Eben Ice Caves Eben Junction Michigan
Last weekend our family traveled to the Eben Ice Caves are located in Eben Junction, Michigan. Eben Junction is about 32 miles away from Marquette, Michigan. Our destination was the Rock River Canyon Ice Caves or better known as the Eben Ice Caves.
Wasn’t Exactly Sure Where I Was Going…No Surprise There, Right?
The only information I had to go on for directions was just get to Eben Junction. After that, follow the hand written signs. The signs will lead you right to your destination. Thank you to a fellow nature nut I met on a Wisconsin walking path for this lead.
My family is used to my crazy, go, go, go obsession with road trips. They also know that even though I have a general direction of travel, it doesn’t mean that I know where I am going to end up. Nor does it mean we will get there without five to ten pit stops because “I see something.”
I love them for going along with my crazy and sometimes, reckless plans. It means a ton that they don’t give me too hard of a time about my whims. With all that said, I KNOW they like the adrenaline rush just as much as I do. THEY just will not admit it 🙂
The Signs Point the Way
Eben Junction is a really small town. When we entered the town, everyone in the car started to look for signs. We were looking for county or city road directional signs. We were surprised when we found our first sign; it was a handmade, yellow sign, about halfway up a telephone pole that say “Ice Caves —>”.
The yellow coloring really stood out against the snow and we appreciated the work that someone went through to make and mark our route with those signs. It made traveling to the ice caves extremely easy.
After traveling some minimally, snow covered country roads, we found our destination.
Basically, the parking looks like it is a cleared off farm field. If the lot is full, you can park along the roadside. Parking is free and well as viewing the caves.
After parking, bundling up and gathering our gear we headed up a path. To our left was a row of Port-A-Potties. Since my bladder is the size of a bean, I did use one. It was clean and fully stocked with toilet paper. A huge plus for me!
Across from the Port-A-Potties was a concession stand that is ran by a local resident. Soda, hot cocoa and some snacks are served for a small fee.
After my restroom pit stop, we were off to follow the path to the ice caves.
Following the Path to the Eben Ice Caves
There were many families and couples ahead of us. Some families had sleds to pull their children on, some couples had their dogs and a few groups carried coolers.
We followed the hardened, snow path through the pines and birch trees. The walk through the woods was beautiful. There was no wind and a light dusting of snow on the trees. The path for the first 3/4 mile was flat and easy to walk.
We crossed a small man made, plank bridge and then we started to see the path might get a little tricker. All of a sudden you could see were families started to ditch their sleds and tied them to trees waiting their return. The flat, even path turned hilly.
The hills themselves were moderate to climb. It was the packed snow and a little ice that covered the hills that made them slippery. Ice cleats (Amazon link) would have made a sound investment for this portion of the trail. Since I did not think that far ahead, tree limbs helped to get me up the hills. Where there was a downhill slide, I chose not to break a hip and slid down on my butt.
First Glimpse of the Eben Ice Caves
When we turned the corner we caught a glimpse of the ice caves.
It erased the struggles of the past 200 yards. The sight made me forget my butt was completely soaked because I didn’t wear my snow pants.
A Place To Explore
My thoughts turned from getting there to let’s explore!
The caves are a much smaller scale than The Apostle Island Ice Caves but just as beautiful and breathtaking. Plus, if you have a fear of walking over ice as I do, there is no need to cross ice to get to this set.
Pack a Cooler
I am from Green Bay, tailgating central. If I would have known that people pack coolers to have a few drinks and a bite to eat out there, I would have joined the fun. It was exciting to watch friends and families enjoying themselves exploring the caves and just hanging out in a winter fantasy land.
Inside the Caves
We toured the inside of the caves.
This would have been another place that it would have benefited us to have ice cleats strapped on. We could have covered more ground. It was slow going, but we made it work.
We just went slow and steady and used the cave walls to hold on to for support. Which was what the majority of the visitors did as well.
After we had our fill of the caves, it was time to head back. Returning for us was a little more challenging and a great cardio workout. If you are overweight, expect a challenging climb out of the cave area. Things mellow out once you are back on the flat path.
How Long is the Hike?
I know everyone states that the entire trip one way is 1/2 – 3/4 of a mile. We used a pedometer on our hike. Our pedometer states it is a little over a mile. We are not sure if when giving the mileage they are stating 3/4 of a mile “As the crow flies” or not? Then, I took a picture of the sign on the way back to the car. I noticed that indeed, the sign DOES state one mile. I just knew my legs were not making up that extra mileage 😉
No complaints here! A day well spent with my family. I would certainly make the trip all over again in a heartbeat. If we do, I’m packing a backpack with drinks and lunch. Doing so I can sit back and enjoy the scenery.
I’d remember to pack my snowpants and bring ice cleats. Both of which, would allow me to explore additionally in comfort.
Disclaimer: This site is provided for entertainment purposes and to display my work only. If you venture to any of the photography locations I list on this site you are doing so of your own free will. In making that choice – you have taken personal responsibility for any outcome. Emotionally, physically and monetary wise.
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