The Big Four Ice Caves is a popular well trafficked hiking trail in the summer, but during the winter months the hike is less traveled and becomes a winter wonderland. During the winter months the Mountain Loop Highway is closed not far passed Verlot. You can park at the gate and walk in along the road. The parking lot and trail head can be found at around 2 miles passed the closed gate.
For those that have not visited the Big Four Ice Cave trail it is approximately one mile in length. The trail beginning at the former site of the Big Four lodge. The lodge was closed during the depression and eventually burned to the ground. The original fireplace of the lodge still stands at the trail head in a field perfect for picnics and play with breathe taking view of the mountains. We enjoyed our lunch and building a snowman at the trail head park. The trail head has a picnic area and bathrooms that appear to be open year round. Pack your own toilet paper just in case.
We brought a toboggan our very talented brother made by hand. This worked perfectly in keeping our three year old niece entertained. It also made for a nice napping spot for wee little Cordelia for the walk back to the car.
The trail is well maintained and takes a gentle grade. During the early summer glaciers create ice caves as they melt. If you visit during these months take care to avoid entering the ice caves many people have been killed or severely harmed through the years.
The trail to the glaciers is scenic as it crosses wetlands that create a beautiful frozen site in the winter and wildlife paradise in the spring, summer, and fall. The trail crosses the river and climbs the mountain at a gentle grade to the glaciers. It’s a great hike, but don’t get so carried away that you split your pants.
Visit http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/big-four-ice-caves or https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/washington/big-four-ice-caves-trail for more information and as always check trail conditions before you depart.