Oregon Trail-Bear Lake Scenic Byway
Minnetonka Cave (ID)
Minnetonka Cave is the largest commercially developed limestone rock cave in the state of Idaho, and one of the highest, with an entrance elevation of 7,700 feet.
The developed part of the cave contains nine separate "rooms" or chambers. The largest of these chambers is called the Ballroom, measuring more than 300 feet across and 90 feet high.
Some of the cave's most interesting features are the deposits of lime which form stalactites and stalagmites. Many of these interesting formations have been given names, such as the "Ballerina," and the "Bride and Groom." The oldest (and largest) of these are the "Three Sisters." Other intriguing formations are known by some as the "Wedding Ring", the "Gold Coins" in the Treasure Room chamber, "Miss Piggy's Tail" and "Kermit's Castle."
If you plan on visiting Minnetonka Cave please DO NOT wear any clothing (including shoes, hats, belts, jewelry) or bring any items with you (such as cameras, backpacks, cell phones, purses, etc) that have been in another cave or mine.
Due to the westward spread of White Nose syndrome (WNS), restrictions on clothing and items that have been in other caves are currently in place at Minnetonka Cave to prevent introduction of this bat disease into Idaho. It is possible for humans to spread the disease between caves if clothing or equipment has been exposed to the fungus. Leaving clothing or other items that have been in another cave or mine at home will help protect bat species inhabiting Minnetonka Cave. Introduction of this disease into Minnetonka Cave would devastate local bat populations, and in the event of a cave closure, greatly impact local economies.
For more information on WNS and its current impacts to bats in North America visit http://whitenosesyndrome.org/.
- Public domain. Photo by A. E. Crane