Shoshone Ice Caves, Idaho

I've said it before and I'll say it again, I am a tourist through and through. Whether it be in my home country or city or a completely foreign setting, I have a sixth sense for cheesy tourism. So, it should come as no surprise that I thought it very appropriate to find Chief Washakie, leader to the Shoshone people and "friend to the whites," welcoming me to a side of the highway tourist attraction in southern Idaho.

Last month, we found ourselves in the middle of nowhere desert somewhere between Boise and Hailey. We cruised along highway 75 most of our first day out there, and by the second day I could no longer resist the over-sized wooden sign along the highway pointing us in the direction of the Shoshone Ice Caves. Something about stopping there made me feel proud to be touring my country, like this is what good old American tourism is all about. I was hooked.

Frozen Feet

Since it was early in the season (open from May to September), we were the only tourists waiting around for the next forty-five minute guided tour, which is the only way to see the cave. Before our departure, the guide looked down at my sandals, "You do realize this is an ice cave, right?" Honestly, I did realize that, but somehow the thought of packing a pair of socks in my purse completely slipped my mind. At any rate, we made our way down to the cave by climbing along volcanic rock, produced over thousands, probably millions, of years of eruptions from nearby (and dormant) Black Butte.

We descended into a sink hole to reach the cave, which is actually a lava tube, squeezed through the narrow opening of the entrance door, and were immediately confronted with the freezing temperature. I paid no mind to the numbness in my toes and continued on. Walking along suspended wooden walkways and viewing platforms, we hovered above the ice. After a glimpse at the ice wall and a black light show featuring gems and minerals from the area, we made our way back to the souvenir shop where we began our tour.

Trip or Trap?
Some may call it a tourist trap, but I consider the Shoshone Ice Caves a pleasant detour from the ordinary. What's not to like about a family owned and operated interactive geology and history lesson? Next time you're driving along Highway 75 and you want to escape the heat, take a worthwhile trip to the Shoshone Ice Caves. Don't forget to visit the museum!

For your Rolodex:Shoshone Ice Caves * 1561 N. Hwy. 75 * Shoshone, ID 83352 * (208) 886-2058


  1. That sounds like a great, unexpected adventure in the middle of Idaho. Cheesey tourism sounds good to me.

  2. I'm sorry, I couldn't stop laughing. You ended one sentence with Black Butte and the next paragraph with...sink hole.
    Ok, I'm screwed in the head, aren't I?

  3. Fly Girl - Glad you appreciate the cheese.

    Jen - You dirty girl, I love it. Though, now when I reread my post I can't stop giggling. I did not do that on purpose, but that doesn't mean your screwed in the head...


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