manitoulin falls ice cave

You can explore an epic ice cave in Ontario this winter

Few natural wonders match ice caves when it comes to sheer winter beauty. Even if you've somehow managed to dodge seeing the movie Frozen, you probably have a sense for how alluring a remote palace of ice can be. 

While there are a few small-scale ice caves within day trip distance of Toronto, the true beauties are located further north. The Lake Superior shoreline is often cited for its majestic ice formations, but you don't actually have to drive quite so far.

Manitoulin Island has one of the most epic ice caves around thanks to its Bridal Veil Falls, which is a popular summer destination. You can actually swim under this picturesque waterfall in July and August, but come winter, your exploration options are even more incredible.

Thanks to the shelf that creates the waterfall, hikers who make their way here during the coldest months can sometimes walk behind the frozen waterfall. It's not always safe to do so based on ice conditions, but many who've done it have stunning images of the ice tunnel.

You don't actually have to enter the cave to soak up the extreme beauty of the place, which is about as close to a true winter wonderland as you're going to find. The main trail leads directly to the foot of the falls, though it can be a challenging hike through deep snow. 

For adventurous winter explorers, however, the pay-off is big. Already this year, there are an array of incredible photos of the falls, both from in front and behind the frozen cascade of water.

Manitoulin Island is about a six hour trip in the winter, so if it's just frozen waterfalls that you're after, a short journey to Hamilton might be time better spent. For hardcore winter explores, however, Bridal Veil Falls can't be beat. 

Lead photo by

@prabh_2008


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