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In January, Team Reed (Todd, Brad, Sarah, and Rachel) spent two days in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula shooting at Whitefish Point, Tahquamenon Falls, and in the Munising area. One of our stops was the Eben Ice Caves about 45 minutes west of Munising. Since posting our photos from the ice caves on Facebook, we have gotten a lot of questions about them. Hopefully we can answer several of them here.

Team Reed at the Eben Ice Caves

Team Reed at the Eben Ice Caves

We first learned about the Eben Ice Caves through friends on Facebook. When planning this trip, we used a couple of websites, mainly ThingsToDoInTheUP and the Eben Ice Cave Facebook page.

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Todd shooting the wall of ice forming the outside of the cave

The Eben Ice Caves are about 35 minutes west of Munising, just west of Chatham. The ice caves are in the Rock River Canyon Wilderness Area, part of the Hiawatha National Forest. I’ve provided a google map with directions from Munising (starting at our favorite restaurant, The Dogpatch) to the parking area for the ice caves. Visitors to the ice caves park their vehicles in a lot provided by the farmer who’s field you must trek over to get to the caves. The family that owns the farm runs a concession stand on weekends and also provides port-a-jons (thank you!). We were there on a Wednesday afternoon and saw only two other people but on the weekends apparently it can get quite busy.

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The view as you walk to and from the Eben Ice Caves

If you have snowshoes, we definitely recommend wearing them for the hike and then swapping them out for Yaktraks or ice cleats once you get to the hillier terrain. The walk across the farm field is about a quarter to a half mile. Once inside the woods, you’ll come across a informational sign that notes it is a one-mile roundtrip hike to the caves from that point. We are pretty sure this is an underestimation, it seemed more like 1.5 to 2 miles, but that could be because of the multiple layers of winter clothing and camera gear we were carrying.

I’m a really bad judge of distance so for ten minutes of the hike I was expecting to see the ice caves around every turn of the trail. When we did reach them, it was breathtaking. Like a cathedral of ice.

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According to munising.org, the ice caves are not a frozen waterfall but in fact are formed by water seeping from the layers of rock above.

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We always have a great time shooting in the Upper Peninsula and are so glad we sought out the Eben Ice Caves. It’s a definite “Must-See” if you’re in the Marquette or Munising area during the winter!

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Rachel posing for a chilly portrait