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Big Ice Cave


  • Yellowstone
  • National Forest Day Area
The Big Ice Cave can be viewed by taking a short walk down an improved plank trail to the entrance portal. On a wooden platform inside the cave visitors can see the always present ice floor of the cave. There are no guided tours or speleothems. Take a sweatshirt or jacket, it may be cold inside. Bring a flashlight as there are no lights inside.

The Big Ice Cave is a single chamber of the ice cellar type, with a steep entrance which goes down into a huge chamber. This rock formation results in a cold trap, as cold air is heavier than warm air. In winter the cold air "flows" into the cave, in summer it stays there. This works similar to refrigerators in the supermarket, which keep their content frozen although they have no lids. This simple physical effect is the reason why this cave contains ice and icicles year round.

The cave is located in the Pryor Mountains, which are riddled with caves. The most visited is Big Ice Cave. More information about the caves can be obtained from the Beartooth Ranger District and the Bureau of Land Management.
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Mailing Address
Beartooth Ranger District
6811 Highway 212 South
Red Lodge, MT 59068
June 15 - September 15
Special direction map

From Bridger, MT go south 3 miles on US 310. Turn left on Pryor Mountain Road and travel 22 miles southeast to Forest Boundary. Continue approximately 12 miles on Pryor Mountain Road (Forest Road 2308) to picnic area on right. High clearance vehicles recommended. Road conditions deteriorate rapidly in inclement weather.