Road Trips,  UTAH

Bear Lake Paris Ice Cave

Bear Lake Ice Cave

Bear Lake is one of the most underrated vacation spots in the western US. It has it all, great water, old-fashioned restaurants, good people, and the view. Oh, goodness that view. The water is so clear and blue it’s ideal for photos and any road trip bucket list must include the Bear Lake Ice Cave

bear lake ice cave
Ice Cave

While you’re there one of the least known destinations is the Paris Ice Cave. There’s always ice in this small cavern. I felt it cool immediately, even after one of the hottest summers on record the size of the ice chunk was surprising.


If you want to visit the Bear Lake Ice Cave, I’d start at the Labeau’s Drive-In in Garden City. While you’re there pick up one of their famous raspberry shakes. Bear Lake is known for their amazing raspberries and this is one of my favorite spots in town.

Start there and head north on US-89 for about 20 miles, you’ll be driving along the edge of the lake for most of the way. Roll the windows down and enjoy the clear mountain air.

I was there in the fall, and the quakes were peaking. The colors were gorgeous so don’t mind if I throw in a few extra shots. With an autumn like this I couldn’t resist.

Screen Shot

Service may be spotty so take a screen shot of this before you get too far. This way you’ll have step by step directions to get there. I’ve been out on an adventure and couldn’t get my maps to load or my GPS to locate me and I had to guess, making several mistakes.

State Boarder

On the way don’t forget to stop at the Utah/Idaho border and snap a shot with the signs.

bear lake ice cave

When you arrive in Paris, Idaho, take a left or west onto canyon road. You’ll see this sign.

There are a few gorgeous houses along the way but don’t let that discourage you, you’re on the right road.

Canyon Rd will become Green Basin Road, you’ll want to stay on this. Some maps may also call it County Road 421. There are several Y’s in the road but they have signs to the cave so don’t worry that you’ll miss a turn.

First Fork

This will be the view at the first fork in the road.

Take the right one.

Second Fork

Here’s the second Y, you’ll want to go left. This whole area is a part of the Bear Lake Wildlife Refuge.

You’ll see many signs along the way.

Third Fork

There’s one more fork in the road. The sign looks like this, and you’ll take another left. You’re gaining in elevation so you’ll start to see a lot more pine trees.

Shortly after this last fork you’ll see this rock formation on your right. This is it. It’s easy to overlook and the sign is turned away from the road but you’ll want to stop here.


Try not to park on the foliage, there’s a plenty of clear space for your vehicle. The foliage is protected, a lot of the sage brush and plant life in the region are endangered and every time someone drives off-road that spot has to be regrown and that takes time and money away from other projects. On average 10 years to regrow. We love our public lands and we want to see them thrive. It may look like some insignificant weed but it matters. The time, money, and energy it takes rehabitating growth because it was destroyed by cars is a waste of very limited resources.

bear lake ice cave


The overlook into the cave is great. Be careful, the edge is rough and rocky, ankles can sprain easily on this awkward terrain.

There’s a tunnel to the left, North-north-east if you’re using a compass. It doesn’t go all the way through but it’s a fun spot for a photo opp. bear lake ice cave

It was a very tight fit and the rocks have caved in the trail. The path looked like it would have gone clear through to the cavern but I hit a wall and turned back. I didn’t feel comfortable climbing down the unstable pile from the top but there were tracks from where others had chosen to.

bear lake ice cave


The sign under the tree is where the real trail starts. To the left of the sign a small path will take you around to the opening of the tunnel.

bear lake ice cave

There’s a wooden walk that will get you past the muddy portion at the beginning and then you’ll enter the cave.

The Bear Lake Ice Cave is a small cavern that has an opening at the top so you won’t need flashlights if you go during that day. The glacier is near the south-eastern corner where there’s shade year-round.

What to Expect

It’s small but every winter the cave fills with snow and never melts completely.

bear lake ice cave

Another point to know, this is open graze lands. Farmers can bring livestock out here to graze so be ready for cows on the road. Please, don’t hit my sweet grass puppies. I’m very fond of them. There are a lot of wildlife in the area as well. Prairie dogs, hawks, the rare eagle if you’re lucky. There’s also elk and bear so don’t approach, they can be quite dangerous. I only saw chipmunks and deer on this trip but I’ve seen large game in the area before. This being protected land general means they tend to group here.

Happy Travels

For more photo’s check out Dashboard.Destinations on Instagram.
See you out there.

As per usual, I took way more pictures than I could possibly post on here so if you’d like to see more I have several accounts that I’ve posted more images on.

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  • Clark

    I can practically smell the clear mountain air as I read your post. Just a beautiful, beautiful description of the entire journey. And the beautiful photos! I won’t be with nature much anytime soon (because of Covid-19 lock-down, duh!) and perhaps the Universe knows so it brings me your post instead to keep me sated for the time being. 

