Washington has many accessible cave systems that you can check out. But no two are exactly alike and if you’re looking for something well established and truly unique you’ll want to visit Gardener Cave. It’s a fully illuminated cave system and best of all, it’s free!
Gardener Cave is located within Crawford State Park in Metaline Falls, Washington. It also happens to be the third-longest limestone cavern in Washington at just over 2,000 feet. Meaning you can walk among stalactites, stalagmites, rimstone pools, and flowstone that were 500 million years in the making. Pretty dang cool right?
A long metal staircase and series of platforms guide you safely along the cave pathways with lights illuminating the unique formations. You’ll want to keep your eyes peeled because trust us, these rocks are anything but ordinary.
In fact, the unique formations that you see in the caves were actually created by dead sea creatures decomposing over time which created an ooze that eventually became limestone. Among these formations is the caves 7.8-ton column which happens to be the largest in the Pacific Northwest. And if you really want to get a closer look be sure to bring a flashlight with you when you visit. But be sure not to touch the formations.
Now we know you’re probably already packing your bag to give Gardner Cave a visit. But hold your horses because if you want a free tour you’ll have to schedule ahead of time, keeping in mind that the cave doesn’t open until May 15th. But don’t worry because you can find all those details by visiting the caves website. And if you do decide to go, be sure to bring layers because the cave is around 39 to 42 degrees Fahrenheit.
When: May-September, Cave tours daily 10 am, 12 pm, 2 pm, and 4 pm
Where: Crawford State Park Heritage Site, 10381 Boundary Road, Metaline Falls, WA 99152
Cost: Park entrance $10 Discovery Pass, Tours are free