Ice Caves Mountain

Ice Caves of the Shawangunks - Ellenville Ice Caves

Useful Information

Location: Near Ellenville, Ulster County, NY.
Open: Apr-Nov daily 9-dusk, weather permitting.
Classification: SpeleologyTectonic Cave Speleologyice cave Silurian rocks
Light: bring electric torch
Guided tours: selfguided. D=90 min.
Address: hiking permit: The Nature Conservancy Eastern New york Chapter, 200 Broadway, 3rd Floor, Troy, NY 12180, (518) 272-0195.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.



The Ice Caves of the Shawangunks have two very special features:

  1. The cave itself is of a very rare type: a so called Speleologytectonic cave.
    It was formed as a whole piece of the mountain pulled away, creating a semicircular ravine. Large blocks of Silurian rocks slid along fractures and bedding surfaces.
  2. The cave is also a SpeleologyIce Cave.
    It contains ice which stays the whole year in some parts.

In the crevices, the snow of the strong winters in this area, accumulates, forms ice and stays until the end of the summer. They are open at the top for the snow and the cold air to go in, but closed at the bottom. The cold air is a little heavier than warm air, so it stays inside the cave. This natural effect is also called cold trap and is used for deep freezes in supermarkets, which work well, even if they have no lid.

Most of the "caves" are more like an open crevice, but there also is a true cave which is entered through a big wooden door in the side of the mountain.

However, the whole region looks very strange, a fantastic landscape and an impressive geological feature, so it is worth the visit.