I mean – hell – it’s literally a hop, skip and a jump over the border; basically on my doorstep and I had never heard of it until just last month.
What are the Big Four Ice Caves? They’re naturally formed caves located on the north face of Big Four Mountain. Snow sloughs off the mountain in the colder months (aka an avalanche chute) and spring temperatures yield snow-melt streams which emerge from carved-out tunnels. Warm summer air further melts the ice but the shadow of the mountain prevents the caves from fully melting.
So…just as soon as summer comes and the caves are accessible, let’s get in a car and go explore. Who’s with me?
Images by the very talented photographer Michael Matti, via Flickr:
CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
How to get to Washington’s Big Four Ice Caves
From Vancouver, head south across the border and continue along I-5. Then, go east on Mountain Highway Loop via Granite Falls. Drive 34-km east of Granite Falls. The trailhead is just past Silverton. At just 2.2 miles, the trail to access the caves is quite short with minimal elevation gain.
Thinking about making a weekend of it? Instead of driving back to Granite Falls, continue counter-clockwise up Moutain Highway Loop. I’ve stayed in nearby Darrington and it was seriously cozy cabin vibes.
Before You Go
It wouldn’t be right if I didn’t make mention of this: an 11-year-old girl died here in 2011. Use caution and never climb atop the caves.
Read the trail report here: WTA.org/go-hiking/big-four-ice-caves
Have you been to Washington’s Big Four Ice Caves? Let me know – please (pretty please) leave me a comment below. We can carpool.