You Need to Know About Washington’s 500 Million-Year-Old Cave
Gardner Cave located in the farthest northeast corner of Washington State was dubbed a "natural wonder" by a federal land survey crew that first mapped it 111 years ago in 1911. It's a 500 million-year-old 295-foot-deep cavern that runs about 2100 feet long, it's considered to be one of the most fascinating caverns this side of the Mississippi River, and it is one of the longest caves (behind the Ape Caves) in Washington.
You Need to Register Online to Tour Gardner Cave
Gardner Cave is the main attraction located inside Crawford State Park. It's a day-use-only fee park, which means you'll need a Discovery Pass to enter or pay the daily entrance fee. Although you can enter the 44-acre park to enjoy one of the 10 picnic areas (first come first serve) and other facilities, you will need to register online and time your arrival to coincide with one of the tours which begin at 10:00 a.m., noon, 2:00 p.m., and 4:00 p.m., Thursday through Monday (closed Tuesday and Wednesday). I would definitely call the information line to confirm times and to be sure the Cave is open before beginning the long drive to the park - (509) 238-4258.
What's it Like Inside the Gardner Cave and What Should You Bring?
Your Tour Guide will take you into the depths of the Earth with walls of stalactites (spike-like substance), stalagmites (pillars), calcite deposits that appear like flowing water, and rimstone pools. These will be highlighted with special lighting and your guide will point these beautiful features out as you make your way through. Flashlights are not required, but young children might enjoy shining light into the darker areas. Finally, it is recommended you dress with layers - the temperature drops to 39 degrees in some areas of the cave during the cooler months. Hiking shoes are recommended.