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Glacier National Park


Nakimu Caves
© Parks Canada

*Please note: Cavers must apply to the Superintendent for entry into any cave.

The Nakimu Caves lie between upper and lower Cougar Valley in the Selkirk Mountains, just west of Rogers Pass on the Trans-Canada Highway. The Caves are reached by hiking three to four hours up and over a mountain pass from the highway, and from there into the Cougar Valley. This constitutes an elevation gain of over 800 metres--followed by an elevation loss and gain again! This is a trip for persons of above-average fitness. Usually caving groups camp in Balu Pass and then travel down into the Cougar Valley, explore the caves, and come back up and hike out as a full day. Camping in Balu Pass is restricted to groups with permits to enter Nakimu Caves.

Visitors' efforts will be rewarded by the unique experience of descending, by the light of headlamps, into the dark labyrinth of the caves. Numerous passageways and grottos, totalling 5.9km in length, contain intriguing natural features such as soda straws, rock fluting and moon milk. Short steep scrambles and uncertain footing are characteristic of the cave experience.

Park visitors can access the caves by either joining a commercially led trip, or applying for their own entry date. Contact the Park office in Revelstoke for an application package and information. Allow one month for processing. Parties must consist of a minimum of four and a maximum of twelve people, and be led by experienced caver(s) (One guide per six cavers).

An experienced caver is capable of undertaking cave self and companion rescue, wilderness first aid trained, knowledgeable in mountain travel, and cave conservation/preservation ethics. Commercial group leaders must have a guided activity business license for day hiking, and also have a business license for cave guiding in Glacier National Park. 

Strict equipment decontamination protocols must be followed to prevent the spread of White Nose Syndrome in bats.

More insight into the Nakimu Caves experience

Important Information for Caving Applicants