Bear Trap Cave

Total Miles
18.3

Elevation

1,451.84 ft

Duration

1.5 Hours

Technical Rating

2

Easy

Best Time

Spring, Summer, Fall

Trail Overview

The road to Bear Trap Cave follows the Minidoka-Arco Road. The road changes conditions frequently depending on weather and the amount of traffic. It is an easy road but can be muddy and washboarded at times. The trail begins where farmland ends and leads you through a southern Idaho desert landscape full of sagebrush and lava flows. Watch for antelope, grouse, and many other animals along the way. As you progress down the road, notice the rock cairns on the horizon that the local sheep herders use for navigation as they lead their grazing sheep herds through the desert. There are sweeping views from the higher points of the road where you can see several buttes, large lava flows, and the different mountain ranges that surround the area. At the end of the trail is Bear Trap Cave, a large lava tube that is easy to explore for all ages and a pleasant respite from the heat in the summer months. Bring a flashlight and you can make it to the back of the cave. Be aware of snakes during the warmer parts of the year.

Photos of Bear Trap Cave

Bear Trap Cave
Bear Trap Cave
Bear Trap Cave

Difficulty

This is a mostly gravel road but depending on weather conditions and the amount of recent traffic, it can be washboarded and muddy with shallow ruts in some places.

History

Bear Trap Cave is part of a lava tube which can be traced for almost 15 miles. Lava tubes form in the center of a flow where molten lava has not yet solidified as it has on the edges and on the surface. When the source of lava is cut off, the river of lava flows out the end of the tubes, leaving an empty lava tube. The Bear Trap lava tube probably originated from Wildhorse Corral along the Great Rift. Approximately 15,000 years old, Bear Trap Cave is older than Wapi flow (2,270 years old) and Craters of the Moon flow (as young as 2,070 years old). -Bear Trap Cave Sign

Technical Rating

2

Status Reports

Isaac Loveland
May 04, 2024
2015 Jeep Wrangler
Open
Dusty

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