Civil Defense Caves

Now that I’m back in Idaho, I get to share some cool adventure spots I’ve found with you guys. For any of you who are in eastern Idaho and want to know some fun places to check out, I will be posting a new place every week. It will sadly have to be once a week, since it will take me some time to get to outside to those places.

So, a favorite place for BYU-Idaho students is the civil defense caves. These caves have a bit of history to them; during the cold war, the caves were planned to be used as a fallout shelter just in case the enemy decided to send nuclear missiles our way. The caves also have some life in them, if you look closely you’ll find there’s a white bacteria on the cave walls. Luckily it isn’t harmful to humans. However, I would still wash your hands before eating anything just to be on the safe side.

Something most people don’t know about the caves is that there are two paths. The first one goes straight back to a pit like area where people are known to throw parties. This path is the most traveled one, and you can tell by the graffiti that is sprayed along the cave walls. While this upsets a lot of people, the caves still have a natural beauty to them that you wouldn’t want to miss. The second path is less traveled and has less graffiti. So, if you want to enjoy the caves with less paint, there is another route. This path will lead you to an opening out of the caves. The picture I have here is the end of the second pathway.

Walking the caves takes about an hour to two hours, regardless of which path you decide to take. The first path is the most noticeable because it goes straight back. The second path isn’t as noticeable and is really easy to walk past. To find the second path, once you step foot into the caves, you make a sharp left and do a U-turn to get onto it.

There are other caves in the area, and something I was told when I first went to the civil defense caves was: don’t go to multiple caves in a day. The reason for this is that there are little brown bats in the caves that can get white-nose syndrome. The caves that have this disease, don’t have bats in them because it kills them. If you go through that batless cave then go to a cave with bats, you run the risk of killing all the bats in the second cave. So, when caving, think about the bats and stick to only one cave. I promise one cave will fulfill your adventure craving.

A heads up for anyone who’s going through the caves for the first time, the road out there is rough, so make sure you have a high centered vehicle to make it to the cave opening. Also, the caves can get a bit chilly, so bring a jacket. On the plus side, the caves stay the same temperature all year round, so if you want a chill activity to go do during summer, go to the caves.

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