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“Candlelight tour is not to be missed.”

Lewis and Clark Caverns State Park
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Helena, Montana
Level Contributor
114 reviews
18 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 66 helpful votes
“Candlelight tour is not to be missed.”
Reviewed December 23, 2013

Over the years I've seen that the caverns do candlelight tours in December and have always wanted to do that. Well this year we managed to get tickets, mentioned it to a few friends and ended up with a group of thirteen of us going on the tour. While the Lewis & Clark Caverns is Montana's first State Park, and is fascinating any time, it is closed for the winter except for a few days in December where the candlelight tours are available for limited tours.

Starting out in the visitor center, there was a fire in the fireplace and coffee, tea, cocoa and cookies while we waited for our tour guide.

The 3/4 mile hike to the cave entrance is not cleared, but there was enough foot traffic to keep it pretty easy walking. The tour was a little different than during the summer season as we needed to be very quiet entering and exiting so as not to disturb the hibernating bats.

The first half of the tour was with the electric lights and the guides flashlight. At about halfway, we light our candle lanterns and the lights were extinguished and we made our way through the caverns with the type of light that the early cave explorers used. It was a VERY interesting experience. As we approached one of the last large rooms, we started to hear music. Christmas music was playing and they had some of the cave formations decorated in Christmas lights that was a special surprise.

Everyone in our group had a great time and it was well worth the $15 each price of admission. I will definitely do this tour again.

Visited December 2013
3 Thank CharlesS916
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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343 reviews from our community

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Las Vegas, NV
Level Contributor
32 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 95 helpful votes
“Great little side trip on the way to Yellowstone”
Reviewed November 24, 2013

My original vacation plans called for a boring 300-mile drive from Choteau, Montana to West Yellowstone, with the expectation that we would do our sightseeing the next day. While looking on the map, I stumbled upon "Lewis and Clark Caverns", and googled it. Looked kinda cool, and it broke up the monotony of the drive for the kids, so I planned to stop there.

What a great decision!

First off, I should explain that this is not necessarily a "destination trip". That is, don't drive hundreds of miles out of the way for this, or you might be disappointed. However, if you're driving to Yellowstone via Helena or Butte, or if you just happen to be driving in the area on I-90 anyway, you should DEFINITELY stop here.

The caves are really interesting, and the guides are knowledgeable and enthusiastic. The whole thing will probably take you about 2 hours.

I will go on to explain the concerns expressed in some of the other reviews.

1) Is the walk to the cave difficult? No. It is up a hill, and you will get hot if it's a warm day, but it is not treacherous and does not require any sort of climbing. If you are slower (either because you're with very young children or just a slow walker), you can take off ahead of the rest of the tour. We did this because we had a 2-year-old. To give you an idea, I am in my 40s and never exercise. I was able to do this walk without difficulty. However, if you are obese or really old, you might not want to do it.

2) Are the caves cold? Yes, but a light-medium jacket will do just fine. You will be walking around in the caves, so that activity will keep you warm. I actually took off my jacket at one point, despite it being 48 degrees in there. (This was also because I was hot from the walk up!) Do NOT be deceived by the temperature outside! The cave is always around 48 degrees, regardless of the outside weather.

3) Is there tough climbing/sliding within the case? Sort of. There is nothing terribly treacherous or dangerous, but some parts can be fairly tough on taller people, and you will be doing some sliding/squeezing through tight spots. If you have severe claustrophobia, back problems, or flexibility issues, you should NOT take this tour. However, the average adult should have no problem with this, You will also not be in small spaces for very long (you will just briefly pass through them), so even people with mild claustrophobia should be fine.

4) Is this good for kids? Kids 5 and up, yes. Younger than that, no. It just isn't a safe place for them. I was constantly having to carry/hold my 2-year-old, which made it very tough on me. I also had to constantly watch that he wasn't going to fall over the sides. He also created a few disruptions, as the cave echoes easily and loud kids are REALLY heard, My kid isn't even badly behaved or hyperactive, but he stuck out like a sore thumb there. If your child is under 5, I would suggest skipping this attraction. (By comparison, my 2-year-old LOVED Yellowstone, and fit in there very well.)

The walk back is very easy, by the way.

Lewis and Clark did not visit these caverns, so don't go there for that reason.

Visited July 2013
14 Thank pokerpro05
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Conrad, Montana
Level Contributor
7 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Just like I remembered”
Reviewed October 7, 2013

It is an awesome experience but a long hike up on a hot day. Something that everyone should see at least one time.

Visited September 2013
Thank BettyHarold O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Miami, Florida
Level Contributor
107 reviews
59 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 47 helpful votes
“Not our cup of tea”
Reviewed September 27, 2013

Plain and simple. Don't go if you are of the opinion that Lewis and Clark passed through these caverns because they didn't. The name of the
State Park can be misleading. Was a long drive for us to get there. We'd been to the Luray Caverns and enjoyed them and supposed that since this place had namesakes of Lewis & Clark, we might visit it also and the possibility of L&C being there would be an added treat......we aren't history buffs but hadnt recalled Lewis and Clark being in any caverns but figured we weren't know it alls so we'd drive out there & find out. If you just wanna go in the caves and hike, go for it. But if you're following in Lewis and Clark tracks as best as possible, land permitting, you can omit going to this place. We like caverns but were following their trek thus the caverns were not for us on this trip thus not our cup of tea. I only rated it a 2 because its name is misleading in my opinion.

Visited July 2013
2 Thank Sandy305
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Not as hard as the reviews said”
Reviewed September 9, 2013

I was really nervous about this tour after reading some of the reviews here. The "hike" is nothing more than a walk up a paved trail. Yes, there is a slight incline, but anyone who is moderately healthy can probably make it up without an issue. The caves were SO cold, I'd recommend bringing a sweater & a long sleeve. We did not get dirty inside the caves at all, nor did we find any areas to be a tight squeeze. You had to duck your head a few times and be aware of your surroundings, but that's all! Interesting tour, felt it ran a bit long, but was pretty cool to see and seemed to go by quickly.

Visited August 2013
2 Thank BirdieWanders
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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