Ice Caves

Ice Caves

posted in: Caves | 21

Not to be mistaken with the Civil Defense Caves (which are near by), the Ice Caves are about an hour North outside of Rexburg. The Ice Caves were originally formed as lava tubes. Over the years they have maintained fairly cold temperatures and as moisture and water seeped in, it froze. The ice now remains frozen year round and makes for an awesome time. The ice caves are a few hundred yards deep and require good footwear, warm clothes and a flashlight to navigate. The road to get to these caves is deep, rutted, and super rough. A 4×4 vehicle isn’t required, but you will for sure want a vehicle with good clearance. Any other type of vehicle will most likely get stuck.

The cave itself is a blast. As you are crawling around on the ice, you will get wet. The ice will be thicker or thinner depending on the time of year that you go, but it averages 3-6 feet thick. The ice is very slippery as well, so shoes with more traction are ideal. I went in tennis shoes and didn’t have too many problems.

The cave itself isn’t very deep, but I would plan to spend 2-3 hours round trip. One hour for the long, slow drive out to the cave and the other for exploring the cave and playing around. It’s well worth the trip if you haven’t been.

Head north out of town, as if you’re driving to the sand dunes. The turn off is approximately 28 miles from Jack-in-the-Box (when I drove it, my odometer said exactly 28.2 miles). You will know you have arrived at the turn-off when you cross over a cattle guard (a big grated metal thing that crosses the road), and see a white sign on the right side of the road that says, “Entering Clark County.”

This turnoff goes diagonally northeast. Continue on this dirt road for approximately 3.3 miles. Driving 5-10 mph, it should take about 30 minutes to get there. Going a little faster (around 15mph) you can probably do it in 20 minutes. Keep your eyes open for a gaping hole in the ground. If you aren’t careful, you could very well drive right into the hole, which is at least a 20-foot drop. Climb down into the hole and you should see the cave entrance.

GPS Coordinates:
Latitude: 44.245977
Longitude: -111.807

21 Responses

  1. Debbie Henriod

    WEAR GLOVES – some of the ice is rough on hands, in addition to the rocks you’ll be grabbing. On July 1st, when it was 90 degrees out, long pants & long sleeves were enough for warmth. But the ice at the opening was melted, for about 10 feet. There are rocks to step on until you reach the frozen part.

    Don’t eat right before going, or you’ll toss your cookies! The road is super rutted and loaded with (big) rocks.

  2. I threw a party at the ice caves one night back in the 90’s. Everyone had to bring a blanket, $1 for generator rental, and an extension cord. We brought a tv (old heavy kind), vcr, and generator. We watched scary movies.

  3. Where is this at? I’m trying to plan a trip in the area (I’m from AR) and all I can find are the Civil Defense Caves and the ice caves that are about 3 hrs SW from Rexburg.

    • matheson

      Hi Hannah,

      We have listed both written directions and the GPS coordinates of these caves. Following those directions will take you directly to the caves. They are about an hour away from Rexburg.

  4. Is this the cave just outside of Dubois? There is a huge wall at the end of the cave with a door?

  5. Are the caves narrow? I get a little claustrophobic and don’t want to go unless it at least has a few larger areas an adult could stand up in.

    • Anne,

      The Ice Caves have both open areas, but also some tight areas. There are points during the cave where you must lay on your back, place for feet on the wall above you, and push yourself along, which may not be the best if you’re claustrophobic. There are, however, many places where you can stand up completely straight. You should be fine visiting the caves.

  6. Has anyone tried making it to the caves at this time of winter? Will we be able to get back to the caves if the road hadsnt been plowed?

    • Jessica,

      See my comment, below, to Jordan. In short, I wouldn’t recommend it. Wait another week or two, and all of the snow will be completely melted enough to be able to make the trip.

  7. Hello I’m trying to plan a trip here and was wondering how hard it is to get there in the winter. Is it doable? Is the road good enough to not get stuck on? If the road is bad is it doable to park and hike to it?

    • Jordan,

      I’ve never done the Ice Caves during the Winter, but I imagine it would be rather difficult to find the cave if the trail is covered in snow. Additionally, I would imagine that it would be rather dangerous, as the cave entrance is a large hole in the ground, easily 20 feet down. With everything being white out, I feel it would be difficult to spot the cave opening, making it not only difficult to find, but dangerous as well. Wait a few more weeks and all the snow should be gone, and you should be able to navigate it easily. The prime months to visit the Ice Caves (in my experience) is March through October.

      Hope this helps.

  8. Is there a certain date by which we can go? I know there are other caves in the area that aren’t open until May. And you get a huge fine if you go before they’re open. Do you know anything about the ice caves in regards to that?

  9. The desert is closed to all human entry until May 15th. If you get cought by law enforcement you will get a ticket. No warnings just an FYI. It is due to the wintering wildlife herds.

  10. We just experienced the ice caves last week and it was awesome! Definitely wear gloves, we didn’t and should have, along with waterproof clothing otherwise you will get soaked! Army crawling works to get through the lowest part of the cave but lying on your back with your feet pushing off the rocks above you was much easier to slide across the ice. Oh yeah, make sure you have 2 flashlights! My Hubbys flashlight died and he only had his cell phone to guide him out. Lesson learned!

  11. Do you have to be super skinny to be able to make it through the caves?

    • No, most any size person should be able to make it through these caves. There are a few tighter areas, but even heavier people shouldn’t have a problem squeezing through.

  12. Are you mostly on your hands and knees the whole time? Im going this week and i was also wondering if just jeans would be ok to wear and not get drenched or frozen?

    • Most of the time, we would only go out wearing jeans. You’ll be crawling/walking about 50/50. Depending on what time of year you go, you’ll get more wet. Although damp, I usually never came out feeling drenched while wearing jeans.

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