    I supposed the animals you encountered were wild? I love it when cute, non-dangerous animals come up to me in the countryside.

    • NJKuhr

      I’m so glad I could bring a little be of wild into the lockdown for you. This is one of my favorite secret places. Birds and chipmunks come up to me all the time but they’re used to people feeding them in popular hiking areas. Though I know I shouldn’t feed them but I did have a small deer walk up on me once, she didn’t get too close. A bear walked along a trail maybe 150 feet in front of me but that was the closest I’ve gotten and I’m grateful. I don’t want to get too close to some of the larger wildlife. 

  • gifstandholidays

    It is a beautiful Site, with true natural art. The images belong in a art gallery. This is both a positive and a negative at same time. Though the images might be extremely artistic. They have not human presence that make me want to visit the Caves, forest or the Mountain fact it makes me not want to go. 

    I would like to go to beautiful places like these where:

    1. There is people many or just a small group if i need quietness.

    2. The emptiness of the images make me think there is no one there, its a wilderness.

    You might just want to put the pictures for sale and sell the images.  They are gorgeous.


    • NJKuhr

      Thanks, It’s usually just me when I go so that’s why there’s no one in the pictures but I’ll try to add more of a human element to my shots. Thanks for such a great compliment.

  • Richard

    I am mesmerized by the scenic views. Just looking at the photos gave me a feeling of freedom. The closest I could relate in my own travels is when I was in Western Australia doing a road trip north of Perth. The waters are also crystal clear and driving along the road has a resemblance to what I’m seeing here. But no caves nor ice. Hope I can visit Bear Lake someday in my life. Thank you for sharing this article. 

    • NJKuhr

      Australia’s on my bucket list too. Utah has so many amazing locations, and five national parks so the northern half tends to be less known. There’s a reason Utah is the third most photographed state in the US. Bear Lake is wonderful. I hope you get the chance to visit this area. 

  • Sylvia

    Hi Norma,

    This is a great area of the states. It looks beautiful. I haven’t yet been to the states, but I really have to say after I have seen such beautiful websites of different areas, I definitely would love to come. You are a great hiker, I believe, and you are very passionate. I love this beautiful nature. Thank you very much for your information. 

    • NJKuhr

      Of course, there’s so many great places in the US to visit. If you enjoy the outdoors and hiking Utah is one of the best places to go, most of the state is protected wild life lands and it’s the third most photographed state after Alaska and Hawaii. We’ve got it all. 

  • Michael

    Nice photography, great commentary and a unique way of offering travel directions. 

    I would appreciate a little more on the historical aspects of these places, but I guess it is a website encouraging people to get out there. 

    I have added you to my favourites. As a traveler I like new experiences, and your site comes from a different perspective.   

    • NJKuhr

      I appreciate it so much. Instagram is a great tool to get people inspired but so many miss out on things because they simply didn’t know about them. I started Dashboard Destinations to get people more aware of these small features. 

  • Aluko kolawole


    Thanks for sharing this educative topic about bear lake paris ice cave, this is my first time of hearing about the bear lake likewise, is fun to hear all this about bear lake great water, old fashioned restaurants, good people, and the view,  the water is so clear and blue it’s ideal for photos. I believe is a good idea place for my next vacation.


  • Abel

    Thank you for not letting go by the opportunity of reminding us to not park on the foliage. Regrowing the area can be quite an expensive and time consuming project. And it’s completly unnecesary if we avoid parking outside of the area established for parking. These small things make a big difference.

    • NJKuhr

      They really do, there’s such small things that could create a lot of damage. Things that people don’t always notice or even aware of. 

  • Tosin

    Hello Jean! You definitely would make an amazing tour guide, just like you previous posts, you didn’t disappoint with you very meticulous details. Some questions though, you didn’t quite include the financial implications of some activities, i would have loved to know more about that, and also if there’s a y restrictions worthy of note. Thanks for the heads up about service disruptions, I can’t imagine getting lost in the woods with a non functional map. 

    • NJKuhr

      There aren’t any financial requirements for this trip but I should have mention that right away. I definitely do for things I know cost but I should remember to mention it when they don’t.

  • Stephanie

    Such beautifully aesthetic pictures you have there and if I’m not mistaking, you took them yourself? What a wonderful hand you have for art and taking pictures. Also, the description you provided of this ice cave has actually making me want to go on a road trip over there. I can’t imagine the weather being over 95° degrees and still being able to experience that cold feeling when you’re near or on the cave. My only concern would be the lack of phone service over there. Not only because of the lack of gps information but what if you’re having an emergency, you can’t reach anyone to get help. Regardless of that, this is a must for anyone who loves nature and wants to go out for new adventures. 

    • NJKuhr

      Thank you, I did take the pictures. The drive is pretty short, so if there is an emergency, you wont have to go far to get service. 

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