Join Master Naturalists for a Guided Tour of Ice Mountain!
PVMN Continuing Education Hours Eligible — Registration Required
Ice Mountain is located near North River Mills off Cold Stream Road between Slanesville and Capon Bridge in Hampshire County, WV. It is open to guided tours by appointment and is owned by The Nature Conservancy.
Ice Mountain runs along North River just north of North River Mills where the old colonial road from Winchester to the South Branch came down from Sandy Ridge and Grape Ridge along Hiett Run and crossed North River. The mountain contains a set of stone chimneys called “Raven Rocks” and a large talis. At the base of the talis is an area where small caves hold ice most of the year. One of the popular ways to celebrate the Fourth of July in old days was to bring an ice cream freezer and digging ice from the mountain to make ice cream for a picnic. To this day there are flowers growing at the base of the talis that are found only in areas in New York state and northward. The mountain is a unique ecosystem for a middle Atlantic state. The rock chimneys are named after the large ravens that make their home in the area. Today one may also see eagles in the area.
During the Civil War the mountain was often used as a lookout point and the surrounding area was the scene of small skirmishes and interesting stories. At the base of Ice Mountain is the small village of North River Mills that today contains the remains of three mills. In the late 1800s the village post office served over one hundred people. Today the village has no full time resident, but the Methodist Church, built in the late 1880s, is still home to a small, neighborly congregation.
The trail to the top of Ice Mountain is a steep incline with switch back trails and is rocky at the top. Not a trail for the faint of lungs or knees. We will take a few breaks going up. Coming down is usually swift. Of special interest are the Black Birch trees that grow near the top of the mountain and the panoramic countryside views. The trail along North River to visit the ice caves is gentler, cool and refreshing. Make sure you leave time to tour the inn with its vintage displays and historical information.
Ice Mountain is accessed across private property and can only be toured with an assigned trained docent. We are to meet a docent at 10:00 am in the parking areas of North River Mills village. The tour is limited to the first 15 registrants.
Bring water, sun screen, insect repellent, and wear weather appropriate clothes and sturdy shoes. There is room to picnic in the Village if you want to bring a lunch.
You may drive yourself or you can carpool with us. From I81, Winchester, VA., take Rt. 50 West to Capon Bridge, WV. In Capon Bridge, cross the bridge then turn right on Cold Stream Rd/Springfield Grade (by the white Methodist Church). Proceed 8 miles to North River Mills.
Carpoolers will meet at 8:40 am, in Inwood, at the old Food Lion Parking lot on Rt. 51 (4803 Gerrardstown Road), just east of I81. If you have questions, call or text Mary Palmer, 304-702-8202.
To find this location, either Search “Ice Mountain Nature Conservancy” or use the following coordinates: 39.33655638, -78.50336594