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Ice Cave Trail is a 4.9 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Juneau, Alaska that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking and nature trips and is best used from June until August. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

Length 4.9 mi Elevation gain 626 ft Route type Out & Back

Dog friendly

Hiking

Nature trips

Cave

Forest

Lake

Views

Waterfall

Over grown

Rocky

Scramble

Snow

Description
Waypoints (0)

NOTE: This trail is considered "technical" with some steep drop offs, scrambling, and icy and slick conditions (dependent on weather). This is difficult hike and hikers should take proper precautions and read prior reviews before attempting.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (199)
Photos (146)
Recordings (142)
Completed (388)
Tawnia Hanel
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarTue Jun 09 2020
HikingOff trailRockyScramble

Great hike and very tiring when coming back ! It is best to see the ice caves in the winter season if you really want to see them !

Cole Adams
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarWed Jun 03 2020
HikingBlowdownBugsIcyMuddyOver grownRockySnowWashed out

Before you go on ice cave trail, map out your route and become very familiar with it. We ended up rock climbing down some cliff sides (we slid down some rock that looked like original path and couldn’t get back up). There’s really no designated path so you have to keep checking all trails. Beautiful hike, though. 10/10 recommend.

View Cole's Recording
Adam Schwenk
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFri Feb 28 2020
Hiking

This has been one of my favorite hikes in my life. Super unique. Used crampons to climb inside the ice cave. Very steep climb up a wet rock face. Loved it!

Angela Ong
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSun Oct 13 2019
HikingMuddyRockyScramble
View Angela's Recording
Morgan Noad
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMon Oct 07 2019
Hiking

If you read nothing else in this post... USE A GPS SYSTEM and track your hike or go with someone who is familiar with the trail. I have never written a review on a hike, but I felt if I did not share my experience with this trail I was breaking some sort of hikers code. Read the sign posted at the trail head prior to starting. I live in anchorage and am an avid, experienced hiker. This trail is no walk in the park. It is not as much physically taxing, as it is mentally. Here’s why. The first 1-1.5 miles is pretty easy and follows a well maintained path. At some point during this time you will get to a fork where you will decide to go right down the west glacier spur trail or continue on the west glacier trail. If your goal is to reach the ice caves, turn right down west glacier spur trail. WARNING about this... if it has rained recently the trail WILL be flooded. 3 times on this trail we had to navigate around 1-2 feet of water, and still ended up with fully submerged shoes. Navigating around the water also posed a great risk of getting lost, as the trail is located in deep brush. If you choose to continue on west glacier trail, then you will continue hiking uphill adjacent and above the glacier. WARNING about this... if you continue on west glacier trail, there will be another fork that IS NOT A MARKED TRAIL. Be careful to stay on the appropriate trail. The unofficial trail will have pink and orange markers that lead you down into thick brush, slippery rocks, and lead to a very steep lookout on rock peninsula. At this point, you will run out of pink and orange tags and find yourself essentially cliffed out. DO NOT PROCEED. Retrace your steps back to west glacier trail and avoid the temptation of climbing down to the west glacier spur trail which is visible from this look out. More on the west glacier spur trail... this involves scrambling over wet, huge boulders and climbing up a HUGE cliff-like hill where you will be using your hands to climb up the 80 degree angle. Once you get up this, you will likely lose the trail, because THERE IS NO TRAIL. You will be scrambling around without a trace of a trail. There are no pink/ orange markers out here. You will reach flowing water which you will need to navigate or jump across, big crevices, and slippery boulders covered in moss. I ended up not making it to the ice caves. Where I went wrong and where you can go right: - GPS tracking. Luckily there is service out there. I can’t stress how important I think it is to bring someone with you who has done the hike - Allow 4+ hours - Pack water, snacks, and layers. The wind off of the glacier is cold and strong. - Footwear: No sneakers. Wear Water proof hiking boots. If the trails are as flooded as they were when I did it, nothing will save you - Ice caves are dangerous and there were two that caved in just days before I hiked. - Don’t hike alone. Be comfortable navigating without a clear trail. This trail was beautiful and remote and really got you up and personal with the glacier. However, be a smart hiker!

