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Ice Cave - Natural Bridges Nature Trails

South Cascades


South Cascades -- Mount Adams Area
View map below


0.25 miles, roundtrip


Gain: 0 ft.
Highest Point: 2900 ft.


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The Ice Cave and Natural Bridges are two short nature trails near the Peterson Prairie Campground in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest that are fascinating to children and not as well known as they deserve to be. This is also a popular area to cross country ski and snowshoe in winter.

Ice Cave: Lava tubes from Mt. Adams are responsible for a cave in the ground filled with stalactites and hanging ice masses kids can climb on. Why is this special? The cave traps and holds moist cold air, which forms itself into ice columns and masses. Before freezers were common appliances, barges would cross the Columbia River to carry chipped ice back to Hood River. If you plan to explore the ice cave, the kids should wear warm clothes and sturdy shoes with tread. Because the floor is ice covered and slippery, plan to bring flashlights for each person so you can see.

Natural Bridges: The other part of the phenomenon is the natural bridges, also formed out of collapsed lava tubes. Trails run across the tops of both of them and kids can walk across the arches, stop, and look below for any lurking trolls.


Ice Cave - Natural Bridges Nature Trails

Map & Directions

Co-ordinates: 46.1298, -121.8392 Open map in new window


South Cascades -- Mount Adams Area

Gifford Pinchot National Forest, Mount Adams Ranger District

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Guidebooks & Maps

Best Hikes with Kids: Western Washington & the Cascades (Burton - Mountaineers Books)

Green Trails #398 Willard

Getting There

From Vancouver, take Highway 14 east 66 miles to Bingen. Take Highway 141 north 24 miles to Trout Lake. At Trout Lake, go 4 miles past the Mt. Adams Ranger Station to the end of Highway 141. Continue west on Forest Road 24. Turn left on a dirt road (301) and go 0.2 miles to the ice caves. For the Natural Bridges, backtrack to FR 24, go left (west) another 0.8 mile and turn left on road 041 and go a half mile. Then turn right into the parking area. Skiers note that the Sno-Park for this area is Atiksson Sno-Park.


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Ice Cave - Natural Bridges Nature Trails

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