Guler Ice Caves: You’ll want to explore Washington State at various elevations while staying at Carson Ridge Luxury Cabins. Climb for kilometres up routes to the summits of mountains and volcanoes, or venture underground to explore some of the spectacular natural caverns.
The Guler Ice Caves are among the most magnificent grottos to see. When you enter these tunnels, it’s as if you’ve entered another universe. If you visit during the right season, you will see magnificent ice formations that resemble intricate crystallised sculptures. Come explore the magnificence of these incredible caverns and learn about their history!
Gifford Pinchot National Forest’s Guler Ice Cave
Many caves may be found in the Cascade Range, including volcanic lava tubes and glacial ice caves. The Guler Ice Cave, located south of Mount Adams, provides a taste of both. This cave has remarkable ice characteristics including frozen stalactites and stalagmites throughout the early summer.
When visiting in April and May, you will witness the most ice. The cave loses its ice as the season warms, but it is still enjoyable to explore all year. Guler Ice Cave is a great spot to cool yourself in the middle of summer.
The 650-foot-long Guler Ice Cave is part of a vast network of caverns in the Indian Heaven Volcanic Field, which lies between Mount Adams and Mount Saint Helens. The most recent eruption in this area generated a vast lava field about west of these lava tubes 9,000 years ago.
To get to the cave, go about 20 feet east of the parking lot (to the left as you drive in). You’ll soon arrive at the cave’s entrance, which is encircled by a wooden fence. A stairway goes into the cave’s mouth. Before entering, inspect and photograph the cave map, which is placed near the cave entrance and on the national forest information board near the parking lot.
The Guler Ice Caves History
The Gifford Pinchot National Forest is rich in natural caverns formed by the various volcanoes that dot the landscape. Molten lava poured through the earth as the volcanoes erupted, forming natural lava tunnels.
Because of the Federal Cave Protection Act, the sites of many of these tubes are not divulged, however, the Guler Ice Caves are available to the public! Native Americans found these caves hundreds of years ago and used them to keep huckleberries in the cold caverns and get fresh water from the melting ice. When the first settlers arrived in Hood River, they gathered ice to cool the beverages at the local bars!
Guler Ice Cave Entrance
Take note of the temperature shift from top to bottom as you descend 20 feet into the cave. Use caution if the steps are icy. Keep an eye out for dangers within the cave as well. The cave’s bottom is covered with huge, rough boulders that may be unstable.
Keep one or two hands-free to manoeuvre around obstructions. In the event of a rock or ice fall, the forest service suggests wearing a helmet. Depending on the time of year, the cave floor may be coated in ice or have frozen areas that are difficult to see. Wear traction-enhancing footwear. Bring at least two sources of light and warm clothes to wear, as you would to any subterranean cave.
Guler Ice Cave Exploration | Guler Ice Cave Hike
It’s as if you’ve stepped into a fantasy when you descend the wooden stairway into the Guler Ice Caves. The cave is loaded with stunning stalactites that stand up from the ground like sculptures. The magnificent ice structures hang from the ceiling and protrude from the floor.
Water gently drips down and freezes to form these crystals, which vary in size and shape. Some have the appearance of icicles, while others are enormous crystallised mounds adhering to the rocks. Every year, the ice melts and recovers, so you may return to this amazing cave and experience something new!
Once down the steps, turn right to enter the Guler ice cave hike’s longest portion, which runs to the west beneath the parking lot. After around 250 feet, you’ll come across a collapsed piece of the lava tube referred to on the map as a ‘pit.’ The pit is a slanted entrance to the cave, and those who prefer to crawl might exit the cave here. The pit’s entrance provides good shelter, so don’t be shocked if you spot indications of an animal’s lair. This collapsed hole prevents any further westward navigation.
To see more of the guler ice cave hike, turn around and return to the entrance, staying on the cave’s left side. A natural bridge within the cave may be found around 90 feet before the stairs. A smaller channel must have developed at the conclusion of an eruption cycle when lava poured through this tunnel. This natural bridge is a relic of the smaller tube.
