Rat's Nest Cave is situated on the south-facing slope of Grotto Mountain, roughly six kilometers east of Canmore. The subterranean site contains more than four kilometers of tunnels and a variety of geological and paleontological features, including stalactites, stalagmites, and other deposits.
Ice formtions at the Rat's Nest Cave entrance
Skeletal remains of dozens of creatures have been discovered in the cave, including paleontological specimens of birds, snakes, fish, and several amphibians. The cave also contains the remains of over 30 mammalian species. The human presence in the cave has been established by the discovery of prehistoric tools found at the site that date from roughly 3000 years ago.
If you'd like to rappel into total darkness of the Rat's Nest Cave to see it's remarkable geological formations and its rich collection of paleontological resources, Canmore Cave Tours, the local operator might be a good start. You don't have any other chance to get inside the cave anyway, as the access to it is restricted to protect the delicate environment within - since 1987, the cave has been a Provincial Historic Site.
The Bacon Strip
But don't be mistaken, Canmore Cave Tours is not another "adventure" company, they are serious cavers with a lot of experience. Chas Young, the former owner has been an enthusiastic caver going underground for 40 years in the caverns all around the world. Adam Walker, who now runs the company has been guiding in caves since 2003 and apart from the USA and Canada, he's been involved in a number of other international caving projects including the Bahamas, Mexico or Barbados.
inside the Grotto
In addition to Rat’s Nest Cave tours, Adam and the crew offer their services also in Southern Alberta in Gargantua Cave and Cleft Cave or Nakimu Cave in Glacier National Park, beautiful area rightly called the Crown of the Continent. For detailed information on the tours visit www.canmorecavetours.com or call 1-877-317-1178 (toll free in Canada & U.S.A.); 403-678-8819 (local calling from Canmore, Banff, Exshaw, Kananaskis).
Exit passage at the Gargantua Cave
The Lookout – Cleft Cave
Photos: © Canmore Cave Tours