Winter Recreation Report

Mt. Ashwabay Ski & Recreation Area

Located three miles south of Bayfield, Mt. Ashwabay offers both cross-country and alpine skiing in a magnificent setting, featuring stunning views of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore and the Chequamegon National Forest. Cross-country trails cover 35 km of wilderness trails with ratings from beginner to expert. All trails are groomed and tracked as needed. The beginner’s trail is the picturesque Sugar Bush Trail. Intermediate terrain can be enjoyed on Anchor, Seagull and Raven trails. Advanced skiers can venture out on the longer 15 km loop, which combines Sugar Bush, Deer Path and Raven trails, returning to the Mt. Ashwabay chalet. Food, lounge, instruction and equipment rental are available at the chalet. The Ashwabay trails require users to purchase a daily or seasonal pass. These passes may be obtained at the Mt. Ashwabay Chalet. Trail user fees and donations made to the Ashwabay Education Foundation, earmarked for cross country ski trail maintenance, will go a long way in keeping this entire network groomed for your enjoyment.

Call (715) 779-3227 for more details.

Report by: Mt. Ashwabay Recreation Area

Nordic Conditions:
Date of Report: 1/25/2017
-New snowfall last 24 hours: a dusting
::Volunteer Groomer Activity Report:: 
-Skate: Anchor, Seagull, Rollercoaster, Telford, Jolly Long and Sugarbush Dog Trail
-Classic: tracked: Anchor, Seagull, Rollercoaster, Telford, Jolly Long, Sugarbush Classic, Seagull Connector, Oppedahl’s, Birch Hill and the Sugarbush Dog Trail.

Comments: There seems to be about 4-6 inches of packed base yet. Things firmed up enough that the trails seemed to groom into very good conditions in most places.

Dogs Permitted on some trails
Fatbikes Permitted on some trails
Snowshoeing Permitted on some trails

Alpine Conditions
Date of Report: 1/25/2016
We are still 100% open and will be for the rest of the winter! Even with the warm temps this past, skiers and boarders are having fun.

Grooming operations may be on-going, so please be aware. Equipment may be moving around the slopes. Please take care, and always ski/board under control.
::Alpine Conditions::
-New snowfall (last 48hrs): a dusting
-Base: 8-14 inches variable, machine groomed.
-Chairlift and Handle-tow both open
-Portway, Little Joe, D-4, Swiss Miss, Hemlock, the Drop, Skein Glades, and Jodi’s are all open.

::Tubing Conditions::
-Tubing lanes 1, 2 and 3 are open and running quick!

​ ::Freestyle Terrain::
-A couple boxes, a low rail, and several new features including the Troller Wall and one big tabletop have been set up in the terrain park. We welcome Volunteers to help set up boxes, rails, and other features on Little Willie beside the handle-tow. If you’d like to help, please ask Hill Operations.


Fat Tire Biking at Mt Ashwabay

Date: 1/23/2017

Trail Network: 7 miles round trip

Groomed Styles: 2′ wide single track (0.7 miles of 10′ wide multi-use trails)

Trail Ratings: Moderate to Advanced (hills, tight turns)

Area Report: Fat bike trails have not been groomed yet, but we will post updates here as we get them.

Bayfield County Snowmobile Trails

Bayfield County Tourism Area Trail Report:

Date of Report: 1/26/2017
Trail Conditions: Poor to Fair
Snow Cover: 0-6″

Area Report: Due to warm temperatures and deteriorating conditions all snowmobile trail grooming in Bayfield County has been suspended some sections of trails have been temporarily closed.

Expect varying trail conditions ranging from fair to poor. Trails are generally rideable with some icy, slushy, and bare spots. With cooler temps forecasted, expect more icy conditions. Trails in open areas/fields have very little to no snow cover. Use caution for exposed rocks, wet areas and icy conditions as trails could deteriorate quickly in a short amount of time.

Please keep in mind that some of these trails are on private land. Private landowners give us permission to maintain portions of these trails on their property. If a segment is in poor condition or if riding could result in damage, please refrain from use. Any damage to the trail system, especially those that exist on private land, will jeopardize our future use privileges and potentially result in permanent trail closures.

Under normal circumstances, winter ATV use is permissible only on snowmobile trails that are also designated as ATV trails. The warmer temperatures have created wet, sensitive and highly variable trail conditions. As a result, ATV use has the potential to damage the system and create additional problems when colder temperatures return. Until further notice, all ATV use is prohibited on the dual-use snowmobile trails. This includes tracked or wheeled ATVs and UTVs. However, ATV use is still allowed on the Tri-County Corridor and Town Road routes.

