Exploration, Inventory, Survey

Caves of Montana ProjectCaves of Montana is a non-profit project of the National Speleological Society (NSS), dedicated to finding, exploring, and surveying caves in the state of Montana. The goal of the project is to study and help preserve the state’s valuable cave and karst resources. The project places particular emphasis on documenting all work done so that other individuals and groups may benefit from the findings.

As of 2013, Caves of Montana Project and Northern Rocky Mountain Grotto members have documented over 350 caves in the state that contain more than 50 feet (15.2 meters) of passage. New caves are found every year. Many of Montana’s caves are located on public land, often in designated Wilderness areas. Montana has many significant caves, including the second-deepest limestone cave in the USA (Virgil the Turtle’s Greathouse Cave at 1586 feet), as well as a beautiful show cave (Lewis and Clark Caverns State Park ) administered by Montana’s Fish, Wildlife, and Parks division.

Cave locations are never published online and are not shared outside of the caving community, for the protection of the cave. If you would like to find caves and cavers in your area, please consider joining the Northern Rocky Mountain Grotto (nrmg.org) where you can meet other cavers, search the online library, hook up at local Pub Nights, and more!

We would like to thank our sponsors!

NSS Exploration Committee: Sara Corrie Grant

PMI rope and equipment

Mountain House Meals

Dogwood City Grotto

Dogwood City Grotto


Exploration, Inventory, Survey — 23 Comments

  1. Can you send me a list of caves where it is OK to go explore around Billings, MT. That would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

    • Hi Joseph! I would encourage you attend one of the Billings Pub Nights, where you’ll meet local cavers who will direct you to some caves. There’s one coming up on June 27th at Tiny’s Tavern – Here’s the announcement on the Northern Rocky Mountain Grotto website: http://nrmg.cavesofmontana.org/2012/06/billings-pub-night-6-27-12-at-630pm/

      As a rule, cave locations are never published online or in email in order to conserve the resource, as publicly known caves tend to be highly vandalized.

      • im looking for info or groups in the kalispell area. I know we have some great cave systems in this area but have yet to find anyone who into finding or exploring them.

        • The Northern Rocky Mountain Grotto has several active members in your area! Go to http://nrmg.cavesofmontana.org to learn about the grotto as well as sign up and become a member! In the winter months we tend to have Pub Nights in Whitefish, which is where the current President of the grotto resides! I will send you an email with his contact information.

          • So we do have caves in the Kalispell area? Everyone I have talked to said there are, they just don’t know of any, and others that said they didn’t think any were around here at all. So I have yet to confirm that caves do exist In Flathead. Aprox how many are here? Thank you! I’m excited now!!!

          • There are dozens of caves near Kalispell. Join the Northern Rocky Mountain Grotto (nrmg.org) and go to a Pub Night in Whitefish, where you will learn about them. Pub Nights are posted on the home page and on Facebook!

          • Hi there. I’m from florence MT, close to missoula and hamilton area. Would love to meet some folks and find out if there are any good caves fairly local. Thanks for any help

          • The Bitterroot is pretty well devoid of caves, but there’s some over near the Flint Creek Range / Philipsburg. Check out the Northern Rocky Mountain Grotto at nrmg.org in order to connect with other local cavers!

  2. I am interested in getting involved with any caving community that exists around Great Falls. I have some experience with caving and mapping around the Black Hills of South Dakota (I was a park ranger at Jewel Cave National Monument for three years, and was authorized to lead groups into some of the more wild parts of the cave) and would love to find out if there is a grotto presence in north central Montana and if there are any cave projects in which I could offer assistance. I understand this region doesn’t have any pub nights. All the same, is there anyone around here I could contact in order to learn more about Montana caving opportunities?

  3. I’m in the Great Falls area and looking to do some caving with my boy scout troop. I have been through lick creek cave, but was hoping to show the boys a cave that hasn’t been vandalized. Are there any active people in this area I could speak with? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  4. I would love to meet some people and get into caving. I have never really gotten serious due to lack of knowledge on where things are.

  5. Hello,
    I am very curious if there is a group of cavers in Sanders County? I have heard that there are several near my area but can’t seem to locate any resources.

    • Hi Jason!

      The NRMG (Northern Rocky Mountain Grotto) has two members that live in Sandpoint, Idaho. I do not find any members in your area by searching the NSS Member’s list, either. If you have cavers in your area, they are not members of either the grotto or the NSS. There also are not any caves located in your area, since it is largely devoid of limestone. However, there are dozens of cavers in Missoula, 75 miles from Plains. If you are interested I can put you in touch with the Sandpoint cavers! Keep in mind that for the most part, all caving activity in this area takes place during late summer / early fall, when the caves are accessible. Thanks for your interest in Montana caves! Consider becoming a member of the NRMG (nrmg.org) where you can read our newsletters and connect with other cavers!

    • Cave maps are not freely distributed. I would suggest joining the Northern Rocky Mountain Grotto (nrmg.org) where you will have access to old newsletters, maps, photos, and other people (via our Forums) that will help you get into some Montana caves!

    • TONS of cavers in the Bozeman area. Check out the Northern Rocky Mountain Grotto (nrmg.org) and go to one of the Pub Nights there, where you will meet other cavers who will be happy to point you in the right direction!

  6. Hi how goes it? I live in Lewistown Mt i love to do two things play my guitar(s) and walk around Montana and look at cool stuff caves are like the prize in the bottom of the cereal box!I have a favorite area to hike and it has a nice cave there. i heard rumors of the cave and ran around like a tattooed grinning yeti until i found it it was great and it is close(ish) to me and a fun hike there are bears out and you have to dodge them but its awesome.I would love to find some other caves to take a peek at.If you would share your knowledge i would be one happy day tripper! Thanks. happy hiking.

    • There are a lot of caves in your area. I’d suggest checking out Montana’s only caving club, the Northern Rocky Mountain Grotto at nrmg.org to connect with other cavers in your area. You can view a map of the members in your area, attend Pub Nights, and so on. You will also have access to our vast library which will give you some ideas of where to check!

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