Big Four Ice Caves in Washington


It was the day after Thanksgiving when Josh and I decided to get out of town for Black Friday. We didn’t want to join the hustle and bustle of department store madness. We’re all about that Cyber Monday shenanigans. But anyways, we decided to go check out the Big Four Ice Caves in Washington. Seriously the coolest sight to see. We had three days to do whatever we wanted which is a rare occasion so we acted on it! I work at Starbucks and I usually work weekends while Josh has a Monday-Friday job.

The morning of Black Friday I decided I wanted to sleep in until 7:30am while Josh was up and at em’ at 6am. He’s kind of a go getter like that! While I was getting beauty sleep (ha!), Josh had packed most of our belongings already! After I got up, I took Miss Honey out to go play fetch before our long journey to Washington. Little did she know she was going to have the most comfortable seat in the car. We took Josh’s suby and laid out a memory foam mattress and a bunch of our cozy blankets in the back.

By the time we got on the road, it was maybe 9ish. We packed all Thanksgiving leftovers like mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and turkey of course. We had even put some chicken in the crock pot over night to have that as well. Let me tell ya. That chicken was pretty dang delish! Josh seasoned it up quite nicely. So we nibbled on all that food all weekend. 

When Josh and I travel, we tend to go long periods of times where we don’t talk. We just take in the scenery as we drive pass with me occasionally telling Josh to “SLOW DOWN”! OH.MY.GOSH! I swear he loves hearing me nag about his driving. He thinks he is some sort of professional NASCAR Driver and pulls the infamous Chow saying:

“But did you die”? Needless to say, I try to drive as often as I can.

Altra King Mt Trail Runners

Well, we entered Leavenworth. So many dang people in this small Bavarian town. We were going to stop and hang there for the remainder of our day and check out the ice caves the next but decided to go all the way to Big Four. We almost arrive to the visitor parking lot of Big Four but ended up stopping on the side of the road to stretch our legs and play in what seemed to be a mini jungle in Washington. Moss everywhere! It looked like Oregon actually. The air was starting to become misty as we all played on the mossy logs. Honey was like some wild animal that just knew how to maneuver through the brush. Lucky her. I could only wish to feel as free as her one day!

The Big Four Ice Caves visitor parking lot was maybe about 20 minutes away, so we continued up the road. When we arrived, the road was gated off! Thankfully there was another way in. Not that a gate would have kept us away from going to the ice caves anyways. What a relief it was though seeing the visitor parking lot had a restroom. Josh laughs at me because I pack toilet paper no matter what. Why? Well because a girl can never be too prepared. That’s why! Thankful I packed it too because the bathroom did NOT have toilet paper.

Tip: Always pack toilet paper. No matter what!

german shepherd hikinggerman shepherd hiking companiongerman shepherd dog hiking companion

So by the time we find the parking lot, it is dark, raining, and only about 5pm. We had no idea what to do. Town was back another 40 minutes and we just said screw it and went back to the closest town. It was such a small town. The main street was pretty much all closed. At 6pm? Really? So we just walked Honey around a few blocks checking out the town. We found this grocery store and decided to go get a couple of drinks from inside.

While I went into the store to buy the drinks, Josh and Honey stayed in the car. Once I get back to the car, Josh was what looked like to me, pretending that the car was dead. I laughed and laughed and soon realized that he wasn’t joshin’ me. Really? He blasted the heat while the car was off. Who does that? So Josh ended up asking this hesitant dude to help us. He seemed like he did not want to help but thankful that he gave us a jump, otherwise we weren’t sure what we were going to do.

german shepherd hiking companionhiking near big four ice cavesbig four ice cave road trip

So we drove back to the Big Four Ice Caves parking lot and decided to call it a night there. We played Words with Friends vs. the robot until we couldn’t keep our eyes open. So this was the first time we slept in the back of Joshs’ suby with Honey. Honey is a good sized doggo that likes to sprawl out. Lets just say by morning, she had most of the room. At least she was cozy!

After we woke up, we ate breakfast and had some coffee that Josh made the previous morning thanks to our handy dandy Stanley Thermos. It kept it warm enough for me to enjoy. (I love raging hot coffee). Josh decided that he wanted to eat some Thanksgiving leftovers for breakfast which happened to be a huge turkey leg. Honey and Josh both enjoyed that while I ate some yogurt.

