Ice Mountain


   Ice Mountain is located near North River Mills off Cold Stream Road between Slanesville and Capon Bridge.  It is open to guided tours; for further information contact the West Virginia Chapter of the Nature Conservancy or contact local docents:
docent phone info

Nature Conservancy of West Virginia
P.O. Box 3754,
Charleston, WV 25337 Office: 304-345-4350
Area Representative: D. Michael Powell, Stewardship Manager,,
(304) 637-2859 ​(Phone), (732) 447-7113 (Mobile), (304) 637-0584 (Fax);
website: ​
The Nature Conservancy, West Virginia Field Office, 435 Wilson Street, Elkins, WV 26241


   Ice Mountain is a mountain running along the 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 fixing and dig 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. Each year the community holds North River Mills - Ice Mountain Day sometime in May. Come and enjoy a day in a wonderful little village. For information on tours of Ice Mountain, please see bottom of this page.


Click here for a page of Aerial Views of Ice Mountain


Some Special Plants of Ice Mountain Preserve

Appalachian wood fern - Gymnocarpium appalachianum
Bunchberry - Cornus canadensis
Canada mayflower Maianthemum canadense
Minniebush - Menziesia pilosa
Mountain maple - Acer spicatum
Nannyberry - Viburnum lentago
Northern bedstraw - Galium boreale
Prickly gooseberry - Ribes cynosbati
Prickly rose - Rosa acicularis
Purple virgin's bower - Clematis occidentalis
Shale barren primrose - Oenothera argillicola
Skunk currant - Ribes glandulosum
Starflower - Trientalis borealis
Twinflower - Linnaea borealis

Pest Alert

Hemlock Wooly Adelgid    adelgid3.jpg Adelgid tsugaePlease be advised that the Ice Mountain Preserve has a serious infestation of Hemlock Wooly Adelgid that poses a serious threat to the ecology of the area. The pest, Adelgis tsugae, was introduced into the United States around 1924 and has been spreading ever since. It has no known native preditors. The adelgid feeds on the tree especially in the spring by sucking sap from young twigs. This loss of sap causes needles to discolor and drop prematurely eventually causing the tree to die. The pest is dispersed by wind, birds and mammals including humans. The small eggs or immature pests may not be visible to the naked eye, but can cling to clothing and be dispersed where ever the person or animal travels. We strongly suggest that visitors to the preserve dust them selves off when leaving the area and remove and wash clothing as soon possible. adelgid2.jpg Adelgid closeYour assistance in stopping this damaging pest is appreciated.

Photos show the egg masses of Adelges tsugae on branches of the Hemlock at the Miller house in North River Mills. This tree and the trees in the preserve near the ice caves are due to be treated soon to kill the devastating pest.

Links for assistance with controlling Hemlock Wolly Adelgid:
    National Invasive Species Information Center of the U.S.D.A.
    Instructions for Treating Hemlocks with Imidacloprid from the University of Georgia (pdf file)
    How do I Save My HEMLOCKS? from the North Georgia College & State University



Tours of Ice Mountain
   Note: All tours of Ice Mountain Preserve must be accompanied by a registered docent. The area of Ice Mountain is a fragile environment! Watch where you walk! No pets allowed. No rock climbing or rappelling. Take only a photograph and be careful about your footprints.
Help us preserve this treasure for future generations! To make reservations for a tour, please call the phone numbers listed above or click here for Steve Bailes'sTour Reservations.

Ice Mountain aerial photo
    Ice Mountain as seen from the air in the early morning. The talus and Raven Rocks are in shadow. The open area at bottom of the screen is the Ice Mountain development on the west bank of the North River. Hiett Run comes from behind the mountain through the gap at the right and into the river. North River Mills is in the area of the valley running from the gap's mouth to the river. It is hidden below the hill in this photo.

    There are two tours of Ice Mountain given by local docents approved by the Nature Conservancy. One goes up to the chimney rocks (right of center) to enjoy the views of the surrounding country. The other goes to the base of the talus (center of photo) along the river to see the ice caves.


Our Ice Mountain Tour Album

Click on small image to view larger photo; click on large image to return to index. We recommend you use your "F11" key to toggle full screen viewing for these photos since there is a caption at the bottom of most photos.

What are the rules for visiting Ice Mountain?

What are the trails like on Ice Mountain?

What plants and flowers do you see?

Where is the ice?

What is the view from the top like? This wide photo requires you to move the slider at the bottom of your browser to see the entire image. Some browsers will not show the left-right slider in full screen mode; you may have to go to standard view to see the whole image.

Who will guide your tour?

  • 1845 Mr. Dever owns Ice Mountain
  • 1960s Mr. Lamar Pugh - grandson of Mr. Dever - owns mountain
  • late 1960s Mr. Otis Baker buys land from Mr. Pugh
  • 1971 Mr. Durst buys land from Mr. Baker
  • late 1980s developer buys land and creates subdivision
  • Nature Conservancy buys Ice Mountain section from developer