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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