On our recent trip to Banff, we got to do one of those experiences you will never forget in your life. The boys and I headed to Canmore for the Canmore Cave Tours. Let me tell you that while this experience was a little out of our comfort zone, it was absolutely the most amazing experience of our lives. If you have even a slightly adventurous bone in your body head over to Canmore Cave Tours for one of the Best Things to do near Banff.
Canmore Cave Tours – One of the Best things to do near Banff
*This is a sponsored post in partnership with Banff & Lake Louise Tourism. Thank you for supporting GM.
Quick Facts – Kinds of Cave Tours
The Canmore Cave tours have two different types of tours. Let’s quickly break them down.
Explorer Tour –
The explorer tour is the more mild course. The tour is 4.5 hours long with about 2 hours inside the cave itself. The ages of the tour are for anyone 10 years and above. Check Current Price Here
The adventure tour is the one we headed out on and it apparently is a bit more adventurous (I guess that’s how to put it). The tour itself is 6 hours long with 4 hours spent underground. The ages required for this tour is 12 years old and up. Check Current Price Here
A Review of The Adventure Tour
The day starts off with a visit to the Canmore Cave Tours Office. There Camden, Owen & I met our fellow travelers and guides, Ryan & Omar. Our guides got us set up with the right equipment, jumpers, helmets, knee pads (those are a real lifesaver) gloves, repelling gear, plus a Clif bar and water for the tour.
What to Pack?
There are a few things you do need to bring on the tour, that Canmore Cave Tours does not provide. These are warm clothes (it is about 20-30 degrees cooler in the caves then outside) and some hiking boots. You can also bring along a hiking stick for the initial hike if needed.
After our office visit, we all hopped in our own cars and headed about 10 minutes away to get ready to hike to the cave. The hike is actually a pretty decent hike and I recommend wearing 1-2 fewer layers on the hike as you will work up a bit of a sweat. On the hike, our guide Ryan showed us some fossils that were thousands of years old. In addition, you get to enjoy the amazing views that surround you when you are in the Canmore/Banff area. On the hike, we take a couple little pit stops for some water and also the last bathroom break (take it) as we are about to head into rats nest cave. At the top is a little campsite to pop on your gear and the guides make sure you are properly suited up.
**Pro Tip – Drink only half of your water so you don’t have to go to the bathroom while in the cave (there is nowhere to go) and then you have 1/2 remaining when done with the cave tour.
Into the Rat’s Nest Cave we go:
First off, we never saw rats. There is one little critter that our cave tour knows about that is in this giant cave, but he is very shy so you are unlikely to see him. In addition, we say no other creatures or critters such as bats, or bears as there is a giant locked gate to get into the cave so there are no unpleasant surprises that enter the cave. which was definitely a concern of mine. One of the first things you have to do when you get in the cave is clip yourself onto some ropes and shimmy your way down to the first area of the cave. There you will see several bones of animals from thousands of years ago that were in this cave. After this little adventure is when the fun really begins.
Repelling down the cave.
The first big task that will test your will is repelling down the cave. At first, I thought no big deal as our guide Ryan said it was 18 meters, then I quickly realized that he didn’t say feet and now knew it was 54 feet down I will be repelling into the cave. The guides are pros in getting us down and I felt super safe. One of the things I loved about the trip is the guides, they are constantly adding humor and several cave puns that made me chuckle (I can’t help it, I love a pun)
The optional squeezes are definitely one of the more challenging aspects of the Canmore Cave Tours. You will find yourself in tight squeezes that you can’t possibly imagine. The guides are so great in both lightening the mood to not make us feel stressed about the squeezes and also reassuring us that we will make it through. On the last squeeze, I was exhausted (after 3.5 hours of caving) and opted out, but my boys pushed on and slipped and scurried through.
Non-Optional Squeeze (The laundry chute)
The Laundry Chute is the one pretty tight squeeze where everyone has to make it through on the adventure course. This was not so much tight as it was surprising. I don’t want to give away too many details as part of the fun is the surprise.
30 Minutes of Teamwork
There is one part of the cave tour, where….. well let’s just say you are going to need to use some serious teamwork. This was one of my favorite parts of the tour. Once again I don’t want to give away too many details as it is more fun if it is a surprise, but it was my boys favorite part of the tour and was both exhilarating and somewhat frightening all at the same time.
Stalagmites Fossils & More
Throughout the cave, we found ourselves in rooms with incredible Stalagmites that were thousands of years old. Some rooms were small, and other rooms were large enough where the cave tour has actually held a concert. The cave offered some of the most unique beauty I have seen. Another highlight is when the guide took us down to where there was a pool of water (we never got wet). That cavern was covered in all sorts of beauty and the sounds it made as the water dripped into the pools was actually quite tranquil.
Climbing out of the Abyss
Finally, we had to make our way where we came from and head out of the abyss. There are definitely some challenging aspects to this part, especially since you are a bit tired, but there is no better feeling then seeing daylight. It was such an amazing adventure.
Overall review of Canmore Cave Tours
Overall, the cave tour is one of those experiences you’ll never forget. It was such a fun and incredible experience. The time I had with my boys as we were challenged and laughed will never be forgotten. The guides were extraordinary, to be able to take a group of people and challenge, entertain and make them all feel safe is a unique skill our guide Ryan possessed. One of our fellow travelers had done the explorer tour once before and said the other guide he had was just as good. So, if you are heading toward Banff or Canmore, book one of these cave tours. I promise you it will definitely be a highlight of your vacation. Check Current Prices Here!
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