The hike to see the Eben Ice Caves in Upper Michigan is one of Michigan’s most popular winter attractions. Driving the distance to the UP in the dead of winter is a risky move. Which is why we are here to assure you, it is worth it! But only if you are ready for an adventure, have the proper gear and ready to make the most of your trip.
The Eben Ice Caves is located in the super small town of Eben Junction, MI. We recommend staying in a nearby city, Marquette or Munising. There are many other things to do in these cities, take advantage of your trip while up in the UP. There are plenty of hikes, waterfalls, restaurants and even skiing in Marquette.
Getting To The Eben Ice Caves
The Eben Ice Caves is a google location, type it in your maps or use this address: Eben Ice Caves, Frey Rd, Deerton, MI 49822. The directions will lead you to a private residence who will let you park on their property. They generously provide many porta potties and even have a snack bar (open saturday and sunday). Parking is free, they only ask for donations.
The trail head is located in the woods. A trek across a farm field is how you arrive at the trail head. There are no signs until you arrive at the trail head in the woods. Follow others foot prints in the snow. Fresh snow will make it difficult for new visitors to know where to go. We suggest not going on this hike during or after a blizzard unless you are familiar with the area and there are other people to follow. Check the weather before you head out!
The hike is about about 3/4 mile long and takes about a half hour. It is medium difficulty. There are very slippery areas that we suggest using hiking poles or a stick to navigate over. There are icy ascends and descends and narrow paths at times. There are no markings on this hike, following others footprints in the snow is the only clear way of knowing where you are going. There are usually many people hiking this trail. On any given day, you will see up to 30 people hiking in and out of the caves. Get there early, before 10am, to experience the caves with less people. The hike is not a loop, one way in and same way out.
What to Wear
- Full Winter Layers: Water Resistant Boots, Gloves, Snow Pants, Snow Coat, Hat, Scarf or some type of face protection.
- Hand/Feet Warmers for those that get cold fast.
- Hiking Poles – Not necessary but recommended.
- Winter traction (cleats) for boots, highly recommended! – No need for an expensive pair.
- Camera – Slipping is highly possible, so protect whatever camera you bring. Use hand warmers to keep your phone battery from dying.
- Water – Bring a small back pack for water and whatever essentials you need: medical supplies, inhaler, hand warmers…
The ice caves are quite the trip (for some of us), but worth the adventure if you are anything like us :).