ATTENTION! IF YOU PLAN ON VISITING MINNETONKA CAVE, PLEASE DO NOT BRING ANYTHING -- INCLUDING CLOTHING -- THAT HAS BEEN IN ANOTHER CAVE. THIS INCLUDES HATS, SHOES, BELTS, JEWELRY, CAMERAS, BACKPACS, CELL PHONES, PURSES, ETC.
Due to the westward spread of White Nose syndrome (WNS), restrictions on clothing and items that have been in
other caves are currently in place at Minnetonka Cave to prevent introduction of this bat disease into Idaho. It is
possible for humans to spread the disease between caves if clothing or equipment has been exposed to the fungus.
Leaving clothing or other items that have been in another cave or mine at home will help protect bat species
inhabiting Minnetonka Cave.
Introduction of this disease into Minnetonka Cave would devastate local bat populations, and in the event of a cave
closure, greatly impact local economies. For more information on WNS and its current impacts to bats in North
America visit whitenosesyndrome.org.
Minnetonka Cave is a limestone cave a half-mile long of which 1,800 feet has been developed for guided tours to the public. The elevation of the cave is 7,700 feet. It is located on the Cache National Forest near St. Charles, Idaho, and is administered by the Caribou-Targhee National Forest, Montpelier Ranger District.
The cave is used by the Townsend big-eared bat, and the season of operation is managed to consider the hibernation of this sensitive species.
The tours take visitors past lit cave formations and through its large, winding passages. The tours require walking in 40 degree air for just more than a half-mile and up and down 444 stone or metal steps. The tours last approximately 90 minutes.
Guides provided by Scenic Canyons stay with the tour going in and going out of the cave. Tours are staggered so multiple tours are in the cave at the same time. Scenic Canyons employs 11 tour guides and managers, and three part-time maintenance personnel in the Minnetonka Cave operations. From late June to early August, hour-long waits are common.
Guided tours typically begin between Memorial Day weekend and the first weekend in June, depending on snow levels at the cave. Call 435-245-6521 to get an update on the opening date for the season. The traditional end of the season is Labor Day. Tours are conducted every half hour from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. seven days per week on a first-come first-served basis. Purchasing tickets for those times is only available at the cave on the day of the tour. It is common for tours to be sold out hours in advance, so groups may want to send someone up in the morning to buy tickets for later in the day.
Most of the cave's interior path is made of native material. A propane-powered 250-kilowatt generator provides power for the cave's interior lighting.
Before you visit, take a virtual tour of the cave, with photos of some of the fantastic formations seen on a visit to the cave.
Cash or check only
$8, adults (16 and older)
$6, youth (6-15)
Free, children (5 and under)
$32, family pass (for parents and unmarried children)
$4, Golden Age Passport holders
10 percent off, for groups of 30 or more
Reservations: Groups of 15 people or more can reserve tours at 9:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. each day. To reserve a spot contact Scenic Canyons at least two weeks in advance by calling 435-245-4422 or e-mailing email@example.com. Please provide the approximate size your group and the date and time you would like to reserve and someone will get back with you.
Directions: Take U.S. 89 north from Garden City, Utah, or south from Montpelier, Idaho, to St. Charles. Drive 11 miles west from St. Charles along Forest Road 412. The road is paved to its end at Minnetonka Cave. Click here for a map of campgrounds in the area.
Amenities: Flush toilets, drinking water, garbage service and a small concession stand offering soda and other snacks.
Nearby: St. Charles Creek flows down the canyon and offers good fishing for cutthroat trout. Bear Lake State Park Marina is in Garden City, Utah, and offers access to the boating and fishing opportunities on one of the Intermountain West's largest natural lakes. There is also nearby access to the Highline Trail, a 55-mile trail along the backbone of a mountain range. The trail is open to hikers, bikers, horses and all-terrain vehicles.
• To receive a 10 percent group discount, a group must include individuals from a common origin or organization that pays with one check or a lump sum in cash.
• Scenic Canyons honors golden age and golden access passes for the elderly and the handicapped.
Slide show St. Charles Canyon campgrounds St. Charles Canyon map