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Minnetonka Cave, Saint Charles

(4.5/5 based on 50+ reviews on the web)
Minnetonka Cave is one of the larger limestone caves in the state of Idaho. It is located in Cache National Forest in Bear Lake County, Idaho, United States, above the village of St. Charles (located at the north end of Bear Lake). Tours through the cave are offered from Memorial Day (weather permitting) through Labor Day by Scenic Canyons Recreational Services, the concessionaire that holds the special use permit from the United States Forest Service. The half-mile route through the cave is lined with stalactites and stalagmites.The cave is a hibernaculum to five different species of bats. One species, the Townsend's Big-eared Bat (Corynorhinus townsendii), while not on the endangered species list is on the lists of both the State of Idaho and the Forest Service as a species of concern.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • We loved this place. I almost hate to review it and keep it as a secret. The hike was easy if you would even count it as a hike. The formations were awesome. Stairway to heaven was a bit hard for a fe...  more »
  • Love going to this cave. Lot of fun and very interesting. It is a seasonal thing so make sure you plan ahead, sometimes it can be very busy, definitely recommend making reservations. Worth the effort.  more »
  • Do you hate light? Do you love stiff air? Do you love hanging out with bats and thousand-year-old formations? Are you interested in testing the limits of your claustrophobia? Well, then Minnetonka Cav...  more »
Google
  • Costs $8 per person to get in. You get a tour guide and a group of about 30 people. According to the guide the cave is about 1 mile long but sadly you only get to see half of it. They turn you around and walk you out the way you came which is awkward since you have to interrupt other tours to squeeze by. My main problem with this location is that the guides don't seem to have any training. It feels like they recruited a local high school kid to walk you through and tell you some really basic history and then spend a magority of time teaching you the nicknames they have given to the cave formations. Nicknames like "popcorn" and "cave bacon" (a repugnant name for a truly beautiful and delicate ribbon - like formation). This is fine but there is no followup with true names or scientific anecdotes so when it's over I'm feeling empty inside. The cave is great, the tour on the other hand is severely lacking. Also, this cave needs to be fully developed. This is a grievance I will take up with the forest service though. Cave tours are run by a private company.
  • Pretty awesome experience to go deep into the cave and learn about the history of the first explorers to the cave. Guided tours that have specific times and the unfortunate reason as to why it is 4 instead of 5 stars is they only accept cash or check, a bit annoying. Great formations inside the cave, a bit on the cooler (temp) side as expected. Overall a cool experience.
  • Dj was a great guide and it was a neat tour. They should add a room were they turn off the lights and turn on blacklights. $8 a tour. 30 in a group. No credit cards so cash or check only
  • This place was super cool. It's like 8 bucks a head, but it's a gridded tour and the caves are pretty neat
  • This is a fun cave to check out while a Bear Lake. It does have over 400 stairs which you end up doing twice since you come out the way to go in. My four year old daughter enjoyed it.