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More Pictures From This Hike

Big 4 Ice Caves, Mt. Baker National Forest-Snoqualmie Trip Report
January 11, 2003

(22) User Reviews

More Pictures From This Hike!

John Munyan

126 Review(s) to Date

John Munyan John is an avid hiker, spending a goodly portion of his time up in the hills, or sitting in front of a computer.

  • Either way, most of what finds his eye is green, or blue, - organic, or lcd.
  • John likes this website, hopes you do too, and invites you to write a review of a couple hikes you've done!

  • zzzlyle

    24 Review(s) to Date

    zzzlyle I live in Federal Way, WA and I enjoy getting out into the great outdoors and hiking and would someday like to make it to the top of Mt. Rainier. When I can't get outside, I'm the IS manager at a marketing firm in Kent.

    Directions: From Seattle drive north on Interstate 5 to Exit 194/City Center/Stevens Pass. Drive six miles east on US 2 to the Highway 9 exit near Snohomish. Follow Highway 9 north to US 92.Turn right and follow US 92 eight miles east to Granite Falls. At the end of town, turn left (north) on the Mountain loop Highway. Drive to the Verlot Public Service Center and another 14.5 miles to the Big Four Picnic Area on the right (south) side of the road.

    Trail notes: We started off on this hike not wanting to do anything strenuous and Big 4 Ice caves fit the bill. I haven't often found myself up in the vicinity of Verlot but have heard the stories about the Big 4 Ice Caves. Living up to its billing, the Big 4 Ice caves are an easy magnificent way to spend an afternoon. The hike starts off on a mix of boardwalk and highly maintained trail. You don't gain much elevation, soon finding yourself on what appears to be a pretty marshy plateau facing Big 4 Mountain itself. It certainly does rise up, and at first glance no doubt the scale of the mountain will be lost seeming smaller than it is. Upon closer examination its size 6,153-foot peak will set it.

    As you approach the headwall there is evidence of avalanche run out, and some small Ice Caves. These are the smallest of the Ice caves, which progressively get larger moving to the West, or to the right as you approach Big 4 Mountain. As you move more to the West you will start seeing more Ice walls which are fairly transparent with that tell tail blue-green hue. Some of these are Ice Caves are quite large, and would more accurately be labeled Ice tunnels.

    The largest and perhaps the coolest cave here is in the Western corner measuring about 250 feet in length with a ceiling about 80 feet above. At the far end of the tunnel approaching big 4 Mountain is a stream, which it appears had a pronounced effect on how these Ice Caves have formed. I wouldn't advise walking in these caves since there is ample evidence of these Ice Caves collapsing. If you are really are desirous of hiking through the Ice Caves themselves do yourself a favor and do this exploration in the Winter January-March when the Ice caves are their most solid.

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    Fun!

    Reviewed By: Geneveve on Tuesday, September 14, 2010 @ 02:19:59 PM

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    I love the ice caves, and go there every year at the least. It's about a 45 minute hike, and there's only a couple puddles after it has rained. They now have a lower trail to accomidate for the washed out trail, and the bridge has been rebuilt after the avalanche. My mom took her class on a hike up there, and they all loved it! There are many MANY signs that tell people to NOT go in or on the caves. Grace Tam's death was plainly a freak accident. She didn't even die at the two main caves, she died to the right, after you go up the rocky hill. I learned this from a ranger. Also, there is a Geo cash up there, to the left. This hike is easy and fun! I recommend it for all ages. The only difficulty was probably the little makeshift bridge, but it's sturdy enough. It's best to go in anywhere from spring to fall. When I went, the Ice caves had melted so much you could see the back of one! This hike is awesome!

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    Loved It!

    Reviewed By: Kari Jones on Thursday, June 24, 2010 @ 12:23:41 PM

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    I thought this hike was amazing! There was actually an avalanche that took place while we were there. Waterfalls, beautiful! Natural ice caves, spectacular. I plan on taking friends on this hike again in the future!

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    insane

    Reviewed By: Anonymous on Tuesday, February 23, 2010 @ 07:36:10 PM

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    this was a very hard hike i would not reccommend it for any kids or elderly people.i died on this hike and i am a decently athletic guy, i can run a 4.45 minute mile but, man this hike was tough. good views though!!

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    Great Hike

    Reviewed By: Naomi on Tuesday, August 25, 2009 @ 06:57:22 PM

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    This was a great hike for someone just looking for a day outside.  It was easy and beautiful.  However it was very populated and the huge aluminum bridge was out of place in the middle of nature. 

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    Ice caves

    Reviewed By: Bill Mugrage on Friday, August 21, 2009 @ 06:34:30 PM

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    The bridge has been repalced and is no longer out. This is a real easy hike about a mile in length one way with a very well maintained trail. Great hike for all ages.

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    Not the best

    Reviewed By: Zinger on Friday, June 19, 2009 @ 02:28:13 PM

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    Review: Maybe this is good if you have kids, but if you're into hiking there are many other snowy adventures that are much more worth the trip. If you're in the area and looking for something to do, fine, go to the ice caves, but I wouldn't make a special trip out to see them.

