Minnetonka Cave

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Minnetonka Cave
Minnetonka Cave.JPG
Minnetonka Cave, administered by the U.S. Forest Service
LocationBear Lake County, Idaho, United States
Coordinates42°5′14″N 111°31′07″W / 42.08722°N 111.51861°W / 42.08722; -111.51861Coordinates: 42°5′14″N 111°31′07″W / 42.08722°N 111.51861°W / 42.08722; -111.51861[1]
GeologyKarst cavern, Mississippian Limestone
TranslationBig/Large Water (Lakota/Dakota/Nakota)
Pronunciation(Mini-Tah-“nasal n”-Kah)

Minnetonka Cave is one of the larger limestone caves in the state of Idaho. It is located in Cache National Forest in Bear Lake County, Idaho, United States, above the village of St. Charles (located at the north end of Bear Lake). “Minnetonka” is a misunderstanding of the words Mni and Tanka, derived from one of three Indigenous dialects: Dakota, Lakota or Nakota. “Mni Tanka”, pronounced (Mini-Tah-“nasal n”-Kah) translates into “Big/Large Water”. Tours through the cave are offered from Memorial Day (weather permitting) through Labor Day by Scenic Canyons Recreational Services, the concessionaire that holds the special use permit from the United States Forest Service. The half-mile route through the cave is lined with stalactites and stalagmites.

The cave is a hibernaculum to five different species of bats.[2] One species, the Townsend's Big-eared Bat (Corynorhinus townsendii), while not on the endangered species list is on the lists of both the State of Idaho and the Forest Service as a species of concern.[3]


  1. ^ Montpelier RD, Caribou-Targee NFs map
  2. ^ "Minnetonka Cave on the Montpelier Ranger District" (PDF). United States Forest Service. Retrieved 2007-04-06.
  3. ^ "Drafts Species Account" (PDF). Yolo Natural Heritage Program. 2009. Retrieved 2011-01-12.

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