Jamie Pare
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSun Sep 15 2019
Hiking

Perfect combination of easy and difficult hiking. Took us 5 hours in total. I’m relatively in good shape but my 57-year-old mom who was in the ICU 6 months ago was able to do it. Definitely wear waterproof shoes as there are areas that were wet and muddy (However, it did just rain a few days in a row prior to the hike). The views are absolutely breathtaking.

Gerald Zeller
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSat Sep 07 2019
Hiking

If you are trying to get to the glacier and / or ice caves this is the trail you want. I am late 20’s slightly above average shape. A lot of rock hiking and scrambling up some steep cliffs. So I might not take this hike on a wet day. Difficult and longer but worth it. The views of the glacier and nugget falls are great. You will need more than micro or nano crampons. Cleats preferably if you are to walk around on the glacier. The only cave we found was too deep with glacier water. I might recommend taking a guided tour if you want to hike the glacier and any caves right now. *a lot of reviews are saying distances are incorrect, I found this to be untrue. I followed along with my AllTrails Pro app and my Garmin Fenix 5x watch. However, the trails only lead you to overlooks. Not all the way to the glacier. You should add about .5 miles or so to the end of the trail each way. *Jessica a reviewer below, tells you not to take this hike and to take the west glacier trail to the west glacier spurt trail. This is that exact trail, so I am not sure what she is on about.

Chelsea Evans
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarTue Sep 03 2019
HikingOff trailRockyScramble

Great hike, rain or shine. Mendenhall glacier looks good any which way. Make sure you pay attention to the orange ties to stay on track when climbing the rocks. Can be difficult at times.

Ingram Beck
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarWed Aug 28 2019
Hiking

This might be one of my most favorite hikes here in Juneau. The hike isn’t very hard as far as distance or elevation climbed. It is technical in the sense of climbing rock faces and making sure you pay attention to the little pink/orange ribbons tied along the trail. Absolutely beautiful.

Jess ica
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSun Aug 25 2019
HikingMuddyScramble

Difficult rock scramble throughout. If trying to get to the glacier and/or see ice caves, take West Glacier Trail to West Glacier Spur Trail instead; much easier. See my review there for details. This trail does offer better frontal views of both the glacier and the Nugget Waterfall but West Glacier Spur Trail did not disappoint. Of note, trail milage is incorrect on AllTrails. This is NOT a 2mi hike to the glacier.

John Zhang
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMon Aug 19 2019
Hiking

Very mixed terrain with enough difficulty to make it a great hike. Also a perfect day to hike

Jess Sohn
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarWed Aug 14 2019
Hiking

We did a variation of this hike, and with the occasional loss of GPS, downloading this alltrails map and carefully reading the reviews were both invaluable to our experience. At times, the little pink/orange ribbons are few and far between, so don't panic if you're used to more trail blazing - just be prepared to carefully double back if you find yourself in the bushes. There are a lot of paths that are trodden for the vistas, but not necessarily part of the trail. I recommend sturdy, grippy hiking shoes and a willingness to use your hands for boulder scrambling. We were lucky to hike on a dry day, and I don't think we would have been able to do it on Juneau's typical rainy days with our gear. We were grateful to have our windbreakers because it is colder and windier than you'd expect right at the glacier. Obviously, the glacier itself is rewarding and awe-inspiring and not just a little bittersweet. Be careful and take it in while you can.

Veronica Sparks
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarThu Aug 08 2019
Hiking

Fun little hike over to the ice caves

Shannon Gallagher
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSat Aug 03 2019
HikingMuddyRockyScramble

While at times a little strenuous (rock scramble) it was also one of the funnest trails I have done. The end of the trail has a pretty large rock scramble that will take you up right next to the glacier, but if that is not something you’re interested in you can just stop before the scramble and get a pretty good view of the glacier. The majority of the trail (besides the scramble) is relatively moderate and overall a good hike. It took us about 4 1/2 hours stopping for a half hour lunch near the glacier. I would definitely not recommend this trail for people with small children or dogs who may get anxious climbing down rocks, but otherwise great hike.

View Shannon's Recording
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