Alberta's Caves

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Alberta CaveAlberta has many caves to explore.  Close to Calgary, the Rat’s Nest Cave in Canmore is one of the most popular.  You need a guide in order to access the Rat’s Nest Cave, but it is well worth it.  

If you would like to venture out to see more, here are a list of the most popular in Alberta:

  • Booming Ice Chasm in Crowsnest Pass area is 140 metres deep and 704 long. It is unique in the fact that cold air that has entered is trapped and creates a deep layer of ice on the cave floor.   It’s neat to try, and adventurous.  However, you have to be mindful of the ice that could fall from the roof. Other caves in this area are Yorkshire Pot and Cleft Cave.

  • Cadomin Cave, near Cadomin on Leyland Mountain, is 220 metres deep and an impressive 2,791 metres long. It consists of large passages and crawl spaces. The cave is predominantly under water, and may be much longer than the 2,791 metres that has currently been explored by divers. It is currently closed to visitors because of White nose syndrome, a fungal infection in bats that is transmitted easily and that kills 95 per cent of the bat colonies that become infected.

  • Canyon Creek Ice Cave, near Bragg Creek, is about seven hours' hiking distance from the parking lot, so go prepared with both caving and hiking gear. Large parts of the cave are blocked off by massive ice formations. 

  • Castleguard Cave, at the north end of Banff National Park, is 384 metres deep and a whopping 20,357 metres long. It could even be longer, but no one has explored further than that distance.  If you want to visit, you will have to go in the winter months, since there is a threat of summer flooding around the entrance. This means that most visitors go by helicopter and stay underground at one of two camps. As a result of its remoteness, the cave is well-preserved in its natural state.

  • Gargantua Cave, on the Andy Good Plateau, straddles both Alberta and British Columbia. It is 286 metres deep and 6001 metres long. At 290 metres long, 30 metres wide, and 25 metres high, it contains the largest natural cavern in Canada. It has four entrances and is often packed with ice. It is popular with cavers.

  • Near Nordegg, you will find Hoodoo cave on the Hoodoo Creek Hike. It opens into a large cavern with a passage behind and passages above. 

  • Rat's Nest Cave in the Grotto Mountain is 245 metres deep and 4003 long. It usually has slightly less ice than many other caves in the province, so it is easier to explore. You will find skeletons of various pre-historic creatures, prehistoric tools and pictures and beautiful varied travertine formations.

Join Caving Alberta. It is the safest way to explore.