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Gardner Cave / Crawford State Park

Aug 10, 2012

by Holly Weiler last modified Sep 03, 2012 03:49 PM
Type of Outing
Day hike
Read More in our Hiking Guide
Hike: Gardner Cave - Crawford State Park
Region: Eastern Washington -- Colville
Agency: Washington State Parks
Hiking Companions
Hiked with kids
"Soda straws" = baby stalagtites
This is one of the shortest hikes I have done for my 2012 Hike-a-Thon campaign, but what it lacks in distance it makes up for in uniqueness! Gardner Cave, named for its first owner Ed Gardner (a homesteader, but mostly a bootlegger), is the third largest limestone cave in Washington State. Ed Gardner forfeited the property to William Crawford following a losing poker hand; Crawford later donated the cave and 49 acres to Washington State Parks.

The park is open from 9am to 6pm Thursday through Monday, and offers guided tours at 10am, 12pm, 2pm, and 4pm each day it's open. A paved interpretive path leads to the cave entrance; once inside, a walkway extends 494' into the 1,055' cave. It's cold in there--I wore my down jacket inside the cave despite the 90 degree temperatures outside!

Arrive a little early or stay a little after the cave tour and take the additional .5 mile (round-trip) hike to the U.S./Canadian border (smile, you're probably on camera). A Discover Pass is required, but other than that there is no fee for the cave tour.
Large stalagtite formation = the frog
Tours start here--put your name on the sign-in sheet when you arrive. Then hike to Canada!
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Park season

Posted by Holly Weiler at Aug 28, 2012 11:17 PM
I forgot to mention in my trip report that the park is only open from Memorial Day until Labor Day--something about too much snow and cold weather that far north! It's a shame, since the constant 41-43 degrees inside the cave would feel positively balmy in January.

Extended season

Posted by Holly Weiler at Sep 03, 2012 03:44 PM
I'm back from another trip to Crawford State Park (helping to lead cave tours, this time!) and I found out that the Park will remain open until September 15th this year. That's Thursday through Monday, with tours starting at 10am, 12pm, 2pm, and 4pm. Show up early and get your name on the list--tours are generally limited to 25 people!

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