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Cave tours at Grotto Mountain in the Canadian Rocky Mountains


Explore underground on this caving trip to Rat's Nest Cave located under Grotto Mountain near Canmore, Alberta. This wild undeveloped cave has no artificial lights, boardwalks or handrails, it is a cave in its natural state. Discover how caves form; find out how animals and humans use caves; examine stalactites, stalagmites, animal bones and fossils; learn about the geology of the picturesque Bow Valley in the Canadian Rockies.

More than one ton per second of water was pumped through this limestone cave system from extinct glaciers of the last million years. As you walk up to the cave you will look down on the Bow River as it flows along the huge glacial valley that once contained the cave-forming glaciers. Now the glacial waters have drained from the cave leaving glacial deposits, and glistening calcite formations, all of which you can view in perfect safety. 

The adventure begins in Canmore with a 10 minute drive to the base of Grotto Mountain followed by a 30 minute hike to the cave, through a scenic montane forest. The longer tour includes a short rappel in the cave. Expert guides take you on a Natural History tour of this exciting underground world - etched and sculptured over hundreds of thousands of years - through twisting passages and chambers of stalactites & stalagmites, animal bones and fossils. 

 

STARTING AT
$130.00 CAD
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TRIP DETAILS
DESTINATION
EQUIPMENT/CLOTHING
ACCOMMODATIONS
MEALS & DINING
DATES & PRICING
ITINERARY
TRIP TYPE
Cave & Canyon Tours
SEASON

Year round

DIFFICULTY
Easy / Moderate
MAXIMUM GROUP SIZE
10
GUIDE INFORMATION

Experienced and professional guides will take you on a safe tour of the caves with information on the geology as well as the natural history of the area.

RESTRICTIONS

Minimum age is 10 years old on the half day tour and 12 years old on the full day. Caving is physically challenging but no previous experience is necessary. Participants should be physically fit. 

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Not Applicable
TRANSPORTATION

Trips begin and end in Canmore, Alberta. Canmore is located about 1.5 hours west of Calgary and about 20 minutes east of Banff. 

The group meets at The Canmore Sweatshop – a local embroidery business. There is parking out front or on the street – larger vehicles are best parked on the street. The Canmore Sweatshop offers energy snacks and drinks at a nominal cost; washrooms; t-shirts, water bottles and other merchandise; plus the cave book – Rats Nest Cave. You will meet your guide here, sign the waiver and then head out to the cave only 6 km away.

 

WEATHER

Summer temperatures average from 15-25°C. Winter temperatures average from 0 to -20°C. The cave temperature is 5°C (41°F) year round.

 

REGION
Southern Rocky Mountains
PROVIDED EQUIPMENT

Caving coveralls, kneepads, gloves, helmet & headlamp. 

SUGGESTED CLOTHING

Warm but not bulky clothes that can get dirty - long pants, t-shirt/fleece, hiking boots or good soled trail/running shoes. No sandals or open toed shoes.

SUGGESTED ITEMS

Energy snacks, daypack, water bottle, disposable or compact camera.

ACCOMMODATIONS

Not included in the price but available at local hotels, lodges and bed & breakfasts.

MEALS & DINING

MEALS & DINING

Bring along your own water and energy snacks.

1 day tour, available year round.
$130.00 / per adult - CAD
Explorer Tour. 4.5 hour round trip with 2.5 hours in the cave.

$115.00 / per youth 10-15 - CAD
Explorer Tour.
1 day tour, available year round.
$165.00 / per adult - CAD
Adventure Tour. 6 hours round trip with about 4 hours in the cave and a 60 ft rappel.

$145.00 / per youth 12-15 - CAD
Adventure Tour.
PAYMENT INFORMATION
Pricing does not include: 5.00% GST.



Balance of payment is due 2 days before trip commencement.
CANCELLATION POLICY & DETAILS
48 hours notice for 100% refund. No refunds for no shows.

1 day tour, available year round.

Day 1

Meet your guide at the Canmore Sweatshop in Canmore.  Sign the waiver. Follow the guide in convoy for a 10 minute drive to the cave parking lot where you’ll pack up your caving gear then hike for 30 minutes up a mountain trail to the cave entrance. Along the trail, your guide will explain the geology of the area; how caves are formed; show you fossils to examine up close; look for bighorn sheep; maybe spot a bear or a cougar.

Inside the cave, you’ll get to climb, crawl, slither and get muddy. Soon after entering the cave you’ll go through the “Box” then on to the Five Way Chamber, the Grand Gallery and finally to the Grotto, a chamber full of stalactites and stalagmites with a crystal clear pool at the bottom of the cave. Return is via the Box.

1 day tour, available year round.

Day 1

Meet your guide at the Canmore Sweatshop in. Sign the waiver. Follow the guide in convoy for a 10 minute drive to the cave parking lot where you’ll pack up your caving gear then hike for 30 minutes up a mountain trail to the cave entrance. Along the trail, your guide will explain the geology of the area; how caves are formed; show you fossils to examine up close; look for bighorn sheep; maybe spot a bear or a cougar.

Inside the cave, you’ll get to climb, crawl, slither and get muddy. Soon after entering the cave you’ll rappel 18 m on a rope (with safety line backup) then on to the Five Way Chamber, Laundry Chute, Grand Gallery and finally to the Grotto, a chamber full of stalactites and stalagmites with a crystal clear pool at the bottom of the cave. Return is via the Box.