Apostle Islands Area in Wintertime
Posted On: 2018-12-17
I always wanted to go visit the northern lakes area in the wintertime, but so far I have not made it. Sometime after the 1st of the year, Lake Superior may freeze over solid enough for people to walk along the coast. If it does freeze over this year (usually the end of February) then you will be able to see
intricately carved sea caves in cliffs along the Mainland Unit of Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. There are large icicles and formations hanging off of the cliffs, curtains and columns of ice, and abundant ice crystals.
The ice caves are located at the western end of the Mainland Unit of Apostle Islands National Lakeshore in far northern Bayfield County in northwestern Wisconsin. There is a parking area and stairs to the beach/ice at the end of Meyers Beach Road. The ice that forms up along the shorelines is created by lake surface ice being blown by the wind onto the coasts.
If the ice isn't thick enough to walk on, you can still catch a glimpse of the caves from the mainland along the Lakeshore Trail, a rugged, 4.5-mile path along the cliffs. The trail includes a number of short, steep climbs and stream crossings, and with deep snow, it can be an even more challenging hike. Snowshoes would be helpful.
For more snowy escapades, try the 2-mile round-trip Big Ravine Trail, which starts behind the baseball diamond on Sweeney Ave. and follows a steep ravine lined with hemlocks outside of town. On the south side of Bayfield, the Brownstone Trail follows an old railroad line for a 5-mile round-trip hike.
On Madeline Island, the only inhabited Apostle Island, Big Bay State Park offers even more hiking, snowshoeing and cross-country ski options. When conditions allow, the island is accessible via a two-mile ice road across Lake Superior, lined with discarded Christmas trees. (yes, you can walk or drive across the Lake)
Mount Ashwabay, named for the three peninsula towns of Ashland, Washburn, and Bayfield, has 11 runs and a terrain park for downhill skiers and snowboarders, and the Jerry Jolly trail system featuring 40 kilometers of trails for classic and skate cross-country skiers. Mt. Ashwabay’s picturesque cross-country ski area features some excellent routes for both classic and skate-style skiers, covering more than 40 kilometers. Also perfect for snowshoers, the trails are regularly maintained and monitored to keep them in prime condition for the whole season
A great area dog sled guide is Wolfsong Adventures. They have dog sled day trips and weekend adventures, where you can learn to drive a team of Siberian Husky sled dogs. They have been in business in the Bayfield area since 1997.
If you have any adventures to share of a trip to the Apostle Islands area in the wintertime, please share them in the comment section below.