In the depths of winter, tucked away on the Hiawatha National Forest in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, near a tiny town called Eben, you’ll find the Eben Ice Caves. These gorgeous ice formations can be explored by taking a short hike (maybe 3/4 of a mile) from the parking area.
To get to the caves, find your way to Eben Junction (M-94 and Eben Rd.) Drive north on Eben and then take a right on Frey. (There will likely be little signs attached to the street sign pointing you in the right direction.) At the end of the road, there is a parking area and when full, cars line the street on both sides. You’ll also see a few portable toilets, compliments of the farmer who lets everyone tread across his land to get to the trail (thank you!).
The day we went, the snow was packed down from multiple visitors before us. Some parts had become icy, and a little steep. If you go, I’d recommend some kind of ice cleat, like Yaktrax. They’ll get you there safely. And you’ll feel much more comfortable wandering around behind the wall of ice.
If you’ll be visiting the area in the winter, go! If you’re a photographer, you might want to consider a visit during the week, when it’s less crowded. Or at least early in the morning on a weekend. Maybe bring a long lens and a tripod so you can get up close and personal with the details in the ice. (Pretty much do opposite of everything I did!) It’s a small area to photograph, but it would so easy to spend a few hours here.
Looking for other winter activities? Read this.