Our trek to the ice caves was a short brisk walk over a path that covered a swamp. The path was icy as we walked over it trying not to slip and fall. Although, that may have been pretty funny if we fell! Once we get to the ice caves, there were a couple of dogs ahead of us. Honey is such a weirdo, she loves dogs at dog parks but not on her leash. So I had to look like a psycho dog mom and yanked her around to refocus her. Once we passed the dogs, we walked to this super cool waterfall. Actually, more like a bunch of mini waterfalls everywhere!

big four ice caves visitor parking lotwaterfall at big four ice caveswaterfall near big four ice caves

We started to walk closer to the waterfalls and I quickly realized that we were actually walking on top of snow that looked like there was an avalanche at some point in time. So I stood back for awhile, while Josh kept walking in front of us. Honey was being such a worry wart that he was too far from us so I decided to keep trekking on top of the snow. I actually did not like the feeling of walking on top of this snow because I wasn’t sure how deep it was. Signs everywhere saying “People have died beyond this point”. Ya. Sketchy.

Honey and I met up with Josh at the bottom of the waterfalls and decided to snap a few photos of him being a Wild Joshy. Once that was over, we headed toward the caves! These caves were so unreal. Quite stunning actually. We go in one cave. Snapping some photos. Then all of a sudden Josh biffs it on the rocks! I chuckled at him because he saved his camera and his body bent sideways. Like a scorpion but sideways! After he fell, we heard something fall and zoomed out of the ice caves. We weren’t about to be pancakes!

So we head back to the car, trying to figure out what to do next and then we saw a sign for Mount Pilchuck. Super close to the ice caves. Why not? Lets do it! It was not a very long hike to the top of it but it had a high elevation gain. About half way up the mountain, we started hiking through snow. I cannot believe how beautiful Mount Pilchuck is! We almost get to the top when all of a sudden, I started to get major hip pain! REALLY?! I have a bad hip but I haven’t had hip pain all summer long. So I thought I was golden! Turns out we had to turn around in shame.

big four ice caves waterfall

big four ice caves waterfall

We get down the mountain and we are starving! We whipped out all the Thanksgiving leftovers and ate pretty much all of it. Mount Pilchuck was seriously no joke! We built up quite the appetite! Honey too! We decided to head on over to Leavenworth for the remainder of our trip and I still couldn’t stop thinking about food. As I’m feeding Josh mashed potatoes in the car, I suggested that we go get brawts and gelato! Just what we needed.

The car ride to Leavenworth from the Big Four Ice Caves was roughly 2 1/2 hours away. Honey was so exhausted that she slept all the way through! We drove around and around trying to find a parking space and once we did, we zoomed straight to the brawts! The building next to it had the amazing gelato that we had gotten once before. If you know Josh and I, we are crazy about gelato. I got the salted caramel white chocolate and Italian creme and Josh got the peanut butter chocolate and the chocolate gelato. Delish!

big four ice caves big four ice caves in granite falls, wabig four ice caves in granite fallsHoney and Taylor in the Big Four Ice Cave

By the time we finished the gelato, it is about 7pm. We decided to journey the 3 1/2 hours back home to have a nice day to relax and catch up on a few things the next day. But first, we need gas. We get to the gas station, start filling up the car and then I looked down and see that one of the doors was still open. I think to myself “I better shut the door before the car battery dies”. AND GUESS WHAT! IT DIES! Another “REALLY?” moment. This time a guy was more than willing to help us out, thank goodness. He was super friendly and outdoorsy too! I am thankful for nice people like that.

On the road again. Although we only stayed one night on our weekend adventure, we had a blast! Not only did we avoid Black Friday madness, we got to spend time together where we are most happy; the wilderness. There was a ton of driving but sometimes the driving can be just as enjoyable.

I hope you enjoyed our mini weekend adventure story and hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Now get out there and make your own adventure memories! 

hiking to big four ice cavehiking to big four ice cavesbig four ice cave hikebig four ice caves dogsbig four ice caves hiking trailbig four ice caves hiking trailsJosh in his Wander Washington Shirthiking with a german shepherdhiking with a german shepherd

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