Civil Defense Caves - Cave near Rexburg, Idaho
Idaho, USA,Rexburg,Idaho
44.155700076227, -111.77591085434
23.0 miles N of Rexburg, Idaho
Address: Idaho, USA
GPS: 44°9'20.5"N 111°46'33.3"W
Maps | Directions
State: Idaho


The caves are large lava tubes. The name comes from the cold war era when they were anticipated as a safe area in the case of an attack. The entrance is pretty bouldery and does require a small amount of agility. Once in, it's easy enough for even little kids. Off the entrance, there are two main tubes. The right is pretty easy, the left is a little more difficult but does have bats. The right tube is mostly a flat gravely floor with a very large arched ceiling with rocks and boulders here and there. There's plenty of room to run around. College kids often play glow in the dark tag and other similar night games out here. It's pretty well patroled due to the high interest. At the end is a little more like caverns that you can crawl around through.

The caves are pretty cold year round. You're even likely to find some ice near the entrance. You'll want to bring jackets, lights, and good footwear. Sadly there is quite a bit of broken glass throughout the caves.

The dirt road up to the caves is very rocky and often washed out. You probably want to drive something with pretty good clearance.

The caves are closed October through April to protect the bat habitat.

2.0K Edited by camilledupar
  1. Plan Ahead and Prepare
  2. Travel & camp on durable surfaces
  3. Dispose of waste properly
  4. Leave what you find
  5. Minimize campfire impacts
  6. Respect wildlife
  7. Be considerate of other visitors


From Rexburg, Idaho

  1. Head north on S 3rd W toward W 1st S (0.2 mi)
  2. Turn left onto ID-33 W (0.9 mi)
  3. Turn right to merge onto US-20 E toward St Anthony (3.1 mi)
  4. Take exit 337 toward N Rexburg (0.3 mi)
  5. Turn left onto N Salem Rd (8.5 mi)
  6. Continue onto N 1900 E/Red Rd
    Continue to follow Red Rd
    (8.7 mi)
  7. Turn right onto Crooked Rd (3.8 mi)
  8. Turn left
    Destination will be on the right
    (1.0 mi)

From Rexburg go North on the Salem Highway about 16.5 miles. Drive past the sand dunes then on the right side of the road there will be a yellow cairn (pile of rocks) indicating the turn off. It's about five miles to the caves from the turn off. On the dirt road you will come to a fork in the road. Make sure you stay left.

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Guest Review/Comments

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4/27/20 12:05 pm 9/19/19
It is extremely cold down there! Bring a jacket!


5/1/18 12:00 pm 3/5/18


3/29/18 10:11 pm 5/19/17


9/25/17 9:32 am 9/23/17
I went with a group of friends to the Civil Defense caves. It was pretty easy to find, I saw some rock markers that helped to identify turns in the road that looked like gravestones, but they could be easy to miss if you weren't looking for them. I was surprised to find that the caves, which is a lava tube big enough to climb in and around fairly easily (there were a couple of bumped heads from tight squeezes and staying too close to the wall), were not in a mountain, but underground at an angle, in what looked like a big field. I never would have guessed, had I not seen it for myself. My whole group brought flashlights, or used the one on their phones, and we were able to navigate pretty easily through the caves; there were some spots with big boulders to climb across, but they were more fun than an obstacle. I'd guess that for most of the time I was in the cave, there was easily 5' clearance over my head, making about 10' high, give or take; of course, this varies depending on your spot in the cave. It was a really cool experience, and I would do it again.


9/10/16 2:42 pm
We have had lots of fun here over the years! Just make sure you dress warm. And take lights and extra batteries. It gets very nearly totally dark in here. And it is rough terrain, so walking in the dark is inadvisable. But whether you just go in a few feet or explore all the way into the small holea in the back this a fun place to spend an afternoon.


2/21/14 11:28 am 8/4/10
A few years ago, we took our two kids ages 2.5 and 6 months. It's not really a spelunking experience but it was a great family hike kind of thing. The kids mostly rode in packs on our backs but our 2 year old got off and walked without any problem. We found some boulders about halfway in the south tube (right side) for a little picnic. We were even able to take the kids through quite a bit of the tighter portion at the end. We were the only ones there and we had a lot of fun.
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From the mouth looking left From the mouth looking left
Mouth of the cave Mouth of the cave The light at the end The light at the end Mouth looking out Mouth looking out Inside the caves by Courtney Teicheira Inside the caves by Courtney Teicheira Civil Defense Cave Entrance by Camille Du Par Civil Defense Cave Entrance by Camille Du Par Idaho Civil Defense Cave, Once a Fallout Shelter by Dual Sport Dude Caving in the Civil Defense Caves BYU-Idaho by George Simons

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