Indian Heaven Fire & Ice Cave Loop

Bikepack a loop that connects two caves in the Indian Heaven Wilderness and Gifford Pinchot National Forest. It is a perfect overnight trip on gravel and dirt roads through lava beds formed 20,000 years ago, open forests, subalpine meadows, and huckleberry fields.

GETTING THERE

Take Exit 7 off of I-5 near Vancouver, WA, keeping right onto I-205 S. Follow signs for  Salem/NE 134th St. In ~10 miles use the right 2 lanes to take Exit 27 and merge onto SR-14 E toward Camas. Drive ~26 miles and turn right onto Old State Rd and turn left onto Forest Road 65 (Panther Creek Road).  In ~11 miles turn right onto Forest Road 60 (Carson Guler Road). Drive 2 miles to the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) Trailhead. Park here or drive another 4.8 miles to Goose Lake Campground.

ON THE TRAIL

Ride Forest Road 60 counterclockwise towards Natural Brides and Gular Ice Caves.  Head west to the Peterson Prairie Guard Station on Forest Road 24 which gradually climbs to the Sawtooth Berry Fields, the route’s highest section. Continue north on Forest Road 24 road to Forest Road 30 following it to continue around Indian Heaven Wilderness. The smooth pavement on Forest Road 30 allows for a quick and fun descent. Turn onto the secluded, gravel Forest Road 65 that leads to a dry creek crossing that may be impassable during the early spring, winter, and fall seasons. After crossing the stream, Forest Road 65 changes to dirt doubletrack terrain that leads to Falls Creek. Finally, there’s a small climb back to the trailhead.

Camping

  • Dispersed camping is available at Cold Spring, Surprise Lake, and along Forest Road 65.
  • Goose Lake Campground has 18 first-come-first-served parking and campsites along the lake for a fee.
  • Forlorn Lakes Campground has 25 first-come-first-served campsites scattered around the wooded shores for a fee.
  • Cultus Creek Campground has 39 first-come-first-served campsites for a fee.

features

  • Guler Ice Cave is a 650-foot cave that has ice formations almost all year long.
  • Falls Creek Cave is 1.2-mile lava tube.
  • Natural Bridges is a unique natural feature where a collapsed lava tube left two natural bridges and several small caves.
  • The Sawtooth Berry Field in the northern part of Indian Heaven Wilderness is world-renowned for its wealth of huckleberries.
  • There are many lakes along the route that are perfect for breaks, fishing, and swimming.
  • Views of Mount Adams and Mount St. Helens.

History

The Indian Heaven Wilderness is a culturally important area for Northwest Indigenous tribes. It was originally called Sahalee Tyee which means “the chief’s high, heavenly ground.” For more than 9,000 years, the Yakama, Klickitat, Cascades, Wasco, Wishram, and Umatilla tribes gathered in Indian Heaven  to pick huckleberries, fish, hunt, trade goods, and celebrate the area’s bounties. In the southern part of the wilderness, they raced horses frequently enough to create tracks that are still visible today. In a rare handshake agreement in 1932 between the U.S. Forest Service and the Yakama Tribe, the Sawtooth Berry Fields on the northeastern side of the wilderness area were reserved for local tribes.

notes

  • Suitable Activities: Bikepacking
  • Seasons: April, May, June, July, August, September, October
  • Weather: View weather forecast
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Length: 49.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 3,546 ft
  • 4,267 ft
Map
  • Green Trails Indian Heaven No. 365S
Activities

Upcoming Activities

There are no activities scheduled at this location.

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  • Bikepacking, Bikepack
Resources
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bikepacking.com

Data and maps for the Fire & Ice Caves Loop on bikepacking.com.

Ride with GPS

Data and maps for the Fire & Ice Caves Loop on ridewithgps.com.

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