In addition to the ice caves, huge ice cicles (icicles) decorate the cliffs.
- Many more photos below and links to Ice Cave Videos -
March 17, 2021. When will the Bayfield Lake Superior Caves open?
Not likely in 2021 due to unsafe ice conditions. But you can look at the pictures below and also consider taking the land-based Lake Shore Hiking trail where you'd be able to glimpse some of the formations (like to information about the Lakeshore Trail near the bottom of this page)
For the most current conditions, see "Ice Caves Web Cam" link at the bottom of this page and check our Winter Weather & Snow Reports page for more detailed information.
Meanwhile check out the photos and videos lower down this page.
At present an alterative is to take the overland Lakeshore Hiking Trail out to the top of the caves where you can see some of the formations.
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.
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.
Madeline Island Ice Road is not yet open!
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)
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. > > >
< < < 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!
< < Kids have fun exploring the ice caves, These two crawled into every one they could fit in.
Looking up at some ice stalactites hanging from the ceiling in another cave.
< < < In places the ice was crystal clear. Jo was afraid to walk on it even though it was quite thick.
Another view of the same cave in a more recent year.
< < < Jo inspects the south end of a deep crevace we have previously viewed from up above via the Sea Cave hiking trail.
Being able to get up close to the ice caves, you can see many interesting formations. > > >
< < < Another picturesque view of the bluffs that contain the caves.
See Photos of the Sea Caves from the water in the summer
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 remained closed. In 2014 ice formed early and was safe by mid-January. In 2015, the ice trail to the caves opened on Feb 21st.
In 2016, the trail was close to opening mid-February but then winds and warmer weather broke up the ice and the Park Service did not certify it as safe.
As of February 2, 2021 the ice to and around the Caves is still deemed unsafe but consistent below freezing weather ahead bodes optimism for an opening soon.
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)
Another Alternative to Explore: WolfTrack Guides - Snowshoe Adventures to the Ice Caves, led by a guide from the Red Cliff Tribal lands section of the Bayfield Ice Caves.
Are the Bayfield Ice Caves Open & What are Conditions?
So if you want to check on up-to-the-minute conditions, the Park Service phone # is (715) 779-3398 x3. Or check out their Ice Caves web page.
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 weekend). 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.
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)
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.
Daily Web Cam Photos. Go here for Sea Cave Web Cam snapshots at various times during the day. Pick on the picture link for the most recent date. (PS Sometimes the lens on the camera freezes over with frost)
SuperiorTrails.com - Reinhold Development - 2021
Lake Superior Camping
& Campground Directory
Best Camping along Lake Superior.
Apostle Islands Sled Dog Race
An entertaining family winter event celebrating its 24th year
Copper Falls State Park
is near Mellen, Wisconsin.
Take a scenic drive of
farms and orchards in the Bayfield area.
See the lighthouses on an Apostle Islands Cruise.
Lake Superior Camping
& Campground Directory
Camping along the Lake Superior Circle Drive.