Summary: The trail starts at the site of the old Big Four Hotel, now gone, but area is turned into a picnic area. A board walk provides a easy passage through a bog, beaver pond area. Then a little bit of pavement, just before you cross the South Fork Stilliguamish River and a short bridge across Ice Creek. Then continue on up the hill, through old growth timber, lots of blow downs
in this area. Looking across the stream you can see De Campo Peak from here. Finally you reach the base Big Four Mountain, towering 6,135 ft above you, after a short walk to the outlook you can see the ice fields and sometimes the ice caves. Remember walking in ice caves is dangerous, there is falling ice. People have been killed and seriously injured in these caves. Trail has been improved for wheel chairs. If you look back down the trail you can see Devils Peak, to your left and Mt. Dickerman on your right.
Trailhead: Take State Route 92 to Granite Falls, then continue on the Mountain Loop Highway. It's about 26 miles out of Granite Falls. Velot Ranger Stations is along the way, and you pass through Silverton, before you get there. There is a sign that says Big Four on the right side of the road (Lat:48.05512 Lon:-121.51894)
Trail Guides for Big Four Ice Caves:
Hiking Snohomish County
by Ken Wilcox (Northwest Wild Books)
Best Seasons: Fall, Summer,
User Groups: Hikers,
Ranger Contact: Verlot Ranger Station, at 360-691-7791
Localhikes Reporter: This hike was submitted by Kim Mann
Trail Reviews Page 1 of 12 Submit your own review
Reviewed by Linnea on 7/12/2012
What an amazing hike, too bad its not longer than the 1.1 mile stretch. The entire route is gorgeous with many sights, such as waterfalls, flowers, mountain backdrops, snow, and so forth. very well maintained trail, and easy to hike - if you are a beginner this is a good trail to start on. The icecaves themselves were magnificent, we followed guidelines and did not walk onto the ice - we followed the trail around the picnic area upon arrival to the glaciers and down to the other side, where the actual caves could be seen. we had a few pictures taken next to the entrances. Proceed with care when you are up here! there are many warning signs, however many people who were hiking on the ice above the caves - crevesses form and you could slip!
Reviewed by DLR on 8/21/2011
Great short easy hike. we have heard that it is accesible for wheel chairs, it's true if you can wheel up 200 feet elevation over a mile stretch. we passed grandparents little children and mom pushing a stroller. wide path with gravel, bridges and platforms. crossing the river is a sturdy metal bridge that gives great views of the clear water. 85 degrees today and the air comming from the cave was like opening a fridge, but take a few steps to the side and feel the heat.
Reviewed by TD on 6/27/2011
Early June is too early to go. Call the Verlot Ranger Station - they close the road on the Mountain Loop Highway until the snow clears (and they repair the road from the winter floods/washouts). The hike itself is pretty easy, with wooden paths over the muddy areas most of the way. Our 3 yearold made it no problem. Starting July, it should be just fine to head up (and if your really adventuresome, Lake 22 is much tougher, but worth it!).
Reviewed by KJ on 6/8/2011
On Sunday, June 5th, 2010, my family decided to hike to the Big Four Ice Caves in Granite Falls. We’d wanted to check out the ice caves for a few years, and finally decided to go for it. From various websites, the hike sounded to be around 2.2 miles roundtrip, family friendly and easily hiked. Boy, we were in for a surprise. When we arrived, we found that the road to the trailhead was closed. About 20 cars were parked along the road at the gates, with other folk hiking to the ice caves. “How bad can it be?” we asked ourselves. Well, 4.5 hours later, having walked 14.5 miles according to our GPS, we returned to our car exhausted. On the hike, my daughter said, ‘I hope these ice caves are worth it! I have high expectations!’ After climbing ov
Reviewed by Viewer on 9/25/2010
Sublime. Few outside of NW Washington knows it exists, making it an awesome quick hike for out-of-towners.
Reviewed by JS on 9/5/2010
SJ, some opinions are not worth sharing.
Reviewed by SB on 8/18/2010
This is a great hike. I prefer it in the winter because there are less bugs, but it is nothing that a can of Off can't cure. It is sad that people can be killed here, but the trail is safe if you use common sense, and don't have very very bad luck. You could fall off trail, or be eaten by bears or tigers. You don't need ice to be hurt in the real world. The waterfalls are the best part to me even if they are smaller. The other thing that is intersting is when hot air will be running over your head, and cold air will be on your head. You don't know if you should sweat, or shiver.
Reviewed by Edie on 8/15/2010
My boys and I have been doing this hike for years. It's one of our favorites in the area. Although it is sad what happened to the little girl it SHOULD NOT!! be closed. We take a risk everyday just getting into a car and driving. Bad things happen to good people everyday, we shouldnt punish others for those freak accidents by not allowing them to experience the natural beauty out there.
Notice: Traveling in the backcountry can be hazardous. You are responsible for informing yourself about these hazards and taking necessary precautions. Information on this web site comes from volunteer reporters and may contain errors or omissions. A current guidebook and proper equipment are essential for safe enjoyment of the hikes posted on this site.
Keys: Washington Hiking, Washington Trails, Washington Hikes, Snohomish County Hiking, Snohomish County Trails, Snohomish County Hikes