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Idaho's Mammoth Cave

775 N ID-75, Shoshone, Idaho 83352 USA

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“The biggest show under the Earth”

Idaho's Mammoth Cave is located at the same location as the Shoshone Bird Museum of Natural History, located 8 miles north of Shoshone Millions of years ago there was a violent volcanic eruption north of Shoshone, Idaho. Rivers of molten lava flowed out of the depth of the earth filling a valley 600 feet deep with lava. One of the rivers got blocked off at the head and the molten lava flowed on leaving a hollow tube.  Idaho's Mammoth Cave came into existence. Thousands of years went by. Vegetation grew back. Strange animals lived in the area; camels, little horses, mammoths, strange cats and bears.  A section of the cave collapsed leaving an opening. Bears began using the cave. Stone age man began to use the cave for shelter and a place to preserve their meat in the cool temperature.  The bones of many different bears were found on the floor of the cave. Many broken bones of buffalo, camels, and little horses were found also.  In 1902 some early settlers stumbled onto the cave opening. They didn't have flashlights so they used torches.  They left their names on a wall of the cave with the charcoal from their torches.  In 1954, Richard Olsen, a senior in high school, and his girl friend Veneda, were hunting bobcats in the area. They came onto the entrance of the cave. Richard hiked the 11/2 miles to his car on the highway and got a flashlight.  They headed down into the cave. When they couldn't see the light from the entrance any more, Veneda got scared and started crying. They explored the whole cave with Richard holding her hand, with her crying all the way in and out. Richard had to see what was around each bend. Richard expected to find a great treasure at any time.  Richard got title to the cave under the Small Tract Act and raised mushrooms in the cave for several years. The cave was so majestic and beautiful. He opened it for the entire world to see.  Richard and his wife Linda have had people from every country on the earth come to see the cave.  In the sixties, during the Cold War, the government approached Richard and asked for the use of the cave for a civil defense shelter for people to come to get out of radiation if the United States was attacked.  The Mountain Home Air Base was a target because of the big B52's loaded with hydrogen bombs that it always had ready to fly if we were attacked. They said they would gravel a good road to the cave if Richard would let them put food and supplies in the cave for 8000 people. They built a large platform and supplied food there for the next 20 years  Idaho's Mammoth Cave is not an ice cave, but probably was one for hundreds of years before the vegetation covered the black rock. It maintains a temperature of 41 degrees during both the winter and summer months. It is, at this time, the largest volcanic cave in the world open to the public. Hence the name Idaho's Mammoth Cave, because it is so large.  Several caves in the world have a life form that grows on the walls giving it the appearance of pure silver. Idaho's Mammoth Cave is one of these rare caves. How the life form got here will always be a mystery. It is beautiful to see. Many mineral deposits with their many colors add much beauty to the huge cavern.

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Reviewed by

  • 18 Reviews
  • 4 Helpful
July 22, 2020
Rated 5.0

Awesome! We got to explore the caves as a family as they just hand you lanterns and let you walk the path in the cave. The museum there was also insanely impressive. Well worth it.

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by

  • 1 Review
  • 0 Helpful
September 04, 2017
Rated 4.0

We went in a 40' RV and the mile and a half gravel road is rough going in and out, but I'd say worth it for the off-the-beaten trail experience! Bizarre stop! Cash only, btw. Good cell signal ironically! There's a great collection in a circle hut that literally is like 20 museums in one and it's just crazy amazing with many species (even a giraffe!) of stuffed animals, fossils, dinosaur bones, ancient artifacts, etc etc You could spend hours in there! Oh, yes, then there is the cave itself! Just so cool, especially with the "fallout shelter" sign at the entrance! Not handicapped accessible in the least bit and not small-child friendly. We had a toddler who did pretty well but we were careful to go slow and hold hands as the path is slippery and falling away in places. A truly awesome experience! We'll be back :)

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Reviewed by

  • 2 Reviews
  • 0 Helpful
June 22, 2017
Rated 5.0

Visited in 2010. This place was found by chance and we loved it! The cave was short, but refreshingly cool in the heat. It also had a fascinating museum filled with oddities and curiosities in every corner. A bit dusty. The owner carves large rocks outside which add more excitement to the exhibits. I really love this place and can't wait to visit again in 2017!

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Reviewed by

  • 1 Review
  • 0 Helpful
January 07, 2017

Visited in 2003 i think was amassed to see the writing in tar on the walls of early settelers names and dates Hepper 1843 etc

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Idaho's Mammoth Cave

775 N ID-75
Shoshone, Idaho
83352 USA

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  • Parking
  • Pets Allowed
  • Restrooms
  • Wifi
  • Wheelchair Accessible
  • Credit Cards Accepted
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