Flyers for Lewis & Clark Caverns State Park promote it as “a colorful underground wonderland built by water, limestone, and time.” While its namesake explorers never ventured inside, the caverns overlook more than fifty miles of trail that the Corps of Discovery traveled (along the Jefferson River) in 1805. During FDR’s New Deal era, the Civilian Conservation Corps developed it for visitors and the site was formally dedicated in 1941.
Today, visitors can tour the caverns, exploring its many geological wonders. Stalactites, stalagmites, helicites, and columns – these formations are both bizarre and beautiful, and have been in the making for millions of years. Knowledgeable guides provide an entertaining and educational overview of the area May through September, and for those unable to take the two-mile trip inside, the park offers a shortened version called the “paradise tour.”
In addition to the caverns, the park incorporates 3,000 acres for hiking, biking, camping, and more. A deli, gift shop, and dog kennels are located within the park, with two visitor centers and plenty of staff onsite.
The Lewis & Clark Caverns also feature numerous events throughout the summer. A guest lecture series takes place on Friday evenings through September. Bat Week, August 13-20, features talks, walks, tours, and workshops, all dedicated to bats. The last 2017 Music Day in the Park will be held August 26, 10am-6pm with a variety of local musical artists.
The Lewis & Clark Caverns State Park is located at 25 Lewis & Clark Caverns Road in Whitehall. For more information, visit stateparks.mt.gov or call (406) 287-3541.