The snowmelt from the north face of Big Four Mountain is channeled into several small rivulets that collect into a small stream and crash hundreds of feet over a wall into a pile of ice. The water has created a large, deep alcove in which the annual snowfall accumulates and creates an ice field that lasts year round. The falls descend immediately behind the ice accumulations, and flow beneath the ice, reemerging at the foot of the snowfield. In the summer, warm air is pushed downward with the water behind the ice, and starts to melt out the ice. In the late summer, several large Ice Caves form in front of the falls. The Big Four Ice Caves are one of the most popular attractions around. BEWARE - the caves are very unstable and several people have been injured, and recently 2 people were killed by collapsing Ice. DO NOT enter the caves. The falls become much less impressive in the summer months.
- Rucker Falls is the Proposed name of this waterfall.
The Big Four Inn once stood in the fields at the picnic area near the trailhead, operated by the Rucker family. The icefield at the base of the falls was once known as the Rucker Glacier (since shown to not be a glacier however) thanks to the 1917 trail-building efforts of the proprietors of the nearby Inn. Since their name has since vanished from most reference of the area, I felt it fitting to grace one of the permanent features of the Big Four area with their name. I had previously called this waterfall Ice Cave Falls.
Drive east of Granite Falls for about 25 miles to the signed Big Four Picnic Area. The falls can distantly be seen hurtling down the mountainside from the interpretive site describing the old Hotel that once stood in the field in front of you. An easy mile-long trail leads to the Ice Caves and the base of the falls, however the bridge crossing the Stilliguamish River was washed out in 2006 and has not yet been replaced.