Big Four Ice Caves Trail

Silverton, Washington

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This trail is best known for the “ice caves” that form at the base of Big Four Mountain. These are not true ice caves but rather accumulations of snow from avalanches that occur in the winter and spring: As the temperature warms up, the snow melts out from underneath, and this is what causes the “caves” to form. The caves are hazardous and signs warn hikers to stay out of them. Near the marsh you may observe wildlife: Beavers have left their mark on gnawed trees and branches, and you may see birds near the marshes, including hairy woodpeckers, nuthatches, and kingfishers. As for the flowers, you are likely to see fireweed, thimbleberry, elderberry, foamflower, devil’s club, bleeding heart, skunk cabbage, and a variety of ferns, mosses and lichens. In the forest I also saw bead lily, salmonberry, and false lily-of-the-valley, with its graceful heart-shaped leaves.
Best Wildflower Hikes Washington

DESCRIPTION FROM:

Best Wildflower Hikes Washington

by Art Kruckeberg with Karen Sykes & Craig Romano (The Mountaineers Books)

This trail is best known for the “ice caves” that form at the base of Big Four Mountain. These are not true ice caves but rather accumulations of snow from avalanches that occur in the winter and spring: As the temperature warms up, the snow melts out from underneath, and this is what causes the “caves” to form. The caves are hazardous and signs warn hikers to stay out of them.

Near the marsh you may observe wildlife: Beavers have left their mark on gnawed trees and branches, and you may see birds near the marshes, including hairy woodpeckers, nuthatches, and kingfishers. As for the flowers, you are likely to see fireweed, thimbleberry, elderberry, foamflower, devil’s club, bleeding heart, skunk cabbage, and a variety of ferns, mosses and lichens. In the forest I also saw bead lily, salmonberry, and false lily-of-the-valley, with its graceful heart-shaped leaves.

© 2004 Art Kruckeberg with Karen Sykes & Craig Romano/The Mountaineers Books. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Silverton
Distance: 2
Elevation Gain: 200 feet
Trail Type: Out-and-back
Skill Level: Easy
Season: Hikable: May through November, Best flowers: June through August
Local Contacts: Darrington Ranger District
Local Maps: Green Trails No. 110 Silverton
Driving Directions: Directions to Big Four Ice Caves Trail

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Apr 2018