unearthed

Bringing the Stories to Light


“Tell me the facts and I’ll learn. Tell me the truth and I’ll believe. But tell me a story and it will live in heart forever.”
– Native American Proverb

The cave has a story to tell. That story is unique to each and every person who visits, and it will only be told once, for despite the constant temperature, the constant darkness and the constant silence, the experience of the cave is ever-changing.

unEarthed is an opportunity to show the world that the cave is so much more than a hole in the ground. It is much more than extreme adventure, or Hollywood horror. There are so many different ways in which we can connect with this ancient space inside the Earth and so many way to let the stories out.

unEarthed | Music

Ten stories under the earth there exists a void in the rock known as the Grand Gallery. As the name suggests, your first reaction upon entering this room is a sense of awe at the sheer size of the space - how does such a large space exist so far underground?

But those first impressions are quickly forgotten when we turn off the ligths and that first note of music comes to you through the darkness. You have just climbed, crawled, wiggled, slid and scooted your way into the heart of a mountain and now here you sit in the with 23 other like-minded cavers enjoying a private performance from musicians who, along with their instruments, have just made the same trip you did.

Its raw, unplugged, and unbelievably incredible.


More Information

This once-in-a-lifetime experience combines an evening Explorer Tour with a unique performance in the Grand Gallery - the largest room in the cave. This is a rare opportunity to get up close and personal with the performers in a spectaclar but intimate setting.

You will meet your guide at the Canmore Cave Tours office in Canmore where you will get a brief overview of the evening, sign the waiver, collect your caving equipment and then drive in convoy to the cave parking lot (approximately 7 minutes away). All of your caving equipment is provided. Please see the FAQ section for more information on what is provided and what to bring.

The hike to the cave will take approximately 30-40 minutes up a moderately steep mountain trail at a leisurely pace. Once you reach the cave, you will don your equipment and head underground for the performance awaiting you. Our expert guides will share the rich history of the cave and surrounding area along the way, with stops for stories or even an optional squeeze for an additional challenge.

When you reach the Grand Gallery this cathedral-sized room will be transformed into one of the most spectacular performance venues imaginable. Just you and twenty-three soon to be great friends. Not one to be missed.

Upcoming Performances

Stay Tuned, the Fall 2017 Lineup will be available soon!

Reserve Your Spot

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unearthed | Conversations

Rat's Nest Cave has an important role to play in our world despite its best efforts to remain hidden from it. The ripples in the rock, the air we breath, the animals sharing the cave space, and even the layers of dirt on the wall all have a story to share about our past, present and future.

We are teaming up with the Canmore Museum and Geoscience Centre and an amazing group of talented presenters to help share these less known stories of the cave and its place in the world.


More Information

Conversations is a two-part experience starting with a free presentation at the Canmore Museum and Geoscience Centre. No reservations are required and all ages are welcome. You will have a chance to meet the presenter and get a great introduction to the topic of the day.

We then take the discussion underground, into the incredible classroom that is Rat's Nest Cave. Join our guest speaker on a tour of the cave and see first-hand how it plays such an important role in many aspects of our world. Your tour will include a mini-lecture in the Grand Gallery, the cave's all-natural auditorium, with plenty of opportunities to engage with the presenter.

If you are planning on join us for the in-cave presentation please reserve your spot below. You will meet your guide at the Canmore Cave Tours office in Canmore where you will get a brief overview of the evening, sign the waiver, collect your caving equipment and then drive in convoy to the cave parking lot (approximately 7 minutes away). All of your caving equipment is provided. Please see the FAQ section for more information on what is provided and what to bring.

The hike to the cave will take approximately 30-40 minutes up a moderately steep mountain trail at a leisurely pace. Once you reach the cave, you will don your equipment and head underground. Our expert guides will share the rich history of the cave and surrounding area along the way, with stops for stories, discussions or even an optional squeeze for an additional challenge.

You will spend approximately 3 hours underground, but with all the stimulating conversations and cave fun it will go by in a blink!

Upcoming Conversations

Stay Tuned, the Fall 2017 Lineup will be available soon!

Reserve Your Spot

Searching Availability...


Is there a minimum age?

The minimum age for the unEarthed Experiences is 10 years.

Is there a maximum size?

Generally speaking, fitness is more of a concern than size. However, all participants must wear a safety harness which has a maximum waist size of 46" (116 cm) and a maximum leg size of 33" (84 cm). If you have any concerns about size please don't hesitate to contact us.

