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“Beautiful, Easy-Going, and Fun”
Review of Big Four Ice Caves

Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Reviewed September 1, 2013

My fiancee and I wanted an easy going fun hike to get outside the city for a bit and we chose this on a Saturday afternoon. Nestled back in the Mt. Baker and Snohomish National Park there is this gem of nature. It is marked by signs for Ice Caves and the Big Four comes from the name of the peaks surrounding. It is a easy going hike 1 mile in and 1 mile out. No problem for pets, kids, older members of the family, you'll see all types. There is a pleasant river you pass and then you get to the ice caves. The cold air billowing from the caves is invigorating and you can see the water streaming down the walls. There is a water fall up above feeding into the cave and don't forget the sweeping view behind you.

This hike costs $5 if you don't have an annual pass. There is wonderful views of the forest and mountain peaks throughout the hike. It was not even it's busiest while we were there from the looks of the parking lot and it was still a good group of folks there. There are facilities at the start of the hike.

2  Thank Christopher B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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"easy hike"
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"short hike"
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"ranger station"
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"picnic area"
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"warm air"
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"day trip"
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"elevation gain"
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"north cascades"
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"board walk"
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"family friendly hike"
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63 - 67 of 91 reviews

Reviewed July 29, 2013

We went to the ice caves on July 28 2013. There wasn't much of any caves yet but still a huge glacier with waterfalls flowing above, every year I'm surprised with how many people go here. When I was a little kid there was only one parking lot and now two, there were cool little footbridges all over and now big strong bridges and nice clear paths, my point is, it's well maintained so the whole family young and old and dog can go. It's a great walk or picnic any time of the summer with the cool breeze coming off the glacier and beautiful wilderness but if you want to see caves I suggest going in late August to ensure decent caves. Be careful though many people have died going in the caves from falling ice, but always cool to look at and enjoy nature.

Thank Qsroom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 29, 2013

The ice caves are best seen in late summer (July - Sept). Usually before July the caves haven't really developed yet (depending on the weather). As a local I have been in the caves many times and enjoy the waterfalls along the cliffside. Please be aware of the dangers of climbing on the caves or going inside the caves late in the summer. They are known to collapse. We only go inside if we know the ice is thick (early in the season) and no one is climbing around above. Please use caution and keep track of your kids. The hike is easy, short, and there are great picnicing areas. Northwest Forest Pass is required at the trailhead for parking. Permits are available at the Verlot Ranger Station.

1  Thank ginabeth
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 10, 2013

My wife and I and our puppy (4-month old lab/ border collie mix) did this hike on a partly cloudy, warm, pleasant Saturday morning in late June. There was abundant parking available in the large trailhead parking lot. There are self-pay envelopes at the parking lot that you can use to pay the day use fee ($5 if I recall correctly), but if you don't carry around small bills, be advised to stop at the ranger station you will pass 15 miles beforehand to buy your day pass.

The trail is very easy and well-maintained, and features some picturesque wooden bridges and one longer metallic bridge. As of late June, the ice caves were still hidden by snow, but as far as I am concerned, the setting at the end of the trail is spectacular even without the ice caves visible. Impressive rock faces with streams of water coming down them; abundant greenery. Our puppy loved running around on the snowfield (her first experience on snow) . . .probably the lowest elevation snow you'll find anywhere in the area in the summertime.

The trail was fairly crowded; if the parking lot were full, the trail traffic would probably turn the experience into an unpleasant one. There were a lot of dogs (including ours), all well-behaved. Kudos to the Forest Service for allowing dogs on the trail (their friends who administer the National Parks do not allow dogs on trails at most National Parks, even though they do allow horses, mules, and llamas . . .go figure). Lots of kids. Several older folks who might not get around as easily as they once did, but for whom this trail is very feasible.

If you are seeking quiet solitude, my advice would be go on a weekday or go early or late in the day.

1  Thank kwa829
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed July 3, 2013

I grew up going here. I remember when we used to be able to go to the end inside to the waterfall. We also used to climb waaaay up on it.
VERY DANGEROUS now. Don't climb on the roof of the cave. The entrance to the cave is now only about 3 feet high.
The walk is very nice. They have done a lot of trail,bench and bridge work to improve the hike. Tons of trees have been cut (or fallen) and cleared from the path.
Take bug spray! Take $10 to put in the box by the walkway entrance and put the ticket on your car. Nobody was there to watch if you pay or not, but our parks really need the money so they can keep the trail useable.
There were several other families there, and once you are at the caves be careful not to slip. The heat was felt through the trees, but it was very refreshing at the top.
Sit and enjoy the view!

1  Thank SmallWonders
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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