For a unique Alaskan experience, tour under the forest. A geologic treasure 400 million years in the making lies beneath your feet. Caves, sinkholes and pits have formed a vast karst landscape—weathered limestone bedrock. El Capitan Cave, the largest of more than 500 caves on the island, offers a trip back in time.
For the free two-hour tour, meet Forest Service guides at the cave interpretive site. After their brief talk about formation and mapping of the cave and scientific discoveries, pick out a helmet, headlamp and flashlight—and climb. The trail zigzags up boardwalk stairways, with rest stops along the way. On the deck at the cave, guides outline safety and everyone turns on headlamps. The first 50 feet of the passage squeezes between boulders and a low ceiling; the cave then opens out.
The floor can be slippery; wear sturdy shoes or boots with good traction. The temperature in the cave is in the low 40s. The tour goes about 500 feet into the cave. Guides provide you with information about cave formation, speleothems (cave features), cave biology and fossil finds. Questions are welcome.
Trip Idea: Combine a trip to El Capitan Cave with a stop at Whale Pass a, Beaver Falls Interpretive Trail, and Neck Lake.