parks as a seasonal tour guide at Lewis & Clark Caverns State Park in 1986 while attending Western Montana College in Dillon majoring in Elementary Education. She continued working summers at the park throughout her teaching career, and in 2005, became the assistant manager. Rhea was promoted to Park Manager of Lost Creek, Anaconda Smoke Stack, and Granite Ghost Town State Parks in 2013.

CONTACT

CONTACT INFO
Mailing Address:
Lewis & Clark Caverns State Park
PO Box 489
Whitehall, MT 59759

Phone: 406-287-3541
Email: rarmstrong@mt.gov

Lewis & Clark Caverns

STATE PARK


 

Access to cave is by guided tours only.

Paradise Tour

Photo of visitor in wheelchair on the Paradise tour

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Length: 1 mile / 90 minutes
  • Schedule
    • Beginning May 22, 2020
      Friday-Monday, offered hourly, 9:15 am-5:15 pm.
  • Cost: $15 / person, 15 years & older; $10 for seniors, persons with a disability, and youth ages 5-14 years; children 4 years & under are free. Pre-registration and pre-payment required.
  • To reserve tour tickets, learn how to prepare for your visit or discover current Park restrictions, call (406) 287-3541.  Tickets are limited.  Call for tickets even if it is the day you’d like to take a tour.

Walk a level ½ mile trail to see the Paradise Room, the largest, most active and decorated portion of the cave. Part of the tour is wheelchair accessible.

Summer Tours

May 1 - September 30

Classic Cavern Tour

Photo of steps on the classic Caverns tour

  • Difficulty: Moderate to Difficult
  • Length: 2 miles / 2 hours
  • Schedule
    • May 1 – June 14, and August 20 - September 30
      Ticket sales 9 am – 4:30 pm daily; first come, first served. Wait times approximately ½ hour or less.
    • June 15 – August 19
      Ticket sales 9 am - 6:30 pm; first come, first served. Wait times approximately ½ hour or less weekday mornings & evenings; mid-day and weekend waits can be longer.
  • Cost: $15 / person, 15 years & older; $10 for ages 5-14 years; $5 for children 4 years & under. Purchase tickets upon arrival. No reservations taken.

Take our classic cave tour to experience these spectacular caverns lined with stalactites, stalagmites, columns and helictites. The tour begins with a ¾-mile gradual uphill walk to the cave entrance. The route inside the cave is lighted for a safe and enjoyable visit, and the caves are naturally air-conditioned. Kids especially have fun on the tour's famous Beaver Slide and enjoy the occasional bat sighting. The tour includes 600 stairs and involves ducking, waddling, bending and sliding as you make your way through the cavern. 

Paradise Tour

Photo of visitor in wheelchair on the Paradise tour

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Length: 1 mile / 70 minutes
  • Schedule
    • May 1 – June 14
      Tours are offered at 2:00 pm and 4:00 pm.
    • June 15 – September 30
      Tours are offered at 10 am, noon, 2:00 pm and 4:00 pm.
  • Cost: $15 / person, 15 years & older; $10 for seniors, persons with a disability, and youth ages 5-14 years; children 4 years & under are free. Paradise Tours often sell out. We recommend early arrival to purchase tickets and guarantee a spot.

This tour is intended for individuals with a physical limitation preventing them from being able to take the classic tour. Walk a level ½ mile trail to see the Paradise Room, the largest, most active and decorated portion of the cave. Part of the tour is wheelchair accessible. Priority given to individuals with limited mobility. Very suitable for small children. Recommended for those 5 years and younger.

Wild Cave Tour

Photo of visitor on the Wild Cave tour

  • Difficulty: Challenging
  • Length: 2 miles / 3 hours
  • Schedule   June 16 – August 18, Tuesday and Sunday only, 5:30 pm.
  • Cost: $40/person; must be 15 years or older. Reservations and pre-payment (Visa or Mastercard) required: (406) 287-3541. No refunds to cancellations made less than 24 hours prior to tour time. Cancellation fee applies.

This challenging introduction to caving gives an up-close look at some of the wildest speleothems that Lewis and Clark Caverns offer. Explore the caverns with only headlamps and expect a lot of bending, crawling, duck waddling and few handrails. Pants, long-sleeve shirts and sturdy shoes required. Helmet, kneepads, gloves and headlamps provided.

Winter Holiday Candlelight Tour

Photo of visitors on the candlelight tour

  • Difficulty: Moderate to Difficult
  • Length: 2 miles / 2 hours
  • Schedule   Last two weekends in December
  • Cost: $25 / adult, 15 years & older; $15 for ages 5-14 years; children 4 years & under are discouraged from attempting the tour. Reservations required; ticket sales begin early December 2020. Call 406-287-3541. Tickets are non-refundable.

See the colorful limestone formations by the festive glow of candlelight. For safety reasons, the upper half of the Caverns is shown with the electric lights on. The lower half of the cave is by candlelight. Candle lanterns are provided by the park. Parents need to use their own judgment if children will be comfortable in the darkness of the cave and in the outside cold temperatures. 1¼ miles of the tour is outside and may require walking to and from the cave through snowy conditions. Dress for walking in snow, wind and cold. Coffee and hot chocolate will be available at the visitor center before and after the tours.

Help us 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.

Did Lewis and Clark Discover the Caverns?

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.


Activities

  1. Bicycling
  2. Bird Watching
  3. Camping
  4. Canoeing
  5. Deer Hunting
  6. Fishing
  7. Group Camping
  8. Guided Cave Tours
  9. Hiking
  10. History
  11. Hunting
  12. Lewis And Clark
  13. Nature
  14. Photography
  15. Picnicking
  16. River Fishing
  17. RV Camping
  18. Tent Camping
  19. Visitor Center
  20. Wildlife Viewing


Amenities
Some amenities are seasonal. Check with the park for availability.
  1. ADA Accessible
  2. Camp Host
  3. Electricity
  4. Established Fire Pits
  5. Firewood for Sale
  6. Gift Shop
  7. Holiday Event
  8. Interpretive Display
  9. Maps
  10. Parking
  11. Pets Allowed
  12. Picnic Shelter
  13. Playground
  14. Public Restroom
  15. RV Dump Station
  16. RV Hookups
  17. Shower
  18. Toilets (Flush)
  19. Toilets (Vault)
  20. Tours
  21. Trash Removal
  22. Water


Lewis & Clark Caverns State Park
 
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