Absolutely Frigid Idaho Ice Cave is the Most Unique Way to Beat the Heat
When we asked Boise newbies what shocked them the most during their first year living in the City of Trees, we couldn’t help but laugh at how many of them were directly related to summer.
From how hot it gets to how late the sun goes down, Boise summers seem to confuse those who had a completely different idea of what our fair city is really like.
If you’re one of the folks entering your first summer in the Treasure Valley, now you know. It’s going to get ridiculously hot because we are located in the high desert after all! The good news is there are plenty of ways to cool off in and around the great State of Idaho. Locally, you can choose from one of the many public pools, Roaring Springs, ponds or floating the Boise River. Travel a little bit further and you can take a dip in one of Idaho’s chilly blue lakes or ride a natural waterslide.
But what if you don’t want to get soaked? Then we found you the perfect and possibly most unique way to cool off in Idaho! The Shoshone Ice Caves!
The caves are about a two-hour drive from the Treasure Valley and thanks to a special door at the entrance that keeps warm air out in the summer, they’re an icy cold 23-33º year-round. According to the Shoshone Ice Caves' website, the caves are 1700 feet long, 50 feet wide and 45 feet high. According to a 1989 article from Deseret News, it's been around for over 35,000 years. After a young boy found it in the late 1800s and told people in town about it, it was used as a source of ice that people could you to refrigerate things at home or beer at the nearly two dozen saloons in town. It was also a popular destination for figure skaters to come practice since there was no local ice rink.
Unfortunately, a group of people who wanted easier access to the cave led to the ice's demise. They blew a bigger hole in the wall, allowing hot air to flow in and melt almost all the ice.
So how did the ice return? When the Robinson family took control of the land in the 1950s, Russell Robinson started to brainstorm ways to restore it to its former glory. By 1962, his work adjusting the entrance size and understanding the airflow that allows the caves to act as a natural refrigerator allowed the ice to start forming again.
Today, Robinson's legacy is carried on by the newest owners Shane Wallace and Shelly Adamson who acquired the cave in 2019. They, along with their team of guides, will offer tours daily through the end of September. They're $8 for kids 4-12, and $12 for those 13 and over. (Kids under 3 are free.) If you're interested in taking the coolest underground adventure you'll find this summer, you can learn more and book through their website HERE!