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Glacier National Park


Nakimu Caves
© Rob Buchanan

Nakimu Caves in Glacier National Park are closed to caving for the 2016 summer season.
The closure is required to allow Parks Canada to focus on monitoring and research that will assess white-nose syndrome in the region and the potential impacts to bats in the Nakimu Cave system. The closure will be re-assessed in Spring 2017.

*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. The caves are reached by hiking three to four hours up and over a mountain pass from the highway, and from there into the upper 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. Caving groups usually camp at 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 caving permits.

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.

Please visit this page for more insight into the Nakimu Caves experience.

Caving Party Leaders/Guides

Caving parties must be guided by one or more knowledgeable and experienced cavers. The group leader/guide(s) must be capable of undertaking cave self-rescue and companion rescue, have wilderness first-aid training, and be knowledgeable of mountain travel and cave conservation/preservation ethics. Caving parties must consist of a minimum of four and a maximum of twelve people plus two group leaders/guides (one guide per six cavers).

Contact the Park office in Revelstoke for an application package and information. Allow one month for processing.

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.

Please visit our Important Information for Cavers page for more info on caving permits and visiting the cave.