The best known of the large natural caverns that pockmark northern Prince of Wales Island has one of the deepest pits in the United States. 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, 2-hour tours of El Capitan Cave several times a week in summer. It takes some work to get to the cave's mouth, but if you're up for a 1,100-foot hike up a 367-step stairway, it's well worth the effort. The rangers pause along the way to give visitors time to catch their breath. Reservations are required at least two days ahead, 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.
Mile 51, N. Prince of Wales Rd., Prince of Wales Island, Alaska, 99925, United States