superiortrails superiortrails - shovel point

Bayfield Wisconsin Lake Superior Ice Caves
Apostle Islands National Lakeshore
Meyers Beach

Wisconsin Lake Superior Ice Caves

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.

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 -

We greatly enjoyed our first visit to the Bayfield Ice Caves, so we had no problem talking ourselves into a return visit. Located near Cornucopia Wisconsin, and part of the Apostle Islands National Park, the Lake Superior Ice Caves are located at the NW tip of the Bayfield Peninsula. Each year Mother Nature creates a new landscape in the ice formations so even if you've been to the Ice Caves 10 times before, your next trip will always have new surprises.

While we brought our snowshoes we left them in the car because there was already a well trodden path to the caves and no substantial recent snowfall. I think they may have made the trip out to the caves a little easier - primarily because we could have taken short cut rather than trekking along the beach path.

If you visit the ice caves, make sure you pack some water and bars because your trip out there and back, plus exploring the caves can easily consume two or three hours.

If the Park Service doesn't certify the ice safe enough to walk on in 2015, the photos here will have to suffice. Unless you want to hike the LakeShore Hiking Trail and see them from above - which is what a number of people have done this winter.

Here's an example of how the ice sculptures change from year to year.
(Click on little pictures for a larger view )

Bayfield, WI ice caves

On our previous trip I took a picture looking out towards the lake through this arch (left view).

Bayfield, WI ice caves

On this trip, from roughly the same vanatage point, this same arch looked quite different ( right view).

Ice Cave Photos

So 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. In recent years the ice hasn't been thick enough to allow the Park Service to OK the safety of the trail. But the winter of 2014 was very good for thick ice and thousands of people have enjoyed the trek out to see and experience the ice caves and ice sculptures.


bayfield ice caves
Bayfeild Wisconsin Ice Cave Photo by Ty Daniels

Lake Superior Ice caves

There was a steady parade of people coming and going to the Caves. It is a one mile hike just to get to the start of the caves and then another two miles if you go all the way to other end. > > >

sea and ice caves apostle islands national lakeshore

< < Look how this huge pipe organ shaped ice formation dwarfs onlookers.

flying over the Bayfield Lake Superior ice caves

If you want to see the Ice Caves in comfort, flying may be the way to go. This plane made several low level passes by the Sea Caves giving the passengers a unique view. > > >

Lake Superior ice caves apostle islands national lakeshore


< < < I liked this interesting cave.

Bayfield sea and ice caves

Kids had lots of fun climbing into the caves. > > >

Lake Superior sea ice caves apostle islands national lakeshore

I recognized this rock formation from the last time we took the Apostle Islands Park Lakeshore Hiking Trail in the summer to the top of the caves.bayfield superior sea caves

Here's this formation as viewed from the top in the summer (see right).

ice caves apostle islands national lakeshore

< < < This one reminded me of the jaws of the Alien Monster in the classic movie "Alien."

bayfield bluffs along the sea cave ice trailBayfield Lake Superior ice caves



On the way back, the setting sun provided an attractive silhouette for these two pictures.

the Lake Superior sea and ice caves apostle islands national lakeshore Bayfield, Wisconsin

< < < Ice Cave Trekkers almost finished with the long hike back to Meyers Beach.

Ice Cave Video

Here's a video of Jake Ring's visit to the Wisconsin Lake Superior Ice Caves in February of 2014. Thanks Jake for sending this along to us.

red triangleSee More Photos of the Bayfield Ice Caves

sea ice caves apostle islands national lakeshore

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 wasn't 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.

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. - Reinhold Development - 2015

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