Shoshone Ice Caves – Shoshone, Idaho - Atlas Obscura

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Shoshone Ice Caves

Shoshone, Idaho

This underground cave located in the most barren reaches of Idaho is filled with ice year-round. 


The Shoshone Ice Caves are a temperature anomaly caused by airflow through a collapsed lava tube. The temperature remains between 25-35 degrees Fahrenheit all year round, creating an underground ice lake. Guided walking tours take you underground where you can walk across the frozen lake on catwalks.

The Shoshone Ice Caves measure about 1,700 feet long, 50 feet wide, and 45 feet in height, with an elevation of about 4,500 feet. The caves are part of the Black Butte Crater Lava Field, and formed as a result of underground eruptions. 

After pioneers became aware of the cave in the 1800s, it was harvested for ice for the nearby town of Shoshone. It remained frozen until one end was blocked off, which eliminated airflow and allowed the ice to melt. It was bought in the 1940s and rehabbed, allowing the water to refreeze.

Visit on a hot day in the summer to get the full impact of the temperature difference found in these caves.

Know Before You Go

Open seasonally, check ahead of time to make sure of dates.

No bathrooms, only portapotties available. Tour is not free. Cell service is spotty near the location.

The tour takes you over uneven rock and requires descending and ascending many uneven stairs. Not wheelchair accessible. Take a jacket and wear closed-toed shoes with tread on them (no sandals, heels, flip-flops, or cowboy boots). 

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