Updated: Mar 13, 2020
How many times can you say that you spent your valentine’s day of 2019 hiking up a frozen river, in the Yukon wilderness to find an ice cave? Well, we can say it because we did it!
We were a little skeptical about this hike as we hadn’t taken on any long winter hikes. Winter hiking is something is get used to;
- What do I put my water in, so it doesn’t freeze?
- What do I wear? Not in a NYC fashion week kind of way, in a “If I wear too much I will sweat and be cold” or “If I wear too little, I will get frostbite” kind of way.
- Where do I keep my extra batteries, so they don’t get cold & drain?
What shoes do I ACTUALLY wear? Snowshoes? Cleats?
We started our hike out early, it was only a day round trip hike, so it wasn’t the winter camping craziness that we are now wanting to try! The trail is a true “Yukon Trail”, no signage off the highway, no sign for the start of the trail, just a small pullout area off the side of the highway with a hint of trail tape. We had been given directions from the lodge that we were staying at, Mount Logan Lodge so we had a vague idea of how far along it was.
We headed out on the slightly marked trail into the Yukon wilderness. Luckily, we realised we were headed the right way after walking through a dense wooded area and then hitting the river. This river was completely frozen over with a good amount of snow cover and a packed trail so we were confident that this would be easier than what we thought.
Making our way up was hard but what made it even harder is the large holes in the ice that became more and more evident the further we went. These holes were sometimes tiny, sometimes bigger than your hefty, large snow boots so we could have easily fallen through. In some parts, you could hear the river running under the ice.
This was super scary and made us feel quiet uneasy about what we had gotten ourselves into.
We started to see the ice cave when we were above the tree line and it was coming closer and closer with every hard, heavy step. Reaching the cave was one of the coolest things we have ever had the opportunity to do. We have never seen an ice cave before this one and it made us realise once again, that nature is one of a kind!
The pictures speak for themselves!
By the time we reached the top, we were warm from the hike up but it was still about -25°C/-13°F. Our drinking water had completely frozen up, hair was frozen, our bluetooth speaker stopped working about 15 minutes into the hike - It was COLD.
As we were inside, there were large shards of ice falling down from the ceiling of the cave
We spent about 45 minutes exploring the ice cave inside and out. It didn't feel the safest to be in there and we were lucky that we didn't get hurt. The walls of the cave were unbelievably smooth and appeared glassy. You could see the layers of sediment throughout the whole cave and it gave it a very unique look.
The way down was a lot more fun! It would have been great if we took our snowboards to slide down the frozen river. Anyone who knows me realises that I'm just saying that to sound cool and that I would have actually broken 10 bones in my body trying to do that. Scott would have nailed it though.
As we said, nature is truly one of a kind with all of it’s amazing and spectacular creations, but mother nature decided it’s time was up and unfortunately this ice cave collapsed in May 2019. There was no one inside the cave when it collapsed and we haven't hiked back up to the now fallen cave again, but from what I have heard it's a melting pile of ice shards now.
Need advice about travelling through the Yukon? Send us a email or DM on our socials
Like any of the photos you see on here? Check out our online gallery