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Caves Around Bear Lake

Minnetonka Cave_Bear Lake.jpg


Visitors to Bear Lake go to the lake, swim, boat, kayak, eat raspberry shakes, but what a lot of people don't know is that there are several caves that you can visit and explore around and near Bear Lake. 

Sometimes the beaches are just a little too crowded and the lines at all the burger joints are going to take forever. It's times like those when you might be wondering what you can do to pass the time. Well, one thing you can do is go explore one of the caves in the area. 

Below is some great information on the caves around Bear Lake. 

Minnetonka Cave

Minnetonka Cave is easily the most well-known cave in the Bear Lake Valley and for good reason. It is easily accessible, filled with thousands of really cool stalagmites and stalactites, and it's great for the whole family. 

Minnetonka Cave is a limestone cave in the Cache National Forest just outside St. Charles, Idaho. Guided tours are offered typically from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Tours are scheduled every 15-minute intervals and on a first-come/first-served basis. The tour takes about 90 minutes and the pace of the tour is quite slow. The interior of the cave is quite cold, with the temperature being around 40 degrees Fahrenheit. 

The hike into the cave has been described as moderate to strenuous. There are 896 stairs round trip, with frequent stops 

Minnetonka Cave Address:

  • Minnetonka Cave Rd, St Charles, ID 83272

  • Latitude: 42.0876 N   Longitude: 111.518 W

Interesting Fact About Minnetonka Cave:

Minnetonka Cave is the deepest cave in Idaho. 

Recommended Months to Visit:

Due to the amount of time it takes for the snow to melt the caves are accessible and open from June to September. 

Minnetonka Cave Information:

Tours for the caves run 7 days a week from 10:00 am to 5:30 pm. Tours are limited to 20 people, and no group discounts are given.

Paris Ice Cave

Located about 10 miles west of Paris, Idaho tucked away in the Cache National Forest is the Paris Ice Cave. The Paris Ice Cave is a great activity for the entire family. It's not nearly as busy as Minnetonka cave, so you won't have to worry about waiting in long lines or won't need need to pay any money to go inside and explore. 

The cave entrance is a short distance from the parking lot (about 100 feet). Once inside you will find yourself in the first cavern, follow the boardwalk and you can start exploring the different parts of the cave.

Paris Ice Cave Address:

  • Green Basin Rd Preston, ID 83263

  • Latitude: 42.2318 N   Longitude: 111.5606 W

Interesting Fact About Paris Ice Cave:

The reason it's called an ice cave is because ice doesn't melt in portions of the cave. This is why it's best to visit in the warmer months of the year. 

Recommended Months to Visit:

Because it's an ice cave, summer and early fall are great times to visit. If you visit in the spring, there is a chance that you won't have as much access due to the possible snow and wet conditions. Typically if you try to visit anytime after October you'll likely need a snowmobile to get there. 

Paris Ice Cave Information:

Paris Ice Cave doesn't get nearly the amount of traffic as Minnetonka cave and there are no guided tours. You can visit pretty much any time of the day, but make sure you bring some flashlights or something to help you see while exploring the caves. 

Hobbit Caves | Logan Canyon 

Just minutes away from Garden City is the beautiful Logan Canyon filled with some of the most spectacular scenery in all of Utah. It's also home to the Hobbit Caves. Just a short hike from the road you'll find your way to a short waterfall that leads to the caves.

There are about five caves that are great for kids to explore. Many of them may be too small for adults to get in, but it's still a good place for everyone to enjoy the scenery, relax, and spend time in nature. 

Hobbit Caves Address:

  • Logan Canyon, Logan, UT 84321

  • Latitude: 41°44'24.8"N  Longitude: 111°47'37.8"W

Recommended Months to Visit:

Due to the treacherous winter conditions and the amount of snow that usually accumulates on the trails, it's usually best to visit the Hobbit Caves from May to October. 

Hobbit Cave Information:

The Hobbit Caves are pretty well-known among locals, but they still receive relatively low traffic, especially when you compare them to the Paris Ice Caves or Minnetonka Cave. They are free to visit and easy to get to. There are no bathrooms or drinking water available. 

