The frost cave on Mount Etna

The Frost Cave is one of the classic destinations most visited by hikers on Mount Etna. The funnel-shaped lava conduit is about ten meters in diameter and remains covered with snow until spring.

Its entrance is characterized by a steep slope and a lowering of the ground where in winter a large amount of snow collects, which, due to the subsequent weak inclination, slowly slides towards the innermost areas of the cave, thus creating a natural deposit of frozen snow, which constitutes the southernmost perennial glacier in Europe.

La grotta del gelo sull'Etna Frost Cave on Etna

In spring, stalactite formations can be seen hanging from the cave entrance. These peculiarities have always fascinated many hikers, making it the best-known cave on Etna. Extending about 130 meters, with ice occupying 30 percent of the volume, the gallery is approximately 50 meters long. Since 1981, the ice has thinned due to climate change, less cold water, and increased visitors. Proper equipment is necessary due to the present difficulties.

The Frost Cave was formerly used by shepherds and woodcutters for water collection before becoming a hiking destination.

grotta del gelo etna sicilia Frost Cave on Etna

There are several ways to get to the cave. One option is from below, following the trail to the Raspberry Cave. Alternatively, start from the barracks at Monte Spagnolo, cross the high-mountain track to Monte Santa Maria, and take a path. Along the way, enjoy views of beech trees and lava flows from different eras, eventually reaching a steep slope with a view of the cave entrance.

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