Moose Mountian Ice Cave, INGs Mine Ice Cave, Canyon Creek Ice Cave, Bragg Creek Ice Cave, Kananaskis – THE ICE CAVE – from what I can tell it’s all the same place. But I’ve been known to be wrong.
The Ice Cave is located on Hwy 66 just past Bragg Creek. You can park at ING’s mine day-use area in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada.
Access to the Ice caves was officially closed in the early 2000s due to potential safety issues. IMO, they don’t want people driving to the trailhead on the gas access road. If you can make the 5K hike to the trailhead then you are good to go.
The gravel road starts just passed the locked gate at the back of the parking area. This is where you start your 5 KM hike or bike to the trailhead. Definitely bike this section if possible. The kids biked and the DW and I hiked in. Bring your bike. You’re welcome.
When you approach the first fork in the trail take a right unless you feel like climbing scree. Taking the left looks easier and follows along the creek but it’s not. The Kids didn’t care as much as the DW.
The cave opening remains in view throughout most of the hike and you really don’t get the sense of how massive it the opening is until you get up close.
There are quite a few small ledges directly beneath the cave entrance, with incredible views of Canyon creek. Take this opportunity to feed yourself and your spawn. Hungry kids = Angry Kids.
This area is also great for a few more pics of the adventure. There is a ton of small caverns and holes that are perfect for kids to crawl and sit in. Definitely make a good picture right? Hey, kids go sit in that hole and we’ll get a picture of you guys. Wait a second…. Is there something moving in there? Yes…… Yes, there is. Hey, kids get away from that hole. As this badger looking animal saunters out of the crevice looks at us and looks away and slowly goes back to its business with zero fucks to give about who we are or why we are there.
Ever since this hike “Get in the Hole” is a term that we now use anytime we see an ominous-looking crevice or just about any smallish area that you probably shouldn’t be going in. “Get in the hole!” the kids will say – as in stay far away from that seemingly small and innocuous hole as there is most likely a wild animal waiting in there waiting to eat you for lunch.
Shortly after passing through the cave’s entrance, you experience total darkness. I mean absolute darkness. Put your hand 2 inches in front of your face and you can’t see it – total darkness. It’s actually quite an eerie feeling not to be able to see any light at all while in a large open area. Do yourself a favor and bring a decent headlamp as the flashlight app on your phone isn’t going to cut it.
They don’t call this the ICE cave for no reason. Even in the summer, it’s COLD. Layer up so you can explore deep in the cave without getting too uncomfortable.
All the lighting is provided by the flash camera or headlamp. These pictures don’t entirely do the cave justice. In the air, you could see frozen water droplets crystallize and reflect in 1,000 directions off the light of your headlamp. Providing nature’s version of a light show that would rival anything you would see even with cognitive enhancement.
You can get around 50M deep into the cave where you will find a large ice wall that has sealed off the rest of the cave from further exploring. Apparently the Alberta Speleological (Let me google that for you) Society has attempted to clear the ice blocking the rest of caverns but has been unsuccessful so far.
Found a couple of kid-size ice pockets (Not a hole). Little H and L had a blast exploring the cave.
Returning to Canyon Creek by dropping straight down the steep scree slope (the way we came) at the entrance to the cave is probably a bad idea. Going down is always more sketch than going up (I wouldn’t suggest going up either – we took a wrong turn). If you decide to take the scree slope down make sure you’re willing to bruise more than your ego.
The whole family had a great time exploring the Ice Cave and we would definitely adventure in this area again.
Bring your Rock helmets and headlamps as inside the Ice Cave there is complete darkness. Warm clothing (even in the summer), sturdy shoes/boots – no flip flops and warm gloves are important to maximize the experience. Have fun – Stay Safe and get away from that hole!
Random Fact O’ The Day: Caving – also known as spelunking in the United States and Canada and potholing in the United Kingdom and Ireland – is the recreational pastime of exploring wild cave systems.