Visit the world of caves

"This is a special world where few people venture."
- Jeff Adams, Calgary Herald

Tired of Playing in the Canadian Rockies in Banff National Park? How About Underneath?

Okay, maybe you've gone skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, mountain biking, whitewater rafting, hiking, backpacking, canoeing, fishing, photographing wildlife - even scuba diving in Banff National Park. You're thinking "I've done it all." But what about spelunking?

While there is no end of activities to do above ground in the Canadian Rockies, there are things to do below ground as well, such as caving.

Both the Canadian Rockies and the Columbia Mountains, which span the border between British Columbia and Alberta - the Great Divide - are home to many caverns, from Crows Nest Pass in the south to the Prince George area in the north. The same geological activity that formed these mountains also formed its caves, making this a premiere spot for caving in Western Canada.

In what is now Banff National Park, during the Pleistocene era 1.6 million years ago, melting glaciers carved the limestone rock in the Bow Valley to create Rats Nest Cave: a 4-kilometer long cave system. These glacial waters left behind deposits, pools of sparkling clear water and glistening calcite formations, and exposed animal and plant fossils - all for you to discover on a guided cave tour.

Cave tours can be physically challenging but no experience is necessary. Participants should be reasonably fit, i.e. those who hike, bike, raft, snowshoe or ski will enjoy this adventure. Tours go all year, rain, snow, or shine - it doesn't rain or snow underground, you know. It is typically cool underground, though, so those going spelunking (that would be the technical term for caving, or cave exploration) should bring warm (but not bulky) clothes and light hiking boots.

We recommend Banff Adventures Unlimited for your guided tour of Rats Nest Cave underneath Grotto Mountain. You can take the tour with our without rappelling/abseiling down into the cave. If you opt for the rappel/abseil option, plan on six hours; if you want to skip the rappel, plan on 4.5 hours to explore the Rats Nest.

If caving and spelunking in Western Canada aren't your thing, there is plenty more to see and do in and around Banff town and Banff National Park. Just check out the links below and to the right.

More Banff Activities

hiking nice1 Banff Activities

Banff National Park and the town of Banff offer a broad spectrum of exciting activities for you, your friends and family to experience the Canadian Rockies. Get started right away with our Ten Things To Do list, and our Insider’s Guide to Hiking Banff. Click out any of the links below to quickly get information on other activities in Banff National Park.

Quick Links

Maligne Rafting Adventures
Raft Banff with Malign Rafting

Banff Adventures Unlimited
Banff Activities - Banff Adventures

Yamnuska Mountain Adventures
Hike Banff with Yamnuska

Golf Canada's West
Golf Banff with Golf Canadas West

Inside Banff Activities