Bend, Oregon: Arnold Ice CavesTricky to find, and possibly rough on your car when you do, but how often do you get to see an ice cave?
Deschutes National Forest
- NF-1820, Bend, OR
- US 97 about four miles south of the downtown intersection of US 20. Turn east onto China Hat Rd/NF-18. From this point the roads are unimproved. Drive for 12 miles, past NF-1820. Go east about a tenth of a mile to the next road down, Swamp Wells Rd. The caves should be off the road on the left and right within 100 feet of the road.
- Closed winter. (Call to verify)
- Parking pass.
Visitor Tips and News About Arnold Ice Caves
Arnold Ice Caves
I visited the cave in the evening. There are multiple pits, and the sun was going down so I didn't have time to descend into all of them. Only two pits actually seemed to have cave access. One cave had a dead end about 100 yards in. The other I didn't have time to explore.
You can't miss the parking lot. The road basically ends, as it is blocked off by rocks. The caves are about 0.25 miles from NF-18/China Hat (0.25 miles on Swamp Wells)[Ashwin Datta, 05/31/2016]
If you stop by the High Desert Museum in Bend and ask about the Arnold Ice Caves, they will give you a free map for the caves, complete with directions.[Matt, 08/09/2015]
In response to Chris's commentary: He's right, the caves are hard to find, but you can stop at the US Forestry Service office in Bend and they will give you all the info you need on the caves. We found that we had actually found all of caves and didn't realize it until we went to the US Forestry Service office. Two of the caves have been vandalized so we couldn't get into them.[Cindy, 06/03/2005]
The state or county or whoever has removed all the signs and identifying mile markers, etc., so that it is next to impossible to find any of the caves around Bend. Unless you've been there before and remember where they were, don't bother. You won't be able to find them.[Chris, 05/28/2005]
South of Bend, in the Oregon high desert, you will find the Arnold Ice Caves. These caves produce ice in vast quantities, and supplied the town with ice before electricity. At one time the powers that be built stairs into the cave, and the ice took over and covered the stairs. A must to see.[firstname.lastname@example.org, 02/01/1997]