Eben Ice Caves in the Rock River Wilderness
January 9, 2013
I know it’s wintertime when I start seeing a lot of people asking about the Eben Ice Caves. Like many of the subjects on Michigan in Pictures, I don’t know much more than what I write on the blog. Recently, however, a good-hearted soul created the Eben Ice Caves Facebook page to serve as a hub for information about this wintertime wonder of Michigan.
Nina Asunto writes one of my favorite blogs, Black Coffee at Sunrise, a delightful wander through some of Michigan’s most fascinating places. Nina’s feature on the Eben Ice Caves explains that they are located in the Rock River Wilderness in the western section of Hiawatha National Forest.
Rock River Canyon is 150 feet deep and lined with sandstone outcrops, which have been eroded to form concave overhangs. During winter, ground water seeps over the edge and down through the sandstone where it freezes, creating huge curtains of ice and closing off the front of the outcrops to form caves.
In winter it is possible to access the ice caves from the south side of the wilderness area. A few miles north of Eben Junction, visitors can park their cars by the side of the road and cross an open field to the forest. The field is private property, but the owner allows for its use in winter to access the ice caves…
We had both seen a few photos of the ice caves, but none of them really captured the size of this phenomenon…
What we weren’t able to capture, however, was the amazing sound inside the cave. The drips of water falling from above created wonderful echoes and added to the cave atmosphere. There is much variation of color and texture to the ice in different parts of the cave. Some formations were smooth and clear, others were bumpy and hollow-sounding, and there were some columns that looked like dripping candle wax.
More Eben Ice Caves on Michigan in Pictures.