Wind Cave | Logan Canyon 

Located 41 minutes from Bear Lake is the Wind Cave Trail. It is a well-known, heavily trafficked trail that features some of the best views of the canyon. It's a little more difficult of a hike than some of the other caves near Bear Lake but definitely worth the hike. 

After you've made you're way up the 1.8-mile trail, you'll find yourself on the top of the cave. Continue up the trail and you'll see the cave entrance. The cave itself isn't deep or dark like you imagine most caves to be. It's separated into two rooms with a portion of the cave ceiling open to the sky. 

Wind Cave Address:

  • Wind Caves, Logan, UT 84341

  • Latitude: 41° 45' 46.3068" N   Longitude: 111° 43' 3.36" W

Interesting Fact About the Wind Caves:

The Wind Caves are actually the result of water erosion – not from the wind. 

Recommended Months to Visit:

While the trail can be accessed pretty much year, the best time to visit the Wind Caves is in the Fall so you can experience the amazing fall colors in the canyon. Springtime can be a good time to hike to the cave as well, but be careful because conditions can be wet and muddy. 

Wind Cave Information:

The Wind Caves are one of the most popular hikes and caves in Logan Canyon and near Bear Lake. The trail has a designated trailhead, and at the trailhead there is some information about the caves. There is no charge to visit the caves and there is no restroom at the trailhead. Get there early because parking can be a bit crowded.

Providence Cave

Now we're getting serious! Providence Cave is more for experienced spelunkers and cave explorers than your everyday hikers. Make sure you come with plenty of light and jackets. The cave is quite deep and has several tight spots that can make it difficult to maneuver in and out. Don't go alone and make sure that you go with someone that is experienced, Providence Cave is not for beginners. 

Providence Cave Address:

  • Logan, UT 84321, USA

  • Latitude: : 41.7018837 N   Longitude: -111.6857886 W

Interesting Fact About Providence Cave:

Providence cave was discovered prior to 1900. It was discovered by James Bullock and Hyrum Hansen while they were hunting deer. 

Recommended Months to Visit Providence Cave:

The best time to visit Providence Cave is in the summer months to help ensure the cave is dry and accessible. The roads will be pretty much impassable in the winter and spring. 

Providence Cave Information:

This is a great place to visit but the cave itself is not for beginners. The road to get there isn't the best either, so you probably should only attempt if you have the appropriate vehicle to get there. 

Ricks Spring

Just under 30 minutes up Logan Canyon you'll find a cool little cave called Ricks Spring. The main cave itself is small and you can't really explore it because it's roped off, but what you might notice is that there is an underground cave that can be accessed by diving. Of course, you would need specialized gear and be a trained diver to go explore the caves, but if there are some pretty cool videos on Youtube of the exploration. 

There is a small cave to the left of Ricks Spring that you can explore. It's about 30 feet deep and can't rely on natural light so you'll need flashlights to look around. 

Ricks Spring Address:

  • Richmond, UT 84333

  • Latitude: : ​41.839985 N   Longitude: -111.588875 W

Interesting Fact About Ricks Spring:

When it was discovered people would bring empty jugs to fill with water coming from the spring, but would often get sick. Originally it was believed that it was fresh spring water coming from an aquifer, but it's actually water from the Logan River and isn't safe to drink. Please do not drink the water. 

Recommended Months to Visit Ricks Spring:

Because Ricks Spring is just off of US-89 in Logan Canyon and doesn't require a hike to get to as it's more accessible than most hikes and caves. The best times to visit Ricks Spring is between April and November.  

Ricks Spring Information:

Ricks Spring is a pleasant little walk with signs along the trail explaining the folds and fractures, who it's named after, and why you shouldn't drink the water. There is no fee to visit and there are no restrooms. 

Conclusion: Caves Around Bear Lake

When you visit Bear Lake take some time to go visit some of the beautiful hikes and caves in the area. Which one do you want to visit? 

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