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Minnetonka Cave, Saint Charles

#31 of 94 in Nature in Idaho
Cave · Nature / Park
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). “Minnetonka” is a misunderstanding of the words Mni and Tanka, derived from one of three Indigenous dialects: Dakota, Lakota or Nakota. “Mni Tanka”, pronounced (Mini-Tah-“nasal n”-Kah) translates into “Big/Large Water”. 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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Minnetonka Cave reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
87 reviews
  • Interesting to visit. The hike into the cave can be strenuous, especially wearing a mask. Reservations are needed and you must be at the cave to make them. Beautiful canyon and a fun experience.  more »
  • We've done caves before, but this was amazing. Lots of history of the steps being built and my IWatch said I did the whole days exercise in the 2 hour tour. They recommend jackets, but I say take.....  more »
  • Cool (literally and figuratively) experience. Beautiful inside. Tour was long enough to be worth the trip but not so long as to be exhausting or boring. Our guide was knowledgeable and funny (love the puns). A little too steep and slippery for our 3 year old. They aren't kidding when they say dress warm, even in summer, it's 40 degrees inside year round.
  • Amazing hike and our guide was the best. We ended up being the last tour of the day so for a good portion of the trip we had the entire cave to ourselves. I could not recommend this place enough

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