What is included and what should I bring?

We provide all of the necessary caving equipment including coveralls, kneepads, gloves, helmet & headlamp, harness & safety lanyard, and backpack. The backpack will be shared by two people and will not go into the cave. We will also provide you with a Clif Bar energy bar, and a 500mL bottle of water (in a reusable bottle that is yours to keep).

You will need to bring good footwear, warm clothing, a camera (optional) and if you have any dietary restrictions, please bring a snack that you know works for you. Also, if you will require medication during the tour it is a good idea to bring 2x what you would expect to use, just in case.

Footwear must be closed-toe and should have a sturdy tread. Hiking boots or shoes are best, but a sturdy running shoe will also work. Other options include rubber boots or winter boots (in the winter)

The cave is 5 degrees celsius, so warm clothing is recommended. Imagine what you would wear if you had to spend a few hours in a refrigerator. We recommend long pants, long sleeves, a warm sweater, hoodie or jacket. Synthetic fabrics are best as they will keep you warm even if you get wet.

Any cameras going into the cave will need to fit into your pockets. We do not allow backpacks in the cave. Small point-and-shoot cameras or smart phones are welcome but please keep in mind that the cave environment is not particularly friendly towards electronics. High humidity and dust can damage equipment, and screens can break if you accidentally sit on it. Electronics are brought at your own risk.

Is transportation provided?

No, transportation is not provided. If you do not have your own vehicle we can arrange a taxi to the cave for you at an additional cost. You can use Canmore's public transit to get to our office.

How hard is the tour?

The hike to the cave takes approximately 30-40 minutes and is uphill the whole way on a mountain trail. Most of our guests find this to be the hardest part of the day, but we do take lots of stops along the way to enjoy the scenery.

Once in the cave the pace is quite slow as we maneuver through the passages. This is not a flat walking tour. There are no handrails, walkways or fixed lighting. We climb, crawl, slide and wiggle our way around the cave so it is best to have a moderate level of fitness. Even more important though is your sense of adventure!

Are there rats or bats?

Rat's Nest Cave is named after the nests of Bushy-tailed Wood Rats found in the entrance. This species of super-cute rodents is native to the area and they use the cave as a home due to it's constantly warm temperatures and protection from predators. We rarely see the rats, and if we do there is usually just one.

Bat's are rarely seen at Rat's Nest Cave. The cave is not a hibernaculum (a place where bats hibernate through the winter). We usually only see the occasional bat in the summer as they are passing through the area.

Is this tour suitable for me if I'm pregnant?

Yes, but only up until the end of the first trimester (12 weeks).

It is always advisable to seek advice from your doctor when participating in activities like caving.

Will I Need to sign a waiver?

Yes, all participants will need to complete a liability waiver. We recommend you review the waiver before booking your tour, but you will sign the waiver once you have arrived and have been briefed by your guide. Any minors must have their waiver signed by a parent or legal guardian before participating on the tour.

View and Download the Waiver

Past Events

Raine, Brett and Jeff

June 5, 2017
Rain Hamilton, Brett Nelson and Jeff Faragher in the Grand Gallery
unEarthed:Music
Raine Hamilton, Brett Nelson, and Jeff Faragher. Guitar, Fiddle and Cello. Goosebumps.

Binnu Jeyakumar - The Pembina Institue

April 22, 2017
Binnu Jeyakumar of the Pembina Institue
unEarthed:Conversations
What Does Alberta's Climate Leadership Plan Mean for Me?

Binnu led an important discussion on Alberta's plan for protecting the province's health, environment and economy.

Sarah Smith - The Calgary Zoo

March 11, 2017
Sarah Smith of the Calgary Zoo
unEarthed:Conversations
Why Should you Thank a Bat for Your Dinner?

Sarah gave us an educational and entertaining look at the role bats play in our world. Whether they give you the willies or not, they are still pretty amazing little creatures.

Elk, Run & Riot

December 18, 2016
Elk, Run & Riot during Spirit in the Mountain
unEarthed:Music
Local folk band Elk, Run and Riot joined us for our Spirit in the Mountain ad delivered an incredible holiday performance.

Valley Winds Choir

December 18-22, 2015
The Valley Winds Choir practicing for Spirit in the Mountain
unEarthed:Music
The Bow Valley's community choir wowed us with five nights of holiday cheer in our first ever Spirit in the Mountain event.