Rock River Canyon Wilderness Area and the Eben Ice Caves

Rock River Canyon Wilderness Area and the Eben Ice Caves

The Rock River Canyon Wilderness area is located just north of the town of Chatham in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. The Wilderness Area is part of the Hiawatha National Forest and as such is maintained by the US Forest Service. The 4,640 acre area is accessible from Chatham by exiting M94 onto Rock River Road and heading north just a few miles.

Rock River falls is a point of interest for many hikers. There are many trail through the wilderness area that lead to the falls. For those who enjoy fishing the Rock River and Silver Creek offer Brook Trout, Brown Trout, Rainbow Trout, Coho Salmon, and Northern Pike. For the hunter or wildlife enthusiast the are contains Whitetailed Deer, Black Bear, Ruffed Grouse, and various small birds and mammals.

Probably the most note worth find in the area are the Eben Ice Caves. These caves are formed by the freezing of groundwater as it trickles over a cliff face. As you can see from the photos the ice becomes quite thick.

To get to the ice caves you just turn north across from the Superior Central School and follow the road north. There are signs directing you to the parking lot for the ice caves. On the weekends the owners of the parking lot offer a concession stand that pays for maintenance and the portable outhouses.

You start at the parking lot and walk across a farm field then follow the trail down into the canyon. I suggest that you where cleats or use a walking staff as the trail can be steep and slick in places.

When leaving the cave I would suggest using the rope to climb to the top and take the high trail out. This will save you a long climb out of the canyon.

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