Candlelight tour at Lewis and Clark Caverns State Park

Lewis and Clark Caverns State Park Candlelight Tour

This post may contain compensated links. Find more info in my disclaimer.

This post is sponsored by Montana State Parks.

The Lewis and Clark Caverns State Park candlelight tour is one of the highlights of the holiday season.

The candlelight tour and Lewis and Clark Caverns State Park is our new winter tradition.

For six days every December, Montana State Parks opens this Montana cave for a special event tour. Except for this special event, the cave is open from May- September, while the park is open year-round.

We got to take part in the Lewis & Clark Caverns candlelight tour and found it to be magical. I understand why people go year after year and make it part of their holiday tradition.

Even the regular Lewis and Clark Caverns tour is really nice – the cave is highly decorated and chock full of stalactites, stalagmites, flowstone, soda straws, columns, helictites, and even some cave bacon. There is something special and extra about seeing it by candlelight.

Lanterns glowing in a cave

Candlelight Tour at Lewis and Clark Caverns, Montana

Here’s what you need to know to plan your own winter trip to the most famous caves in Montana:

🕯 Get your tickets from ReserveAmerica starting the Monday after Thanksgiving. They sell out, so don’t delay.

🕯 Give yourself extra time to drive up to the caverns in winter conditions. The road is plowed, but it’s steep and winding.

woman holding a lantern overlooking Lewis and Clark Cavern State Park in winter

🕯 Check in at the upper visitor center, enjoy hot cocoa and cookies by the fire, meet your guide, and get your lantern. There is a heated, vault toilet in the parking lot.

🕯 From the visitor center you walk ¾ of a mile, uphill 300 feet through the snow to the cave entrance. It’s not a rush, though. You get 30 minutes to get there and the view is beautiful throughout the trip.

two boys walking up a snowy trail on a candlelight tour

🕯 The temperature in Lewis and Clark Caverns is about 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 Celsius) year-round, which feels pretty cozy in the winter. It’s over 90 percent humidity, which always feels really moist.

🕯 The first ⅔ of the cave tour is with lights on. There are 500 stairs descending a nearly vertical 400 feet, and a few tight spots.

boy holding lantern in a Lewis and Clark cave
Since everyone has their own lantern, there is quite a bit of visibility.
lanterns and colored lights in Lewis and Clark Caverns Park
Colored lights add a celebratory feel to the Paradise Room.

🕯 Then, you’ll light the candles in your lantern and take the rest of the tour by candlelight.

🕯 After the tour, walk about 1/2 mile, mostly flat trail back to the upper visitor center. If you want to learn more about the cave and the Montana State Park, stop at the lower visitor center before or after your tour. 

lanterns in a cavern

🕯 The whole tour lasts a minimum of two hours and you’ll walk about two miles. 

🕯 Visit the Lewis and Clark Caverns State Park website for more about the park.

Two boys and a woman standing next to a sign for Lewis and Clark Caverns State PArk Montana

FAQ about Lewis and Clark Caverns State Park 

How long does it take to walk through Lewis and Clark Caverns?

You must visit Lewis and Clark Caverns on a tour, and the tour lasts around two hours, including the walk to and from the cave.

Is Lewis and Clark Caverns worth visiting? 

Lewis and Clark Caverns is a highly decorated limestone cave system and one of the largest known caves in the Northwest U.S. There is a lot to see and it’s well worth a trip. 

What is the temperature inside Lewis and Clark Caverns? 

The temperature in Lewis and Clark Caverns is about 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 Celsius) year round and over 90 percent humidity.

How deep are the Lewis and Clark Caverns? 

Its maximum measurements are 600 feet long and 400 feet deep. Because it winds around and on top of itself, it is many miles long.

How do I make reservations at Lewis and Clark Caverns? 

Make reservations for tours, campsites, yurts, and group day-use areas at ReserveAmerica

Subscribe for updates of our blog.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

TravelingMel is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to,, Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of, Inc. or its affiliates.

Scroll to Top