Go Caving in Canmore, Alberta: Exploring the Rat’s Nest Cave


It’s better than it sounds.

If you’ve ever taken a trip to Banff in the Canadian Rockies, chances are you spent a whole lot of time looking up. After all, this is a place known for its massive mountains, glaciers and crisp blue sky.

After you’ve been up the Gondola, have played in the mountains and are ready for something different—it’s time to do down. Way down.

Caving in Canmore with Canmore Cave Tours is an experience you shouldn’t miss. I recently got the chance to explore the Rat’s Nest Cave with Canmore Cave Tours. Here’s what the experience was like.

Prepare for an Adventure

Caving in Canmore is no joke – this is going to get messy. And physical. And fun.

You’ll start your cave adventure first in the office, where you’ll be outfitted in a super flattering red jumpsuit, as well as gloves, and a backpack with a harness and ropes.

You will NOT get shoes, so plan accordingly! I wore tennis shoes thinking they’d be great in the cave. They were, but I was slipping and sliding all over the mountain on the hike to and from the cave due to snow and ice, so pay attention to the conditions outside!

First, You Hike

After you’ve got your gear and you’ve teamed up with a buddy, your journey to the Rat’s Nest Cave will also include a 45 minute hike uphill. It’s not that bad, I promise.

Initially I was super worried about the hike, thinking it was going to be really hard. But the guides do a great job of pacing you and the group, and stopping here and there for photos and explanations. Remember to wear the right shoes!

entering the rats nest cave

Entering the Cave

Before you get into the cave, you’ll have to suit up. The guides will explain how to put on your harness and rope, etc, and after that, you’ll be off!

To get into the cave, you’ll need to climb a pretty slippery wall using a rope and some fancy footwork. Don’t worry, it’s not that bad!

After you’re in, you’ll learn how to hook your carabiners to ropes, and then the thrill begins.

The Thrills

I don’t want to give away too much, but when you visit Rat’s Nest Cave you’ll be participating in really thrilling activities like: sliding down rock walls, squeezing yourself through tiny holes, and worming your way down vertical stairs.

Your arms and legs will definitely be tired by the end of it, but you’ll also have a ton of fun. How often do you have the chance in life to scoot on your butt, get really dirty and see awesome cave formations?

It’s Not Weather Dependent

Because the cave is insulated and stays pretty much the same temperature year round, you’re able to go caving rain or shine.  This is awesome because of where you are in the world –the Canadian Rockies are not known for predictable weather.

This is a great adventure you can do year round!

The Guides Make it Fun

I have to give a big shout out to the owner Adam, who literally carried me down the mountain on his arm after I kept slipping and falling in my crappy tennis shoes that were not made for snow. Thank you Adam!

The guides at Canmore Cave Tours are professional and fun. They push you to challenges you didn’t know you could do (spoiler: you can!) while also ensuring your safety and teaching you a bit about the history of the cave and its formations.

All in all, it’s an awesome day out and I strongly recommend it as an activity when you’re in Canmore or Banff.

Have you been caving before? Where in the world did you try it?


About Author

Kelly Lewis is the founder of Go! Girl Guides, the Women's Travel Fest and Damesly. She's an optimist, an adventurer, an author and works to help women travel the world.

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