Ultimate Guide to Paradise Ice Caves, Washington (Tours, Pricing, History, Map)
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Paradise Ice Caves were the most popular feature in the Mount Rainier National Park. But that spectacle existed many decades ago as the changing climate has already claimed this fascinating piece of frozen feature.
It is sad that once beautiful Paradise Ice Caves cease to exist today. The hikers now find vegetation in the valley, which was home to the once beautiful caves.
History of Paradise Ice Caves
The Ice Caves were a complex system of interconnected glacial caves located within the Paradise Glacier in the US. As early as 1908, the glacier caves were fully documented. They have a varied history as their size and existence have changed over the years. In 1978 the maximum surveyed length was 13.25 km, but it ceased during the 1940s and 1990s due to massive glacial recession. In 1978, they were the longest system of glacial caves globally.
Geological Cave Formations
The Ice Caves were within Paradise Glacier, which is no longer active. The stagnant body of ice and snow had stream openings in the front, allowing the warm air to enter it. When the stream rushes out, the air flows back into the snow mass, and it melts the internal structure forming the caves.
The ice caves were within the Paradise Glacier of Mount Rainier. One would see a wide variety of mammals, birds, and fish in the Mount Rainier National Park, including black-tailed deer, squirrels, and common ravens.
Is Paradise Ice Caves Haunted?
They were was not haunted, and it does not exist anymore as the caves are lost due to glacial recession.
How Big is Paradise Ice Caves?
The caves were at an elevation of 6500 ft.
The Ice Caves of Paradise Glacier were world-famous from the 1930s to the early 1980s. But unfortunately, they are no more. In 1906, the Paradise Glacier was a single glacier that extended to an elevation of 6200 ft. In the 1930s, the glacier separated into the upper and lower parts.
By the end of 1981, the glacier had retreated to the upper levels of the valley, which was filled with ice caves. By 1985 the ice caves had reduced in size, length, and number, and by 1993, there were no ice caves remaining and no glaciers either.
However, the trail that once led to these caves still exists there, but the number of hikers has gone down drastically. The trail should not be missed as it affords breathtaking views of the mountains, and there are several beautiful waterfalls along the way.
Tour Prices and Discounts
There is no charge as the caves ceases to exist.
Is Paradise Ice Caves Cold?
The caves were at a temperature of below 32 degrees F at the time of their existence.
What to Wear?
The surroundings are cold. So you must wear warm clothes and proper hiking shoes to ace the trail.
Paradise Ice Caves Hours
The caves were open 24 hours a day. The trail that leads to the Ice Caves can be accessed from sunrise to sunset.
What to Do (Beside Tours)
Hiking is very popular here, and the trail to the ice caves still exists. Apart from hiking, there is not much to do here.
Best Time to Visit
They are no longer there. One can come here any time of the year.
How to Get There
The caves are not there anymore, but the trail is still there. If you want to reach the trailhead, you follow SR 706 east, pass through Ashford for around 14 miles, and reach the Nisqually Entrance of Mount Rainier National Park. Now continue east on Paradise-Longmire Road for 17 miles, leaving Paradise Road. If you continue for another 21 miles, you will get to the parking areas and the trailhead.
There are good options for hotels for staying near Mount Rainier National Park. Paradise Village and Alexander’s Lodge are some of the most popular properties.
Paradise Ice Caves Fun Facts
- After World War II, the caves were accessible during the summer months.
- In 1978, after the explorations were over, around 8 miles of the cave area was mapped, consisting of a complex network of passages.
- The Park Service had discouraged the entry of visitors from the late 1980s, and early 1990s as deterioration of the ice caves had begun.
Paradise Ice Caves Details
- Length: During its existence, it had an elevation of 6500 ft.
- Time Recommended: 3 to 4 hours
- Difficulty: Moderate
- Kid-friendly: Yes
- Dog-friendly: No
- Fees: Free
- Hours: Sunrise to sunset
Download our FREE Paradise Ice Caves Guide (Unofficial)
Visiting Paradise Ice Caves
Do you need more information before visiting? Call (360) 569 – 2211 for an information packet.
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