The Discovery Tour is a 2-3 hour interpretive hike designed to introduce our guests to the incredible history of the Bow Valley. Highlights of the tour include “catch and release” fossil hunting, wildlife tracking, spectacular mountain views and a visit to the entrance of Rat’s Nest Cave where you will see ancient pictographs and bones.
The tour is designed with families in mind as it is suitable for all ages, but it is also a great option for those who just don’t have quite enough time for a full cave tour.
To help you futher dive into the local history, ticket prices include a free pass to the Canmore Museum and Geoscience Centre.
You will meet your guide and the rest of your team at the Rat's Nest Cave trailhead near Canmore to sign the waiver and collect your hiking equipment (Directions will be provided at the time of booking).
The hike all the way to the cave entrance is moderately strenuous and participants should have a good level of fitness. The hike takes place along a rugged mountain trail, gaining approximately 200 meters in elevation in approximately 1 kilometre. It is important that everyone who will be hiking has appropriate footwear for the hike, and appropriate clothing for the weather. When near the cave all hikers will need to wear a safety helmet.
The pace and length of the tour is dependent on the abilities and interests of the group. If everyone is having so much fun hunting for fossils and getting to the cave isn't a priority, then we can hunt for fossils the whole time! Small children unable to walk the whole distance must be carried in an approved backpack due to the rough nature of the trail.View and Download the Waiver
|Tour Start Time||Meet your guide at the Rat's Nest Cave Trailhead|
|10 min||Prepare and pack equipment and begin hiking.|
|2 hr 30 min||Fossils hunting (catch and release only!), wildlife tracking, geology, biology, natural history, visit the cave entrance, fun, fun and more fun!|
|3 hrs||Return to trailhead and depart for Museum (if you want to).|
**Times given are the approximate time from the start of the tour
The Discovery Tour is an interpretive hike to Rat's Nest Cave, and does not venture beyond the entrance of the cave. You will have the opportunity to briefly visit the "twilight zone" where you can see pictographs and bones, but the majority of the tour will be spent exploring the approach trail to the cave.
There is no minimum age for the Discovery Tour, however small children who are unable to walk to whole distance must be carried in an approved backpack. For safety reason due to the nature of the trail near the cave, groups with very small children may not proceed all the way to the cave.
We provide all of the equipment necessary for exploring the entrance to the cave including helmet, harness & safety lanyard, and backpack. The backpack will be shared by two people and will not go into the cave.
You will need to bring good footwear, clothing suitable for the weather, and a camera (optional, but recommended). Mountain weather can be highly unpredictable and change very quickly. A day that starts warm and sunny can quickly becaome cool and rainy (or even snowy) without warning. Please ensure everyone in your group has an appropriate rain/outer jacket.
Please also bring at least 1 litre of water per person, and more if the day is expected to be very warm. A light snack is also recommended and could include energy bars, trail mix, durable fruit, etc.
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.
The cave is 5 degrees celsius, so warm clothing is recommended. Imagine what you would wear if you had to spend a few minutes in a refrigerator. 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.
No, transportation is not provided. If you do not have your own vehicle we can arrange a taxi to the trailhead from Canmore for you at an additional cost.
On the Discovery Hike, we kick it into low gear and savour the trail up to the cave. You will gain 200m of elevation over approximately a kilometre and a half distance, however it will be at a mellow pace with numerous stops along the way. You should expect uneven, uphill terrain throughout the hike, and the upper section of the trail includes a steep canyon where we walk along slabs of rock with ropes in place to assist with balance. We typically take about 1 -1.5 hours to reach the entrance of the cave.
Yes, as long as this level of activity does not dramatically exceed that to which you are accustomed.
It is always advisable to seek advice from your doctor when participating in activities like hiking.
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
It's as easy as 1-2-3! Simply select the date and tour time that you'd like to reserve, fill in your personal details and then make payment via credit card. That's it!
The system will automatically send you a confirmation of your tour with the relevant details and it will even send you a reminder two days before your tour so you don't forget!
For bookings of 8 or fewer we require a minimum of 48 hours notice to cancel with a full refund. Due to bank processes it may take a few days to a week to see the refund on your account. At the time of cancellation you will receive a confirmation that your reservation (or a portion of your reservation) has been cancelled.
For groups larger than 8 we require a minimum of 14 days notice for cancellation with a full refund.
In the event of extreme weather, or due to the unforeseen lack of appropriate staff we may cancel a tour for your safety, at which point we will fully refund your reservation and do everyting in our power to help you find a suitable alternative activity.
During the booking process we will ask you for your Full Name, e-mail address, phone number, and postal/zip code. We use your contact details in case we need to update you on your reservation for some reason, and we find that occasionally some payments will not complete correctly due to a missing postal code.
We will never share any of your information with another organization, nor will you receive communication from us that does not pertain directly to your reservation. We don't like SPAM either. During the reservation process you may choose to opt in to receive our monthly newsletter, which contains stories from the cave, notional and international caving news, offers and upcoming events. You can always unsubscribe at any time.
When you book your experience online with us you will be able to select the date and time of the experience while on our website and then you will be asked to enter your contact details and agree to our terms and conditions.
With all of this complete, the next step will be to make your payment, at which point you will be taken off of our website to a secure page hosted by our reservation system. You can tell that the website is secure by the green lock located in the address bar. Please do not send payment information via e-mail or any other digital messaging as we cannot gurantee its safety. If you'd prefer, we can take credit card payment over the phone.
Liability waivers are an unfortunate but necessary part of any adventure activity. We recommend that you take the time before your tour, or even before your reservation, to thoroughly review this legal document.
Anyone participating in a Canmore Cave Tours activity must complete a liability waiver, including minors. In the case of minors, it is very important that a parent or guardian also reads and signs the waiver.
For youth groups where a parent may not be present on the tour we can arrange for the waivers to be signed ahead of time, or an adult who has been granted guardianship by the parent can sign the minor's waiver (in loco parentis). In all other cases the waiver should be signed at our office in the presence of your guide once you have received your pre-trip briefing.
We're always happy to help answer your questions and choose the best experience. We can also recommend other great activities or restaurants to compliment your cave tour.Contact Us
"My son absolutely LOVED it."Read More
“Discovery Hike in Bow Valley, Rat's Nest Cave with almost 4 year old”
Reviewed By: Pauline H
Since there doesn't seem like there are that many reviews on this non Cave hike, I wanted to share our experience. I wasn't sure what to expect; the website says, "The hike takes place along a rugged mountain trail, gaining approximately 200 meters in elevation in approximately 1 kilometre" so I called up Canmore Caves. The lady I talked with assured me that the guide would pace the group accordingly and she was a mom herself, and very understanding of littles.
Lynda guided our group of 3 adults and an almost 4 year old on the Discovery Hike in Bow Valley. There were two additional adults, one being an older lady, so essentially a private tour. My son absolutely LOVED it. I was concerned that he would refuse to walk and demand to be carried, but he was so excited to see the next thing, that was never an issue. We got to see bear paw models and did fossil rubbings. Lynda (and Max who we met up with briefly) are excellent tour leaders are very knowledgeable about the local flora, fauna, and rock formation. We all had a fantastic time and most importantly were very impressed how carefully Lynda guided our son down the tough parts of the hike.