Nestled among the stunning crystal clear waters of Utah’s Caribbean of the Rockies, lies an underground world of natural geological wonders waiting to be discovered. The Idaho and Utah landscapes around Bear Lake are surrounded by a surreal world of underground caverns and waterways, clifftop caves, hidden hobbit holes, and fragile ecosystems dating back millions of years.
Many of our guests flock here for winter snow sports, world-class fishing, Bear Lake watersports, and endless summer activities and events – but some of the most spectacular nature experiences in Bear Lake are beneath the surface! Whether it’s a fascination for speleology (the study of cave systems!), a passion for adventurous spelunking, or a family day exploring the great outdoors with the kids, you’ll find cool caves to explore around Bear Lake. Here’s our guide to epic cave exploration experiences in our beautiful Bear Lake Valley.
Distance from Bear Lake: 21.8 miles
Situated just across the Utah border in St Charles Idaho, Minnetonka Cave is the most well-known cave in the Bear Lake Valley and a must-see attraction during your Bear Lake vacation. This massive karst limestone cave features half a mile of breathtaking geological wonders with thousands of stalagmites, stalactites, banded travertine, and underground waterways spanning nine deep dark caverns.
Guided 90-minute tours are available from 10 AM to 5:30 PM, seven days a week, from Memorial Day through Labor Day. With 888 stairs on the round trip, the cave hike level is moderate to strenuous, but the rewards are remarkable!
Paris Ice Cave
Distance from Bear Lake: 28 miles
Tucked in the higher elevations of Paris Canyon in the Bear River Mountains, the Paris Ice Cave is a cool spot to take a break from summer activities on Bear Lake! Yes, even in the heat of Bear Lake’s summer, the pinnacles of ice in the vertical limestone cave never melt.
There are no guided tours, you can visit any time of day, in any season, just be sure to dress warm and bring a flashlight! The caves are roughly 10 miles from the mouth of Paris Canyon with a short hike to the caves in summer, or a lengthier snowshoe hike or snowmobile adventure in the snowy months.
Distance from Bear Lake: 22.3 miles
Ricks Spring is a unique natural attraction located on a scenic drive south on Utah’s Logan Canyon National Scenic Byway (U.S. Hwy. 89). There is a pull-out on the side of the road with a river crossing to the grotto, a small natural spring, and an interpretive sign about the area.
The cool little cave, to the left of Ricks Spring, is only accessible between April and November and requires an easy rock climb and a headlamp for cave exploration. When the caves were first discovered in the 1850s, it was believed to be pure mountain spring water, however, Ricks Spring is contaminated by the Logan River – please do not drink.
Distance from Bear Lake: 28.8 miles
If you’re traveling to Alta with kids, the Hobbit Caves is a family-friendly cave hike in Logan Canyon leading to tiny kid-size hobbit caves for a cool cave experience right out of Lord of the Rings! The Hobbit Caves are accessible from May to October and are reached on a scenic drive from Garden City through Logan Canyon. Turn right onto Right Fork Canyon Road for roughly 0.4 miles to a parking pullout on the side of the road. The fun begins with a small waterfall and safe river crossing, then simply steps to the caves. The caves may be too small for mum and dad, but the kids will be lost in a world of hobbit holes!
Distance from Bear Lake: 32.5 miles
Set high on a canyon wall a few miles south, the open Wind Caves are a stunning sight to see with the reward of sweeping views down Logan Canyon. The 1.8-mile Wind Cave Trail is one of the most popular hikes in Logan Canyon so arrive early to avoid the crowds.
The moderate hike gains around 1,000 feet in elevation to the collection of open limestone caves with natural skylights and amazing views. Fun fact, the Wind Caves were actually formed by water erosion, not wind! The Wind Cave trail is open May through October – but is extra special during fall foliage season. The perfect option for claustrophobic cave explorers!
Distance from Bear Lake: 39.5 miles
From the Lodge Campground near Hobbit Caves on Right Fork Canyon Road, a right-hand turn takes you through Crowley Canyon to Providence Cave. Perched high above Logan Canyon, the Providence Cave is a spelunking experience for advanced outdoorsmen! The road in is not easy, the cave is deeper than expected and at times difficult with several tight spots, but beautiful Logan Canyon views along the way!
Timpanogos Cave National Monument
Distance from Bear Lake: 155 miles
Learn about the “Legend of Timpanogos” on a ranger-guided tour of the underground world at Timpanogos Cave National Monument in American Fork Canyon. Situated 35 miles south of Salt Lake City, Timpanogos Cave is the most famous cave system in Utah with three limestone caverns adorned with unique stalactites, stalagmites, and amazing natural underground features. Open only from mid-May to mid-October, the caves are only accessible on a 3.5-hour guided tour which includes a steep and strenuous 1.5-mile trail with several flights of stairs and an elevation gain of 1,100 feet! If you’re traveling to Alta via Salt Lake City, this is one of the coolest cave hikes in Utah!
There’s nothing claustrophobic about our Bear Lake Premier Cabin rentals! Our spacious cabins are designed and equipped for the ultimate vacation in Bear Lake Utah – sprawling decks with gorgeous lake views, outdoor hot tubs, kids’ playgrounds and games rooms, Bear Lake beach access, and comfortable interiors to accommodate 50+ guests under one roof!
Begin your Bear Lake Valley cave exploration and spelunking adventures with our team at Bear Lake Premier Cabins today! We represent a hand-picked collection of premier Bear Lake vacation cabins with a local team to ensure your stay is exceptional!
When it comes to cave exploration, don’t settle for cramped quarters! Find the ultimate “man cave” with Bear Lake Premier Cabins!