If you’re looking for an unforgettable adventure in Oregon, look no further than Arnold Ice Cave.
This natural wonder is a must-see for any nature lover or explorer, and we’ve got all the insider tips to help you make the most of your trip.
Arnold Ice Cave (Oregon): 9 Insider Tips
First things first: what is Arnold Ice Cave?
It’s a lava tube cave located in the High Cascades of central Oregon, and it’s one of the only caves in North America that is open to the public.
The cave was created by a basalt lava flow roughly 80,000 years ago, and it’s home to a constant stream of running water that keeps the cave cool and humid (the perfect environment for growing ice!).
Tip 1: Dress for the Weather
Central Oregon weather can vary greatly, so check the forecast and pack accordingly.
The cave is open most of the year, but the best time to visit is in the winter when the temperatures are cooler and the ice is thickest.
Dress warmly and in layers, as you will be walking on uneven surfaces and in and out of the cave several times.
It’s also a good idea to wear hiking boots or other sturdy shoes, as the cave can be slippery.
Tip 2: Bring a Flashlight (or Two)
Arnold Ice Cave has a total of 19 caves in total that measure 4.5 miles in length, so you’ll need plenty of light to explore everything it has to offer.
The cave is dark, and there are no lights inside.
You’ll need a flashlight to see your way around, and we recommend bringing an extra one in case of emergencies.
Make sure you have plenty of batteries because it’s easy to get lost in the dark while exploring the vast cave system.
Tip 3: Use a Map
Speaking of getting lost, it’s essential to use a map when exploring Arnold Ice Cave.
Pick up a map before entering the cave, and follow the marked trails.
There are many twists and turns, and it’s easy to get disoriented.
If you get lost, don’t panic – stay calm and follow the sound of running water until you find your way out.
There are 19 caves in total, each with its own unique features, and it’s easy to get lost, so it’s best to have a map to help you along the way.
Tip 4: Watch your Step
The cave floor can be slippery and uneven, so watch your step as you explore.
There are also many low-hanging stalactites, so be sure to duck your head when necessary. Remember that the caves are constantly changing, so there may be new obstacles to watch out for each time you visit.
The caves are very steep in some places with a lot of loose rock, so be careful not to slip and fall.
Tip 5: Explore the Surrounding Area
In addition to the cave itself, there’s a lot to see in the area surrounding Arnold Ice Cave.
The nearby town of Bend is 12 miles away and a great place to stock up on supplies before your trip, and it’s also home to plenty of restaurants and bars for post-cave exploration.
The Deschutes National Forest is another great place to explore, and it’s full of hiking trails, rivers, and lakes.
The Hidden Forest is also worth a visit – it’s home to some of the tallest Douglas fir trees in the world and filled with ponderosa pines and juniper trees!
Tip 6: Secure a Parking Pass for the Trailhead
Arnold Ice Cave is located in the High Cascades of central Oregon and is accessible via a short hike from the Arnold Ice Cave trailhead.
The trailhead is in the Deschutes National Forest, and you’ll need to secure a parking permit before going.
The hours of operation vary depending on the season, so remember to check before you go.
To find out more about permits and hours of operation, contact the US Forestry Service office in Bend, and they will be able to help you out with information about obtaining parking passes.
Tip 7: Know the Rules Before Entering the Cave
Arnold Ice Cave is a fragile environment, and it’s important to follow the rules when visiting.
Be sure to stay on the marked trails, and don’t touch the ice or rocks inside the cave.
Some caves are closed off to protect the fragile ecosystem, so remember to obey all posted signs.
Remember that the caves are home to many animals, so please be respectful and do not disturb them.
Due to the fragile bat population, Charcoal Cave is closed to the public, but you can access Hidden Forest Cave just a few feet away from it.
Knowing the rules is crucial to helping preserve this incredible place for future generations and helping you plan for your trip.
Tip 8: Look out for Narrow Passages and Sharp Lava Rocks
Arnold Ice Cave is full of narrow passages and sharp lava rocks, so watch your step as you explore.
There are plenty of beautiful stones and crystals to see inside the cave, but traveling through tight spaces takes them all.
If you’re claustrophobic, this may not be the place for you – some passages are only a few feet wide.
In addition, the temperature inside the cave can drop significantly, so dress warmly and wear protective clothing to avoid injury.
Tip 9: Have Fun and Take Pictures!
Arnold Ice Cave is a truly unique place and will surely be a memorable experience.
Remember to take plenty of photos to remember your trip, but also enjoy the moment and take in all the fantastic sights.
Arnold Ice Cave is one of the unique places in Oregon, and it’s definitely worth a visit.
The cave is full of fascinating rock formations and is home to various wildlife.
In the past, the caves supplied Bend, Oregon, and the surrounding areas with ice for commercial use, so it’s a large part of the town’s history.
Today, Arnold Ice Cave is a popular tourist destination, and there are plenty of exciting things to do in the area.
Check out our content about rockhounding Oregon for more information about unique and off the beaten path places to visit. You might also like articles about visiting:
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