Trail Closures:
Trail 13 South out of Washburn to the Tri-County Corridor.
Trail 4 East and West out of Mason
Trail 63 South out of Mason to Grand View
Trail 31 South in Barnes.

The new 2017-2018 Bayfield County Snowmobile Maps have arrived!!! Also, download the Avenza app (free) and get the updated 2017-18 Bayfield County Snowmobile Map on your device before you hit the trails – it will allow you to locate yourself on the trail map with GPS so you can see where you are (no cell reception required)! The Forest Service is also working on uploading maps for the Motorized Vehicle Use Map and their non-motorized trails to be used via the Avenza app soon.

Gary Dalzell – Woodside Cottages of Bayfield:

Date of Report: 1/22/2017

Trail Conditions: Well folks, we have been going through what everyone else has the past week. Warm weather and rain. Looks like another two days of temps in the mid 30’s but very little rain then we will see some change for the better.

In spite of it all, from what I have seen by driving out to the trails, there still is a decent base. I have not been on my sled for a week and plan on going out Tuesday afternoon for a recon mission. At that time I will advise you of conditions as well as provide a weather report. We could get some light snow Tuesday into Thursday which would be very welcomed.

We encourage riders to consider joining the Apostle Island Snowmobile Club. The annual membership is $20 which includes membership in AWSC where the trail pass can be purchased. Give us a call if you need more info.


Drummond Ski Trail – Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest

Report by: Washburn Ranger Station – Chequamegon Nicolet National Forest

Report Date: 1/23/2017

Trail Report: The Drummond Area Ski Trail Association reported that the tracks have been holding up in this warm weather. As long as the temperatures remain below freezing, the tracks should hold their shape. The base on the trail is thin so grooming is on hold until more snow and colder temperatures arrive. Think more snow!!

Backcountry Available

Just a reminder, the annual Forest user pass or payment of the daily user fee is required at most recreation sites across the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest. The 2016 annual Forest user pass is available at local vendors, Forest Service offices, or online at link below. The Forest user pass is $20/vehicle sticker and a second sticker for an additional $10.


Madeline Island – Ice Road Access

Last Updated: 1/26/2017

Ice Road is NOT YET OPEN for the season. The Madeline Island Ferry Line is currently running regular trips between Bayfield and La Pointe.

Please click on the link below for the current ferry schedule.

Apostle Islands National Lakeshore – Ice Caves

Report by Apostle Islands National Lakeshore: January 26, 2017


When Lake Superior freezes, snowmobiling and ATV use is not permitted within 1/4 mile of the mainland from Saxine Creek to Sand Point.

The most up-to-date information on ice conditions is always available on the Apostle Islands ice line: (715) 779-3397 x3.

For additional information click here to visit the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore Sea Caves website.


Ashland County Snowmobile Trails

Trail Report: Ashland County

Reported By: Ashland Area Chamber of Commerce

Date of Report: 1/26/2017

Trail Conditions: The snowmobile trails throughout Ashland County are partially open for the season.

Area Report:
The Snowmobile Trails in Ashland County are now partially open but not groomed at this time. The open trails listed below are in poor condition. Be cautious! There is water and slush on the trails.
Mellen South is open
Bayfield County Trail 90 South is open
Ashland to Mellen is closed
Ashland to Trail 90 is closed

NOTE: The Tri-County Recreational Corridor, a 62-mile stretch of abandoned railroad right-of-way running from Ashland to Superior, is ALWAYS OPEN.
ATV routes and other trails designated by towns under state law are not affected by seasonal closures. Trail users should check local regulations for trails they plan to use.
In the City of Ashland, ATVs are NOT allowed on the 5th Street Corridor.

Please click on the link below for the most up to date information on snowmobiling in Ashland County.

Mt Valhalla Winter Sports Area – Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest

Ten miles west of Washburn, on County C, is the Valhalla Winter Sports Area nestled in the Chequamegon National Forest, offering two sets of cross-country ski trails developed and groomed by the U.S. Forest Service. The three Valkyrie loops run through red and jack pine forests, with magnificent views of the area on the Sun Bowl Loop. The Teton Ski Trail also features three loops in a mixed birch and maple forest with a roller coaster near the end of loop “B”. County C runs between Valkyrie and Teton with parking area and rustic chalet on the Teton side of C. Please contact the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest office in Washburn at (715) 373-2667 ext 238 for more details.

