Big Four Ice Caves, Granite Falls

4.7
#1 of 9 in Things to do in Granite Falls
Big Four Mountain is a mountain in the Cascade Range of Washington, located east of Granite Falls. The mountain is about 6180ft high. At the bottom of its steep, 4200ft high north face, debris piles form from avalanches and are able to remain there year round because of the continuous shade provided by the mountain. At an elevation between 2450ft and 1950ft, this ice forms the lowest-elevation glacier in the lower 49 states. During the summer, snow-melt streams flow beneath the debris piles and cause caves to be formed in the ice.
The Big Four Ice Caves Trail, a designated National Recreation Trail, (#723) is one of the most popular hikes in the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest attracting over 50,000 visitors per year. Frequently exceeding several hundred hikers per day, the trailhead's two separate parking areas are often filled beyond capacity occasionally forcing hikers to park along neighboring Mountain Loop Road.
A severe autumn storm in November 2006 caused flooding of the South Fork Stillaguamish River destroying a major footbridge to the Big Four Ice Caves. Estimated repair costs to replace the damaged span were approximately $425,000, and repairs were completed in June 2009. While the trail is open to the public, the snowfield itself is off-limits due to cave-ins and slides which have killed hikers in incidents in 1998, 2010, and in 2015.
The Big Four cliffs are shown in the opening scene of the music video of rapper Macklemore's song "Can't Hold Us."
Make Big Four Ice Caves a centerpiece of your Granite Falls vacation itinerary, and find what else is worth visiting using our Granite Falls route builder .
Source
Create an itinerary including Big Four Ice Caves
map
© OpenMapTiles © OpenStreetMap contributors
Big Four Ice Caves Reviews
Rate this attraction
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
102 reviews
Google
4.8
TripAdvisor
  • Great hike, mostly groomed trail. Beautiful when you get to thence cave, Waterfalls surrounded by sheer rock mountain.  more »
  • Easy hike in and back. Trail is soft. Water flowing in many spots. Caves are very cool to see. But be very careful  more »
Google
  • This place is gorgeous and well maintained. The hike is not too difficult, but of course it depends on the person. It's about 2.2 miles. There is a picnic area to eat at the beginning of the hike. It's just amazing to walk through this huge forest, the water in the river is so clear, and then you get to the ice caves. Depending on when you go, there can be several and they stretch out from the mountain. We went during the hotter months, so it had receded, although no less an impressive sight. After hiking, feeling the cool air from them is refreshing on a hot day. There are all sizes of rocks/boulders in the area, and the view is gorgeous. Take plenty of water. You will get thirsty!!! But please, PLEASE follow the guidelines! The ice caves are not some stable structure, and people have been killed because they were one or in the caves, posing for a picture or just because. Large chunks of ice can break off and bounce and roll. There are warning signs, and even a memorial. Please be careful. It's beautiful there.
  • Pretty impressive, but probably still didn’t meet expectations only because they were built up so much from reading the reviews. Better to come earlier in the spring if weather allows as the caves start to melt & decrease in size as temperatures rise. Note- you need a National Forest Pass or Inter-Agency Pass to park here and get there by noon if you want to find any vacant parking.

Plan your trip to Granite Falls

  • Get a personalized plan

    A complete day-by-day itinerary
    based on your preferences
  • Customize it

    Refine your plan. We'll find the
    best routes and schedules
  • Manage it

    Everything in one place.
    Everyone on the same page.

Popular things to do in Granite Falls

4.7
Duration: 2​h
4.6
Duration: 4​h
4.4
Duration: 4​h
4.4
Duration: 2​h

Side trips from Granite Falls

4.6
Duration: 1​h 30​min
5.0
Duration: 2​h

Plans to Big Four Ice Caves by other users

15 days in Greater Seattle BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES April, culture, outdoors, relaxing, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife, extra fast, popular sights PREFERENCES: April, culture, outdoors, relaxing, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Extra fast 15 days in Greater Seattle BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES April, culture, outdoors, relaxing, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife, extra fast, popular sights PREFERENCES: April, culture, outdoors, relaxing, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Extra fast 15 days in Greater Seattle BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES April, culture, outdoors, relaxing, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife, extra fast, popular sights PREFERENCES: April, culture, outdoors, relaxing, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Extra fast 19 days in Greater Seattle BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES April, culture, outdoors, relaxing, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife, extra fast, popular sights PREFERENCES: April, culture, outdoors, relaxing, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Extra fast 60 days in Snoqualmie BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES September, popular sights PREFERENCES: September ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Medium 15 days in Redmond BY A USER FROM INDIA September, teens, popular sights PREFERENCES: September, teens ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Medium
View more plans