Iowa March 17, 2017
One Of The Oddest Geological Wonders Is Located Right Here In Iowa
We’ve already told you about some of Iowa’s other
amazing caves, and the ice caves are among the most fascinating. Decorah Ice Cave doesn’t get as much foot traffic as larger caves such as the Maquoketa Caves and Crystal Lake Cave, but it’s still a delightfully odd and beautifully fascinating place to visit. It’s just enough off the beaten path that you’ll probably have the place to yourself!
From the outside, you’d never know this cave is an incredibly unique geological marvel.
The sign outside will let you know you’re in the right place.
This place is a natural oddity that is kept chilly year-round by a surprising source: a massive underground glacier.
The glacier has been hanging out underground since the last Ice Age. It acts like a natural refrigerator.
It’s a very short walk from the parking area to the cave, and there’s no entry fee.
A short set of steps leaves up to the cave entrance. You’ll probably be the only ones there, so you don’t need to worry about finding a spot.
If you’re not a professional cave explorer, don’t worry: this isn’t a gigantic cave by any measure.
There’s room enough to pop inside and look around, but you definitely don’t need to worry about getting lost or stumbling into some dark corner. It’s pretty snug.
Glittering ice coats the walls of this cave from January to August. The cave is drier between September and January, but still cold.
Even on a hot summer day, the temperature is cool enough to warrant a sweater. The coolness of the cave is a welcome respite from the steamy heat. The cave is about 35 degrees year-round.
No matter the season, you should bring warm clothes and shoes with great grip.
The ice can get very slippery, and the slick cave floor means that watching your step is essential. You can’t go wrong with a helmet, flashlight and extra batteries as well.
The ice caves of Iowa are utterly unique, and Decorah is one of the best of the bunch.
Experiencing this geological marvel is something you absolutely have to do. There's nothing like experiencing a natural freezer in the middle of a hot, sunny forest.
If you have time, head just down the road to Dunnings Spring Park for a visit with one of Iowa’s most stunning waterfalls.
Also located in Decorah, you'll find a 200-foot waterfall and plenty of great walking paths at this nearby natural gem. It's the perfect way to cap off a trip to the ice cave.
If you feel like checking out more of Iowa’s natural wonders, take a look at
our list of places that should be on your outdoor bucket list.