Report by: Washburn Ranger Station – Chequamegon Nicolet National Forest

Report Date: 1/23/2017

Trail Report: The Teuton Trails were groomed on Tuesday, January 17 and the Valkyrie Trails on Wednesday, January 18. Some portions of the trails have a 6 inch base, but it is shrinking quickly. The rain that is coming down today is melting the snow cover in the parking lots and on trails fast!! The entrances and portions of the parking lots are slushy with some ice patches, so please use caution when driving and walking in the parking areas or around facilities. The warmer temperatures are forecasted into next week. Think more snow!!

Please note that fat tire bikes are not an authorized use on any of the trails. Many roads across the forest are packed down by snowmobile use and maybe utilized for fat tire bike use. Pick up your Motorized Vehicle Use Map (MVUM) to see what roads maybe available to ride.

Just a reminder, the annual Forest user pass or payment of the daily user fee is required at most recreation sites across the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest. The 2016 annual Forest user pass is available at local vendors, Forest Service offices, or online at link below. The Forest user pass is $20/vehicle sticker and a second sticker for an additional $10.


Bayfield Sled Dog Trails

Trail Report: Bayfield Area

Reported by: Wolfsong Adventures in Mushing

Date of Report:1/23/2017

Area Report:
All the inland trails have around close to a foot of hard base and are excellent for dogsledding. We are continually getting lake effect snow. Snow hooks can easily hold a decent sized team. The numbered roads in the Chequamegon National Forest in the North Boundary Road/Cnty C area and the parking lot at Butterfield/Star Route would be ideal running spots. The Apostle Islands Sled Dog Race has been packed again as of Tuesday and will be weekly groomed. The gravel pit along 13 has plowed access. If you park at Butterfield/Star Route, please pull in diagonally in the middle of the lot to allow access on either side. Note that there is still hauling occurring on the western side trail at the Butterfield parking lot so it would not be recommended to run down that trail. The logging will be done within the next couple of weeks. Just north of Butterfield across Star Route part of the trail that heads downhill was recently plowed but is not active in logging. It is now groomed and safe to run. Butterfield Road itself is the trail and connects with a lot of other roads in the county forest and into the Chequamegon. The roads are likely still run now and then by pickups, so stay to one side and beware. Snowmobile traffic is probably light but wear bright clothing like blaze orange or a high-vis vest so you can be seen by anyone else out there. Our snow total so far this season is around 58 inches.


Snowshoe Trails

If skiing isn’t quite your cup of tea, but you are still looking to explore the beautiful trails the Bayfield area has to offer at this time of year, snowshoeing is always a great adventure.

The Brownstone Trail

The trail runs along an old railroad bed which skirts the lakeshore just south of Bayfield. Trailhead access is at the kiosk on Third Street, kitty-corner from Maggie’s Restaurant. You’ll enjoy splendid views of Madeline Island, see people ice-fishing in the Chequamegon Bay and enjoy the sights and sounds of winter in Bayfield.

The Ravine Snowshoe Trail

The trail travels uphill along the steep, hemlock-studded rim of the big ravine. Take young children by the hand! Trailhead access is on 4th Street uphill to the Bayfield School. Turn left on Sweeny Avenue and park at the baseball field. The trail is behind the fence to the right. This trail is also enjoyed by cross country skiers please do not snowshoe on the two track. Also a part of this trail system is the Iron Bridge Nature Trail. This magical winding trail is for sure footed hikers and follows the ravine creek under the old Iron Bridge and uphill to a rocky grotto with small waterfall. Pick up the trail at the Iron Bridge located at 3rd Street and Rice Avenue.

Jerry Jay Jolly – Pikes Creek Trail Network

Just South of Bayfield off State Hwy 13. Take County Hwy J to Star Route Road 2 1/4 miles to the parking lot on the left. This trail hooks up with the Mt Ashwabay ski trails which require a fee so please watch where you are and please stay off of the groomed ski track.

Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center

The center allows guest to check out snow shoes and snowshoe on the trails behind the center.

Houghton Falls

3.5 miles north of Washburn on State Hwy 13. Turn on Houghton Falls Road and go 1/2 mile to Houghton Falls Nature Preserve parking lot on our right. There is currently no fee for hiking or parking and pets are allowed if leashed and cleaned up after!

The North Country National Scenic Trail

Snowshoe the trail and experience winter views throughout the Rainbow Wilderness Area or portions of the National Forest near Lake Owen. This trail is not groomed, but is marked with blue blazes.