| For an experience
under this world, visitors shouldn't pass up the opportunity to visit
Cody Caves Provincial Park in the Selkirk Mountains, on the west side
of Kootenay Lake.
to mid-September, depending on the condition of the road, this unique
park is dedicated to preserving a cave system and an underground
stream flowing through ancient limestone formations. Cody Caves
Provincial Park also has an outside display, a day-use area, and
some hiking trails.
Due to the
extremely delicate nature of the cave formations, and to protect
the inexperienced caver, the underground experience is available
by guided tour only. Cave tours usually depart on the hour with
the first tour at 10 am, and the last tour at 4 pm daily, from July
1 to the end of August. Helmets, headlamps and gloves are provided
at the cave mouth. Visitors must come equipped with sturdy outdoor
footwear and warm clothing.
The caves in
the Cody Caves System are fascinating. About 875 yards (800 metres)
of passageways are explorable, revealing impressive displays of
various types of calcite formations, such as stalagmites, stalactites,
moonmilk, soda straws and waterfalls, bacon strips, rimstone dams,
galleries and chambers. A regular one-hour tour requires no reservation,
and special 3-hour adventure tours can be arranged for groups of
four to six persons.
The Cody Caves
were discovered in the early 1890s by Henry Cody, while out prospecting
for silver. The caves were the subject of a short story written
by Roger Pocock in 1899, titled The Noble Five, which described
a cave whose inner chambers were walled with gold ore. The caves
grew in popularity and were visited by many locals and curious individuals
including, in 1908, the governor General of Canada, Earl Grey.
walled with gold, the caves do contain an impressive display of
calcite formations that are extremely old and have been growing
at an average rate of about one cubic centimetre per century. The
cave itself began formation when limestone beds laid down almost
600 million years ago were thrust upward by mountain building forces
that occurred around 170 million years ago.
Provincial Park is located on the west side of Kootenay Lake, off
Highway 31, about 2 miles (3 km) north of Ainsworth Hot Springs.
The caves are reached by driving 8 miles (13 km) along a steep but
well-marked road that is sometimes rough in places.
road is unsuitable for low-clearance vehicles, motorhomes, or vehicles
with trailers. Guiding and transportation companies in nearby Kaslo
can accommodate the transportationally challenged.