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Bayfield Sea & Ice Caves
Apostle Islands National Lakeshore
Meyers Beach

bayfield wisconsin ice caves
In addition to the ice caves, huge ice cicles decorate the cliffs.
- Many more photos below and links to Ice Cave Videos -

arrow Opening and Closing. Watch this space for notices on when the US Park Service certifies the ice is safe enought to cross. Also for notices on the Madeline Island Ice Road.

arrow Alternate Route to visit the Ice Caves - see information at the bottom of this page.

Contact Phone #s, Directions and Advice
on touring the ice formations are at the bottom of this page.

- Other Bayfield Attractions -
Links of things to see & do

- Madeline Island Ice Road -
- See MORE Ice Cave Photos -

- Wisconsin Winter Events - along Lake Superior

-Sea Caves Hiking Trail -

February 11, 2016. Ice is forming nicely in the waters around the Sea Caves. The frigid below zero temps will cease after this weekend, but the average temps should be well below freezing so ice will continue to build and thicken the ice on the over-water trail to the Lake Superior-Bayfield Ice Caves. Meanwhile enjoy the photos below.

A popular Bayfield, Wisconsin winter attraction is touring the Lake Superior Bayfield Ice Caves of the Bayfield Peninsula. In the spring, summer and fall we've taken the hiking trail from the Apostle Islands Meyers Beach parking lot to the top of the caves and have caught some impressive views of the caves.

During these three seasons, however, the best view of the caves is from the water . . . which is one of the prime reasons Bayfield is a popular kayaking center.

But winter makes the sea caves accessible to anyone willing to walk a little over a mile on the frozen beach and lake ice. It is fantastic, a really neat experience.

Every year Mother Nature sculpts unique formations in ice and snow which is why many people make an annual visit to the Bayfield-Apostle Island Park Ice Caves to see the latest exhibits on display.

Visiting the Sea and Ice Caves. See our tips near the bottom of the page, below the photos.


The Bayfield Sea Caves become the Lake Superior Ice Caves
(Click on little pictures for a larger view)

Bayfield, WI ice caves

In winter, the Bayfield Peninsula Sea Caves are transformed into
Ice Caves. It took several shots to get the right view through
this archway. The tiny figure in the background gives you an idea of the size of this cave. > > >

ice and sea caves apostle islands national lakeshore

< < < A beautiful day out on the lake. If it were summer, a lawn chair, umbrella, and a nearby beer and brat stand would nicely complement the ambience!


bayfield ice caves

< < Kids have fun exploring the ice caves, These two crawled into every one they could fit in.

ice caves ice cicles

Looking up at some ice stalactites hanging from the ceiling in another cave.

Bayfield sea and ice caves

The Caves also include lots of interesting icicle formations. > > >

sea ice caves apostle islands national lakeshore

< < < In places the ice was crystal clear. Jo was afraid to walk on it even though it was quite thick.

Bayfield sea and ice caves

This Sea Cave would make a terrific concert hall! Your voice reverberates with enthusiasm and you could hear a pin drop in it. > > >

bayfield ice caves


Another view of the same cave in a more recent year.

Bayfield sea and ice caves

ice sea caves apostle islands national lakeshore

< < < Jo inspects the south end of a deep crevace we have previously viewed from up above via the Sea Cave hiking trail.

Bayfield sea and ice caves

Being able to get up close to the ice caves, you can see many interesting formations.
> > >

sea ice caves apostle islands national lakeshore


< < < Another picturesque view of the bluffs that contain the caves.

Access Conditions to the Lake Superior Ice Caves

Lake Superior Ice thickness varies from year to year. In 2009 as of Feb 1, the over-the-water ice cave trail was open and the ice safe enough to walk on and trail was well trodden by that time. But when I checked on conditions in 2011, by mid-February the lake ice trail had yet to be declared safe and for the rest of the season. In 2014 ice formed early and was safe by mid-January.

smile Feb 21st, 2015 the ice trail to the caves was open.

sea caves ice sculptures

arrow An Alternate Route. Prior to the ice trail being certified as safe, you can still see some of the Ice Caves and Ice formations by taking the overland route along the LakeShore Hiking Trail (See pictures and more information here)

So if you want to check on up-to-the-minute conditions, the Park Service phone # is (715) 779-3398 x3. The Bayfield Chamber of Commerce also posts information on their Winter Recreation Report page. Another source of information would be the folks at Ehlers General Store in Cornucopia. Try this e-mail address:

When you go, bring some beverages and bars with you because the hike to the caves, then touring the caves themselves, and hiking back can easily take a couple of hours. (You'll walk from 3 to 6 miles depending on how extensively you explored the ice caves) I've been told porta-potties are on site but it would be a good idea to take care of those "chores" before you get to Meyers Beach (especially on a weeekend). Also on a weekend because of parking out on the highway you may have to walk a distance before getting to the lakeshore. I've heard there are shuttle buses between Meyers Beach and Cornie but a good idea to check that out ahead of time either in Bayfield or Cornie depending on which direction you are coming from.

Ice Caves Directions

Directions to the Ice Caves.
The turn-off to Meyers Beach (parking for the Ice Caves) is 4 miles east of Cornucopia on Highway 13. (click on map for Ice Caves parking lot location)

triParking & Shuttle Service Map

Ice Caves Volunteers - Thanks to the Bayfield Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau and the Friends of the Apostle Islands for providing funds to maintain seasonal park service staffing for the Ice Caves. And the Town of Bell has volunteered to assist in keeping the Meyers Beach road & parking areas plowed and clear of snow.

bayfield ice caves

Pictures of Current Ice Conditions - The Sea Caves Watch website, designed for kayakers and boaters wanting wave conditions near the caves, also has value in the wintertime to see evolving ice conditions. Go here for Sea Cave snapshots at various times during the day.

bayfield sea caves


See the Sea Caves in the summer by Kayak or Boat Tour. - Reinhold Development - 2016

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Apostle Islands Sea Caves Hiking Trail is about a 3.5 mile round trip from Meyers Beach to the Bayfield Sea Caves