Caves and karst
Glacier National Park
Glacier National Park's jagged peaks soar overhead, but there is an equally impressive world beneath your feet! Home to unusual animals, extreme bacteria, and delicate geological sculptures formed over centuries, these cave systems represent a new frontier in research and exploration.
Entering caves in Glacier National Park is prohibited without a permit. This is because caves require technical skills and experience to access, and must be managed carefully to preserve their integrity and sensitive ecosystems. Resident wildlife must be protected from introduced diseases, including white-nose syndrome, a rapidly-spreading fungus that has devastated bat populations across North America. In addition, speleothems - features like stalactites that are formed by mineral deposits over many years - are individually unique to their environment, and their fragility makes them vulnerable to visitors.
Nakimu Caves are named after a Secwépemc word meaning 'grumbling spirits'. The caves were previously a tourist attraction, but after visitation declined in the early 1900s, infrastructure was removed to return them to a natural state.
Initial exploration attempts of this cave system were made in the 1970s, but since 2012, research teams have mapped many more passages, revealing hidden treasures and exciting discoveries.
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