June 20, 2012 Update: Due to significant geographic progressions of white-nose syndrome in bats, and as per consensus of a provincial white-nose-syndrome working group (Alberta Parks, Parks Canada, Academia, Alberta Fish and Wildlife), the Parks Division is temporarily closing Cadomin Cave via Ministerial Order. They will be installing a locked metal gate over the cave’s entrance, designed to prevent human access but to facilitate bat movements to and from the cave.
Entrance elevation 1891m, Length 2791m, Depth 220m.
No one knows who discovered Cadomin Cave, but it had probably been known to local natives for centuries. It is thought to have been visited by prospectors early in the 1900s, and people have been visiting it ever since. The cave is named after the nearby village of Cadomin, which comes from the acronym for Canada Dominion Mining. Exaggerated rumors of the extent of Cadomin Cave abound. It is even said that in the old days, miners used to ride through the cave on horseback all the way to Miette Hotsprings, some thirty kilometres away as the crow flies, just to take a dip! Although the truth is somewhat more modest, Cadomin Cave has long been popular with outdoorsmen keen on a little different type of adventure.
The first known survey of the cave was performed in 1959 by WL Biggs and RS Taylor, who produced a fairly accurate map. When the Alberta Speleological Society was formed in 1968, Cadomin Cave was one of only a few caves known in Alberta, and had already been heavily vandalized. The Alberta Speleological Society commenced a thorough exploration, resurvey and documentation of the cave’s extent, while at the same time organizing several cleanup trips to collect litter and remove spray-painted graffiti in an effort to keep the cave presentable for other visitors.
There have been several attempts to establish guiding services for Cadomin Cave, and even a few proposals for development and commercialization. Concurrent with this has been growing interest from Alberta Environment, Fish and Wildlife, the University of Alberta and other bodies interested in the natural history of the cave and its population of bats. The Alberta Speleological Society became official stewards of Cadomin Cave under Alberta Environment’s volunteer stewardship program in 1997, and conducted graffiti removal and garbage collection, participated on several ‘bat counts’, and assisted the Alberta government with management planning for the cave and surrounding area. With the creation of Whitehorse Wildlands Provincial Park in 1999, Cadomin Cave and its bat population received legal protection. A program of limited trail development and signage currently exists to assist people with their visit to the cave.
Today Cadomin Cave still bears the scars of years of overuse by humans. Virtually no cave formations remain; all is brown and muddy. However its large passages continue to attract people intent on exploring its depths, learning about caves, and enjoying the experience of total darkness.
Caution: Cadomin Cave is a wild cave, not a commercial or developed "Tourist Cave". The 1.5 hour hike to the entrance ascends 300 metres over steep terrain that can be muddy and slippery. You must be physically fit, have proper footwear and clothing, and have taken proper safety precautions. T-shirts, shorts & running shoes are not appropriate clothing to be going caving in (see Going Caving? and Cave Guiding).
Cadomin Cave is closed to visitors after the September long weekend (Labor Day) until May 1st, to protect the bat colony during its fall/winter hibernation season. Persons found at Cadomin Cave during this time period may be charged by Alberta Provincial Parks, who do monitor the area. Information on White Nose Syndrome