Christmas Trees line the ice road to Madeline Island from Bayfield, Wisconsin
Madeline & Apostle Islands Directory
Apostle Islands Cruise
Raspberry Island Lighthouse
Meyers Beach - Sea Caves Hiking
Wisconsin Superior Sea Ice Caves
Apostle Islands Links
Apostle Islands-Bayfield Sled Dog Race
Wisconsin Lake Superior Winter Events
January 31, 2015. The ice on Lake Superior is now thick enough to travel on the ice road. . . . for cars and light trucks.
March 18, 2015 However now the ice road is closed and service to Madeline Island is provided by the Wind Sled.
Feb 14, 2017 Unfortunately the ice is not thick enough for the Ice Road and unlikely to be so in 2017. However good news is the open water is allowing the Madeline Island Ferry to run its "BreakUp to May 5th" schedule for the remainder of the Winter.
Madeline Island, the most southern island of the Apostle Islands, is the only one occupied year- round. Once the lake begins to freeze over the car ferry between the island and the Bayfield mainland ceases to operate. For a time while the ice is getting thick enough for traffic, an Ice Sled water taxi (Windsled) allows passenger travel to and from the mainland. The Wind Sled is a large, covered, flat-bottomed airboat that is able to travel on the ice but will float should the ice not be thick enough to support it.
Once the ice thickens enough to support conventional vehicles the Madeline Island Ice Road is officially opened to cars, trucks, and buses. The company operating the Windsled then switches to a large passenger van running on the same service schedule. With both the bus service and private vehicles able to cross the lake, the pace of activity on the island picks up abit. On our visit we found the Bell Tavern open, a grocery-convenience store doing some trade, and a few other places of business apparently operating in the winter. As you might expect, however, many of the homes and B&Bs, and several businesses, on Madeline Island were closed for the winter.
The trip across the Ice Road was an adventure and it was fun to drive around LaPointe seeing how things looked covered in snow. Tom's Burned Down Cafe was closed but the Bell Tavern was open - serving snowmobilers and people like us who traveled across the bay in their cars and trucks.
The town Gazebo that normally greets you as you get off the Car Ferry is now covered in snow waiting for spring. > > >
< < < The Post Office remains open (through ice, sleet, and snow!) throughout the winter.
One boat didn't make it out in time to escape the freeze-up!
< < < It will be a few months before Tom's Burned Down Cafe opens for business.
But the Bell Tavern is open all winter long.
On Feb 28th, 2009 Bells hosted a winter performance
of the Big Top Chautauqua Show. > > >
More photos and info about Tom's Cafe and the Bell Street Tavern.
Down at the main Bayfield Dock, several boats are frozen in for the winter. > > >
< < < Here's another view of the Bayfield Harbor from the Ice Road to Madeline Island.
Greunke's Restaurant, famous for its traditional fish boils and fresh Lake Superior Whitefish and Lake Trout, rests for the Winter. It opens in April. > > >
< < < The Bayfield Skyline from the middle of the bay.
Exploring the Bayfield Lake Superior Ice Caves. > > >
Madeline Island Links
Some helpful links for visiting and touring Madeline Island:
SuperiorTrails.com - Reinhold Development - 2016
Lake Superior Camping
& Campground Directory
Camping along the Lake Superior Circle Drive.
See the lighthouses on an Apostle Islands Cruise.