I’ll be honest. When we headed to Lewis and Clark Caverns State Park after having to cancel Glacier National Park due to rain, I was still pouting. I was sure this stop would offer nothing interesting, and was pining after the snow covered vistas I had missed out on. This little park proved me wrong though. It’s ample ranger programs, beautiful scenery and adventurous caverns instantly won me over, and we ended up having a great time at this fun-filled Montana park.
Lewis and Clark Caverns State Park was established in 1938. Within this 160 acre park lies the Lewis and Clark cavern. Tours are given daily, although there are not set times, but they try to keep waits to 30 minutes or less. The tours last two hours, 45 minutes of which is a steep and rather strenuous climb up to the entry of the cave. There is no handicapped access, and much of the cave tour requires you to bend, stoop, slide and even crawl. Prices are $10 for adults and $5 for children.
This State Park is one that actually has rather active Ranger programs. While we were there, there was a night time program that included a nighttime Ranger walk to listen for animals that go bump in the night. There was also a day time bird watching program that lasted several hours, and a nighttime program that included storytelling of the area’s homesteaders by an author.
The campground here has 43 sites, some of which include electricity. There are flush toilets and fee showers, where $2 will get you a whopping 4 minutes. Beware though, there is no way to adjust the temperature of the water and it was pretty hot while I was in there. The playground here is really great, and centrally located, the boys played on it for hours. Sites are $20 for campsites with electricity and $15 without per night, and can be reserved online.
Two visitor centers give information about the park, its plant and wildlife, as well as the caves. Close by, there is a small fishing access area, as well as an old mine. When driving to the park, the huge blasted out hole in the side of the mountain is hard to miss. You can park there, and climb up to the hole and the abandoned mine below, but be aware that it is a very strenuous climb without a clearly defined trail, and the rocks can often slide and slip out from under you. It is fun to explore the old mine and blasted out cave though, and is worth the climb if you can make it.
Lewis and Clark Caverns State Park has a lot to offer visiting families. From Ranger led programs to cave tours, there is plenty to keep you busy in the shadow of the Montana mountains.