The Ice Caves: A Breathtaking and Rare Winter Adventure
THE ICE CAVES ARE CURRENTLY INACCESSIBLE.
We will update this page as conditions change.
You can also call the “ice line” updated every Thursday for current conditions: 715-779-3398 ex. 3.
As snow and ice transform the quiet landscape during the winter season, the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore offers a popular attraction in the dazzling shoreline ice caves at Mawikwe Bay. The caves are part of the mainland unit of the Apostle Islands National Park. The Ice Caves were last accessible in 2015. The best chance for the ice caves to be accessible is mid-February to mid-March.
When the ice caves are accessible, the most common way to get to them is to hike out from Meyers Beach Road, which is well-marked on the Bayfield Peninsula’s Highway 13 (approximately 17 miles north of Bayfield). Park your vehicle and hike one mile east to the ice caves.
*Please be aware the ice caves and lakeshore trail are in a remote location and access to emergency services could take up to four hours. Make sure you are prepared with personal safety equipment and/or a first aid kit.*
While access to the ice caves along the shoreline is inaccessible at this time, you can see them from above by following the Apostle Islands Lakeshore Trail that extends above the mainland sea caves from the Meyers Beach parking lot. The trail alternates between boardwalk and a rugged path with stream and ravine crossings and can be challenging in the winter. Make sure you have the proper footwear.
Although thousands of visitors trek out to experience the fantasy, hikers are warned that conditions can be dangerous when access from the shoreline is granted, appropriate hiking boots are needed as the ice can be slippery and bumpy with snow cracks and ice and snow mounds. Snowshoes are not recommended unless there has been a recent heavy snowfall. Ice cleats are highly recommended.
The winter adventure of seeing the beauty of the ice caves will take your breath away. Lakeshore cliffs along Lake Superior form crimson red borders to create an arctic landscape. Pillars of ice extend to the cliff tops where waterfalls have hardened in place. Frozen Lake Superior water encrusts the base of the cliffs. Inside the ice caves await a fairyland of needle-like icicles. The Lake Superior ice cave formations change from chamber to chamber and from day to day.