10 Jun Big Four Ice Caves
The Big Four Ice Caves are a popular destination for anyone who wants to find a gentle, not-too-long hike with a fantastic payoff at the end. The roundtrip distance is 2.2 miles covering a rise in elevation of 220 feet that tops out at 1938 feet. The trail begins off of the Mountain Loop Highway, 11 miles east of Granite Falls at the Big Four Picnic Area. A Federal recreation pass is required.
The trail itself crosses over the South Fork of the Stillaguamish River via metal footbridge and then through a dense Silver Fir forest before opening up to the massive wall towering straight up, the 6,153 foot Big 4 Mountain. At the base is a massive ice and avalanche field with ice caves carved out by the melting snows which streams down crevices in the face of the wall.
This is one of the most popular hikes in Washington because of the ease and brevity. It can also be a very dangerous place if one does not pay attention to signs that warn against going past the end of the trail and viewing area. The caves and area below the cliffs are extremely dangerous. Rock and ice fall is a hazard year round.
Mountain Loop Highway has many hiking and camping opportunities and is a beautiful drive into pristine wilderness and should be high on the list of day trip destinations for those who love the outdoors.