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Exploring Guler Ice Cave Near Mt Adams, WA

As I wrote in my previous post, Mt Adams area is another great place for outdoor enthusiasts in Washington state to explore. Along with climbing, skiing, hiking, camping, mountain biking Mt Adams, the area around Trout Lake is famous for another landmark - Guler Ice Caves. Since attracting notice as a source of cocktail ice in the high summers of the 1860s, the Guler Ice Caves have been a favorite local attraction for travelers to the area for over a century.

Guler Ice Caves in Washington’s Gifford Pinchot National Forest provides spelunkers a chance to mix a little ice into their routine. In the lava tubes of the Mt. Adams volcano, caves formed and ice filled up the space with winter spectacles. Noted for their coldness, the caves were, at one point, nearly turned into a cold food storage area by Mr. Christian Guler. The failure of Mr. Guler’s attempts leave us with spectacularly undisturbed caves that are transformed annually by a fresh coat of ice. Join the ranks of those brave enough to venture underground and into an exquisite winter wonderland.

The caves consist of six hundred and fifty feet of beautiful formations of rock and water that can be explored by cavers of all experience levels. The footing is rocky, however, so be certain to bring footwear with adequate ankle-support. Also, be prepared for the chilly air (they are ice caves, after all!) and low light. Flashlights, warm clothing, and head protection for the low ceilings are highly recommended.

 The caves are conveniently located just a mile away from Trout Lake Ranger station. Very accessible in summer, but, as I heard, in winter requires a two-mile over-snow trip, either with cross-country skis, snowshoes or snowmobile. The Gifford Pinchot National Forest has built a stairway down to the cave, but the steps can be slippery during winter.

Many of the ice formations are just inside the cave entrance, so it's not necessary to explore deep inside. In late summer, as I was told, many ice formations start to melt.

The parking lot is big enough to accommodate cars even on a busy weekend. Since the caves are located on the National Forest property, National Forest Recreation Pass is required.

If you are into caving/spelunking, another famous caves - Ape Caves of Mt St Helens, are located just and hour and a half away ( in summer ).
But honestly, in my opinion, both caves are pretty mediocre, and unless you combine visiting the caves with other outdoor adventures in the area, they are not worth the drive from Seattle.

If you liked this post, you may also like:

Inside Guler Ice Cave Video

Exploring Mt St Helens: Camping, Hiking, And Caving

Climbing/skiing Mt Adams

Washington Best Getaways

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