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    Great Hike for Kids

    Reviewed By: John Porcaro on Monday, September 29, 2008 @ 10:31:00 AM

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    Our favorite hike with my four kids, we've been there three times with kids ages 6-12.

    The bridge is out as of Sept 7, 2008, but the river was quite low (maybe 12-15 inches at deepest part of crossing). BRING SANDALS, crossing in bare feet in very cold water with sharp rocks is painful!

    Great hike even for younger kids, beautiful trail. Lots of the trail is in shade, and wind coming off snow can be chilly, even on a warm day.

    $5 to park, pick up parking pass at Verlot Ranger Station, there's a machine there that takes credit cards or cash.

    Recent pictures on Flickr, including our water crossing, bridge, and the snow caves.

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    easy hike

    Reviewed By: Robie on Saturday, August 2, 2008 @ 11:25:52 PM

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    went there a couple years ago. is real easy and fun. good hike for young ones. caves are great. nice and cool after the hike during summer.

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    Bridge washed out

    Reviewed By: Stefan on Wednesday, July 30, 2008 @ 01:55:54 PM

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    We wanted to to this hike with kids however we were told the bridge has not been repaired yet. According to a ranger at Darrington Ranger station the temporary bridge will only be available by the end of October '08.

     

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    OOkie pise!

    Reviewed By: Chad Cuntface on Sunday, June 29, 2008 @ 10:39:30 PM

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    I saw the birth of christ on the cave.  Sounds good eh? You;d be amazed what that kind of place can do to a man.  I just can't take the pressure anymore. It seems like they still know I was there. I really can't tell. I hope the tres's can forgive me because if not, this  is all moot.... but who k nows....  

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    Dangrouse Hike

    Reviewed By: Stefani Ortiz on Thursday, May 22, 2008 @ 09:16:35 AM

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    i went on a hike with a girl named Britany Fanswroth, my bestest friend in the whole wied wrold and in that day we went on that long hike we hird something really horeble it was like a huge buggey man and we saw it it was green with blue dots alover him and he had the hugest pinpule on his face any ways all of a sudden he started to talk to us and he said that he was nice and if we would let him sleep with us at are tent and of course we said yes cause we didnt wont anything to happen to us and he slept in the middle of me and britany and gusse what he puched britany of a cliff that was SO SCARY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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    didn't see the caves

    Reviewed By: nick098090 on Sunday, March 9, 2008 @ 01:57:59 PM

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    2008 02-23 was a bad time of year to visit the Ice Caves.  While I didn't make it all teh way to the top, I've been told that they are most likely not formed at this time of year anyway.  As other reviewers have mentioned, the main bridge is out.  (visitors told me it had been out for what they though was 2 years) But with the bridge out, that means that you are missing almost the entire hike.  Half the hike for me was hiking on the main road up to the picnic area.  The main road is closed about 1.5 miles down the road because the snow plow trucks didn't plow.  Also, this time of year that was a lot of snow and you are ill-prepared if you aren't brining snow shoes.  You'll be falling about a foot deep in snow every few steps, especially by the picnic area where the sun heats up the surface.

     

    I ended up falling in the river trying to help me dog out after she fell in to the river herself.  Since I was wet, I decided to just walk across.  There were no foot prints to guide us and you couldn't tell where the trail led, so it was a waste of time.   You can watch a video here of what the snow looks like: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SST9sx9dZZc

     

    The best time for this hike is spring - early summer when the ice caves form.  It seems to be more popular for snow mobilers this time of year and the folks that just want to get out and walk in the snow.

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    Alternative River Crossing

    Reviewed By: Portizuka on Monday, February 11, 2008 @ 11:11:35 AM

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    NOTE: The bridge is washed out.  However, there is a fallen tree which makes for an easy crossing about 1/4 mile downstream from the old bridge.  Easiest way to find it is to hike all the way to the Big Four picnic area, cut accross to the old washed out bridge then hike down stream till you find the fallen tree to cross.

    Two attempts this winter (01/20/08 and 02/10/08) both resulted in failure to reach the ice caves.  Please post if anyone has made it all the way up there this winter.  I am hoping that the previous posted Elisabeth made it but she didn't leave many details hah.

     

     

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    Pain

    Reviewed By: Elisabeth on Thursday, January 10, 2008 @ 09:14:29 AM

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    I hiked eight miles of pain

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    Nice, Picturesque Hike

    Reviewed By: Lenny Gemar on Thursday, August 23, 2007 @ 09:14:50 PM

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    A nice, easy hike. A nice opportunity to get outside and take some photos (see http://lenny.gemar.org/?Page=Photos&Action=Gallery&GalleryNumber=21). The main bridge is still out, but the water is low and there is a decent-enough log bridge. The cool air around the mouth of the ice cave was refreshing in the otherwise hot afternoon air.

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