Catching the Cold at Big Four Ice Caves in Verlot, Washington
Just northeast of Everett/Lake Stevens, catch the Mountain Loop Scenic Byway inside the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. The hiking trails here offer a pleasant and accessible walk through the temperate forest and over the Stillaguamish River, easy enough for hikers of all levels. To get to the caves, however, you'll need to bring sturdy hiking shoes to traverse the rocky surface that surrounds the openings. At the base of Big Four Mountain, the ice caves are shaped by glacier avalanche snow and ice combined with warm winds and flowing water. Heed the warning signs not to enter or stand too close but you still can peek inside and catch the cool blasts of air, especially refreshing on a hot summer day.