Continue hugging the cave’s left side to uncover a small room known as the Crack Room and the Spider Room. If you go in the spring, there will be an ice pool in front of the Crack Room. Return to the entryway, take the stairway, and go to the shorter southeastern part. The cave will come to an end in little over 100 feet.
When ice is present, a beautiful sight known as the Crystal Grotto is revealed. Even after all of the ice has melted, the cave walls will still sparkle brilliantly. Growing fungus and bacteria on the cave walls capture water and reflect light, producing a glittering look. After viewing the Crystal Grotto, return to the stairs and ascend to the surface.
If you want to explore further of Guler Ice Cave, you may trek above ground to the cave’s westernmost portions and enter through two natural lava tube openings known as ‘pits.’ To get to the pits, walk through the parking lot and west on McClellan’s Trail.
You’ll reach the first pit, which corresponds to the end of the ice cave you recently visited, after only 120 feet on McClellan’s Trail. Walk down into the hole to find what lies beyond the region you investigated underneath. The cave is closed beyond the pit’s entrance.
If you continue down the route for another 120 feet, you will come upon two additional pits. These holes provide access to minor portions of the cave that are rarely visited. If you like caves and are ready to crawl, you can climb down into these holes to explore what’s within.
The route separates after the third pit, with one offshoot travelling north and the other heading southwest. Both routes are overgrown and fade fast, so continue investigating only if you are comfortable with more difficult navigation.
Guler Ice Cave is situated in Gifford Pinchot National Forest, and parking at the trailhead requires a Northwest Forest Pass. At the trailhead, you may self-register for the $5 day pass. In addition to the regional national forest pass, a yearly America the Beautiful national public lands pass may be utilised.
The Washington Discover Pass, on the other hand, is not valid. Dogs and bicycles are not permitted at Guler Ice Cave (of course). Did you bring any food? The Ice Cave Picnic lot is adjacent to the parking lot.
If you visit Guler Ice Cave, you should also take the opportunity to see the neighbouring Natural Bridge Interpretive Site via a short walk.
Natural Bridge is about 1.1 miles distant and a 7-minute drive from the ice cave. Return to Carson Guler Road (NF-24) and turn left to get there. After 0.8 mile, turn left onto NF-041, following signs for the Natural Bridge. Turn right after half a mile on this well-kept dirt road. In 0.3 miles, the parking lot will be on the left.
Ice caverns in Guler The following are the directions to the trailhead
Take Route 141 North approximately 22 miles from White Salmon, Washington, to Trout Lake. Continue on Route 141 by turning left. Route 141 becomes Carson Guler Road, commonly known as National Forest Road 24, after 5.8 miles. After 0.5 miles, turn left and follow the signs to the ice cave. The parking lot is just 0.2 mile from NF-24.
Snow causes Forest Road 24 (NF-24) to shut throughout the winter. Check the road status with the Gifford Pinchot National Forest from December to April. Those who want to visit the cave despite the road closure can do so by hiking an extra couple of kilometres.
How to Visit the Guler Ice Caves
The Guler Ice Caves may be visited at any time of year, although the ideal time to visit is in the spring and early summer. During this period, the snow has melted and the ice has solidified. The ice will have melted more as the summer progresses, so you may not be able to view the formations in their full splendour. Check to see if you need a parking pass for the Gifford Pinchot National Forest during your visit. These are simply available online!
When touring the caverns, keep in mind that the temperature is normally approximately 32 degrees, so dress properly. Because the cave floor is wet and slippery, wear waterproof, non-slip footwear. Bring a torch and extra batteries because the cave will be pitch black! To view the ice structures better, shine a light behind them to make them sparkle. Keep your torch on you at all times; you never know when one of the gorgeous gems may be ignited.
How long does Guler Ice Caves last?
The 650-foot-long Guler Ice Cave is part of a vast network of caverns in the Indian Heaven Volcanic Field, which lies between Mount Adams and Mount Saint Helens.
The Guler Ice Caves’ History
Native Americans found these caves hundreds of years ago and used to keep huckleberries in the cold caverns and get fresh water from the melting ice.