Hike-in Required
No
Open Year-round
?
ADA accessible
No
Guided tours
No
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

As a a potentially active stratovolcano and the second tallest mountain in Washington State, Mount Adams is encircled by numerous inactive lava tubes and caves, most of which were formed less than 20,000 years ago. The Guler Ice Caves, which were created by a pahoehoe basaltic lava flow, are unique in the fact that they harbor ice formations nearly year round. This frigid anomaly is the product of cold and heavy winter air being trapped toward the lower eastern end of the cave, preserving beautiful ice sculptures throughout the year. The cave has been well known for over a century, and at one point it functioned as a local source of ice and refrigeration for pioneers in Hood River and The Dalles.

Unlike many lava tubes in the Indian Heaven Wilderness, Guler is easily accessible during any season. In the winter, Guler Cave has less traffic and can be a fun side destination on a longer snowshoe or cross-country ski outing originating from Atkisson Sno-Park. The cave is around 650 feet in length and is divided into four sections that are separated by collapsed portions. At the entrance, an often icy flight of stairs descends into the cave opening, where you’ll quickly be surrounded by crystal clear stalactites and stalagmites. Make sure to wear shoes or boots with excellent traction, as the cave floor is commonly a solid sheet of ice; also, it is imperative to bring a bright source of light (or two). The cave ceiling is especially low in portions, so take extra precaution when helmets are not worn. Once you’ve finished exploring the cave, there is a short trail to several natural bridges over collapsed lave tubes.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Winter
Spring
Summer
Fall

Congestion

Moderate

Parking Pass

NW Forest Pass

Pros

Beautiful ice formations. Unique lava tube. Year-round access.

Cons

Slippery ice floor and entrance stairs in winter.

Pets allowed

Not Allowed

Features

Geologically significant

Location

Field Guide

Nearby Adventures

Nearby Lodging + Camping

Mt. Adams/Indian Heaven Wilderness/Goat Rocks, Washington
Mt. Adams/Indian Heaven Wilderness/Goat Rocks, Washington
Southwest Washington/Mount St. Helens, Washington

Comments

02/25/2017
Highly recommend this adventure for brave sure footed folks who enjoy dark hazardous and cozy spaces. Be prepared to dodge and weave through hundreds of stalactites that weave through out the cave from above. The floor is a patchwork of dry volcanic soil, thick ice sheets and bulbous stalagmites. Bring excellent traction for the ice and lights for the best experience.

The ice formations are complex and fascinating; from the glimmering ceiling blanketed with tiny fragile crystals to the thick columns of frozen water suspended in space as stalagmites and stalactites.
01/23/2016
Temperature was about 35 degrees celsius, taken on Saturday, January 23rd. In the second photo you can see there is a hollow pool in the ice stalagmite filled with water. Compared to other years they seem smaller.
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