Spectacular ice caves you can visit year round

Published March 24, 2014

| TheActiveTimes

Spectacular ice caves you can visit year round

Spectacular ice caves you can visit year round

No need to wait till Lake Superior freezes over again. Visit these caves any time for incredible photo ops.

Mendenhall Glacier, Juneau, Alaska

These incredible caves are constantly on the move as the glacier inches towards Mendenhall Lake and changes shape along the way. The best way to access them is from the West Glacier Trail with the help of a guide. Above and Beyond Alaska leads hikes to the crevasses and caves of Mendenhall Glacier, and provides crampons and mountaineering gear.

Big Four Ice Caves, Washington

One of the most popular attractions in Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, and only a short drive from Seattle, these caves are formed in a perennial pile of avalanche debris on the north face of Big Four Mountain which is kept from melting by the mountain’s shadow. Streams formed by the summer melt carve the caves out of the ice. Photos like this may make entering them seem enticing, but be warned: the caves are unstable and two people have been killed by falling ice there in recent years.

Mer de Glace, Chamonix, France

The largest glacier in France, the Mer de Glace lies on the slopes of Mont Blanc, Western Europe’s highest mountain. An “ice grotto,” complete with caves and ice sculptures, is carved out every year to allow visitors inside the glacier.

Fox Glacier, New Zealand

This glacier, in Westland National Park on New Zealand’s South Island, actually ends in a temperate rainforest, making it very easy to visit. You can hike right up to the edge, but to see the ever-changing formations and ice caves of its interior, your best bet would be a “helihike” by Fox Glacier Guides, which takes you to a remote site on the glacier via helicopter.

Eisriesenwelt, Austria

Thought to be the largest network of ice caves in the world, this underground cavern in the Austrian Alps translates as “world of ice giants” because of its huge size—around 30 miles—and the eerie formations that fill its “rooms.”

See more ice caves at The Active Times

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