El Capitan Cave
El Capitan Cave Review
A number of large natural caverns pockmark northern Prince of Wales Island. The best known of these, El Capitan Cave, has one of the deepest pits in the United States and is open to the public. Paleontologists have found a wealth of black bear, brown bear, and other mammal fossils in the cave's 13,000 feet of passageways, including some that date back more than 12,000 years. The Forest Service leads free El Capitan tours several times a week in summer. Tours take about two hours. It takes some work to get to the mouth of the cave but, if you're up for a 1,100-foot hike up a 367-step stairway, it's well worth the effort. The rangers don't rush and give visitors plenty of time to catch their breath along the way by discussing the intensely lush forest that surrounds the cave area. Reservations are required at least two days in advance, and no children under age seven are permitted. Bring a flashlight and wear hiking boots or rubber boots. A light jacket is also helpful, as the cave gets quite cool.
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