February 11, 2022
I’ve had this adventure on my radar ever since my mountain buddy Annette did it July 2020. When the snow dried up this winter, it was an ideal time for another Bike and Hike Adventure.
While we chose to bike in, many people walk in from the parking lot. If you bike, it’s a half day adventure, but walking will stretch it out to a full day.
This is mainly a hike, with one small section of hands on rock right before the entrance to the cave.
Safety Gear: Please be smart about entering this or any other cave. We had helmets (climbing and bike), with good quality headlamps attached. I also carried a powerful bike light meant for night riding. Always have a back-up light. Even though this cave is not very deep, if you lose your light at the back of the cave, it is 100% pitch black (yes, I tested that). Do not go down anything you can’t get back up.
BIKE: mountain or gravel bike. Helmet.
HIKE: hiking boots, poles and helmet, headlamp and hand held back-up light. Regular day pack kit.
From the Canyon Creek parking lot, continue to bike (or walk) up the Canyon Creek Road for about 6 km. Pick up the hiking trail on the right. Gain elevation in a north west direction. Keep an eye on the vertical cave opening, and head for that. At cave, put on helmet and headlights. Return the same way.
Parking and Trail Head
From Highway 66, turn north onto Canyon Creek Road. The parking lot is on the right (east side), prior to the road barricade.
From the parking lot, we continued biking down Canyon Creek Road.
The road is wide and gravel. It might be tempting to just put your head down and ride, but this is one picturesque road. Do take your time to admire the intensely beautiful rock formations carved out from the creek over the centuries.
While the road does trend upward as we biked north west, the high point is at the 5.2 km mark.
Once past the high point, there is a short but steep downhill. At the bottom, we crossed Moose Mountain Creek, and another access road around the 5.4 km mark.
At approximately 6 km in, the start of the hiking trail is on our right. We stashed our bikes in the trees, got out our hiking poles, and walked up the trail.
Canyon Creek Ice Cave Hike
From the Canyon Creek road, we hiked up the obvious trail on our right. There is another entrance to the hike a bit further down. Just keep going straight up through the trees.
At the beginning of the rock slide area, the trail splits. Both trails are strong, but keep going in the same northwest direction (left) instead of going straight up (right).
Just below the cave entrance are some giant rock steps. Then it’s a quick straight up to the cave entrance.
At the mouth of the cave, we dropped our packs and poles, and put on our helmets and head lights.
The cave is pretty cool, both in terms of temperature and atmosphere. This is a great place to be on a super hot day in the summer. Water seeps down and creates the interesting ice sculptures. Unfortunately, humans suck. Many times the ice has been broken off.
The cave has a massive opening, and it narrows the further back you go. The light from the opening does not reach the back of the cave. While back there, we turned off all our lights, and were in pitch darkness. Please have a back-up light, as stumbling out in the dark will really hurt.
Canyon Creek Ice Cave Return
When we got back to the entrance, we had a surprise waiting for us. A pair of ravens decided to open our packs to see what we had to eat. Sonya’s lunch was strewn out and all the good stuff was eaten. These crafty birds even dug out and opened up our hand warmers!
After cleaning up the mess, we returned the way we came.
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Totals – Tracked on Gaia, displayed on Strava
Date: February 11, 2022
Group: Four (Alisen, Mike, Sonya and Shannon)
Distance: 13.4 km (total bike and hike return distance)
Elevation: 289 m (953′)
Time: 4 hours (includes lunch & breaks)
We did this a couple of years ago in the summer, with bikes, when the ice in the cave was still intact. I thought it was an easy cycle and climb. Great fun!
Lucky you Ann! When my friend Annette went in 2020, the ice was there but there were two kids beating on it with sticks. Their parents were ignoring them, so she asked them to stop destroying the ice so others could enjoy it. I just don’t understand humans sometimes.
It’s such a shame. It was really cool to see the ice. Sometimes I don’t understand humans either!
Well, if you of all people don’t understand humans… 🤣🤣🤣
Great adventure. Love the photo at the cave entrance.
Awww, thanks! That’s the typical “money shot” for anyone hiking up. Had to do it 🤣
Oh great idea. I had heard about and then forgotten about this cave. Looks like a great day despite the crafty ravens! Maggie
You just gotta love the ravens. I have a pair trained out on highway 93 north. They know to stay a respectful distance.
Fascinating looking caves – good you could see the ice-icles intact. And the ravens! We were rafting the Grand Canyon and had to post a “camp guard” when we went on hikes to keep those birds from making off with any interesting small stuff. They seemed to have weakness for toothpaste tubes. 🙄😃
Toothpaste! Who knew? Thanks for that. I’ll ensure mine is packed deep for my next overnight trip. I have friends in the US who rafted the Grand Canyon a few years ago. I did the Green River out of Moab with them, and the Tatahenshini-Alsek in 2018. Good times!
The cave part looks neat but ravens stealing the food is quite a bummer. Crafty little things.
Crafty for sure. They were smart – they didn’t make any noise to alert us they were around when we got there. My friend Sonya had to do a trail run after that with no food. She’s allergic to everything so I couldn’t give her any of my food. Live and learn – bring a hard-sided food container!
This looks like such a neat cave to explore, especially in the winter with all the ice formations. I had no idea that ravens were so sneaky and could even open up a backpack. Sounds like they had quite the feast.
Oh yes! While backpacking or even skiing, we make sure to cover our packs if we leave them behind to say, go climb a peak. They can open zippers no problem.
These birds were so smart! They actually hid from us as we hiked in! Ravens are quite loud, but they didn’t say a word until we left and had no more food for them.
Another splendiferous adventure. 😀
Thank you Darling 😊
What an amazing adventure! I love a good snowy mountain trail and with the added bonus of that awesome looking cave. What a treat. Good on you! 👍🏻 I know how treacherous they are to climb to the back of too. I had a similar experience in Thor’s Cave in the White Peak. Really enjoyed this post. 🙂
Awww. Thank you. I’m glad you enjoyed. It’s definitely out of the ordinary. Thor’s Cave – now that sounds amazing!!!
I did some intensive caving a few years ago with my kids. We were down there for hours. It was basically climbing below ground. Some of the squeeze moves were definitely unnerving. We had to commando-crawl down a tight passage, and then turn around in a very tight ball. I was SO done after that.
Thanks Tia 😊 It was a fun day.
Interesting except for the cave part!
LOL! Not a fan of caves, eh?
Neither is my hubby. You’ll notice in the photos he’s not in the far back with me, but kept to the open area below.
Cool adventure! I believe that ravens are considered quite smart at figuring things out.
They most definitely are! I really like the ravens. They have such personality and are very territorial. There are a pair on the 93 North that I’ve been able to train to NOT squak at me. Meanwhile, we have signs at the Lake Louise Ski Resort to not leave your packs left out because the ravens will help themselves.