Winter Recreation Report
Experience the magic of Bayfield this winter! Ski, snowshoe, hike or try out a fat tire bike, the possibilities are endless!
Wander through miles of snowshoe and hiking trails that hug Lake Superior. Glide through more than 40 kilometers of groomed and tracked ski trails through mature boreal forests at Mt. Ashwabay.
Check out our winter events and trail reports below and start planning your winter adventure!
Report Date: 3/20/2023
Mt. Ashwabay Outdoor Recreation Area is celebrating its 75th Year in 2023!
Nordic, Snowshoe, Skijoring/Dog, Fatbike Trails
Open access 24/7
Pay in the Chalet or at Trail Heads
The last day will be March 18th.
Nordic Conditions: Good
Alpine Conditions: Groomed
Snow base (in inches): 14-42"
One of the great thing about the trails at Mt. Ashwabay is that they don't have open and closed hours. You can come early in the morning or late at night and get out and enjoy the beauty of the woods. With the Spring Season probably coming, we will continue to groom and maintain the trails when the weather allows. The quickest updates will be on skinny ski, followed by the website, Facebook, and the trailhead.
BooBoo Bearcat snowmobile was out this morning tracking the back half of Deerpath and Blackbear. Harold, the snowcat, finished grooming all the skate combo trails yesterday. This leaves the first section of Deerpath, Seagull, and South Lower Sugarbush yet to be groomed.
Report Date: 2/2/2023
For the latest updates please call 715-747-5400 as this report is not updated daily and conditions can change quickly.
The ice road is very fragile and in the winter, a lifeline for those who live year round on the island. There is limited transportation between LaPointe and Bayfield in the winter months, so this is not a “tourist attraction.”
Conditions can change quickly and too many cars going too fast across the road can damage it, causing officials to close the road for everybody.
We encourage you to call the ice road hotline 715-747-5400 and do not plan a trip to Bayfield or LaPointe expecting the ice road to be open when you arrive.
However, there are plenty of other winter activities to be enjoyed in and around Bayfield outlined in this winter recreation report!
Update from Madeline Island Ferry Line (Facebook Page)
Ferry Status for Friday (February 24, 2023): Weather conditions are improving. We will be running all scheduled trips as follows:
To Island: 7am, 9am, 10:30am, 12:30pm, 2pm & 4pm
To Bayfield: 7:45am, 9:45am, 11:30am, 1:15pm, 2:30pm & 4:30pm
Ferry Status for Thursday (February 23, 2023): All trips CANCELLED. The National Weather Service is predicting heavy, blowing snow and northeast wind 20 to 30 mph, with gusts as high as 45 mph. Passenger and crew safety is a priority. Thank you.
Transportation between Bayfield and Madeline Island is also provided by Windsled Transportation once ice forms in the bay.
Monday thru Friday
Leave MADELINE ISLAND: 7:30AM, 8AM (School Kids only if in session), 9AM, 11:30AM, 3:45PM (School Kids only if in session), 3:45PM & 4:30PM
Leave BAYFIELD: 7:45AM, 8:15AM (School Kids only if in session), 9:30AM, 12:30PM, 4PM (School Kids only if in session), 4PM & 4:45PM
Leave MADELINE ISLAND: 9AM, 11:30AM & 4PM
Leave BAYFIELD: 9:15AM, 12:15PM & 4:15PM
Leave MADELINE ISLAND: 9AM, 12Noon & 4PM
Leave BAYFIELD: 9:15AM, 12:15PM & 4:15PM
Mt. Ashwabay Ski & Recreation Area
Report Date: 1/27/2023
Trail Network: 12km 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)
Ashwabay fat bike trails were groomed Friday evening. The cold temperatures this weekend should firm things up. The woods are looking awesome. There is a lot of snow out there!
Snowshoeing is encouraged on the Fat Bike trails, it helps pack in the snow, so if you want to get outside that is a good option.
Winter Fat Tire Biking
Comments: Due to the amount of snow the best opportunities for winter fat tire biking on the Washburn Ranger District would be on our plowed roads. Typically, roads that are plowed are opened up for access reasons such as homes, main routes, and /or logging operations. Please use caution when riding or driving these roads as they are typically not as wide during the winter due to the snow, are highly used routes and could have large truck traffic. Also, the conditions of these roads can change quickly.
Location: Contact Washburn Ranger District at (715) 373-2667 for a copy of a plowed road map.
Report by: Bayfield County Tourism
Report Date: 3/23/2023
TRAIL STATUS: OPEN
SNOW BASE: 7-9 INCHES
GENERAL AREA REPORT:
Still plenty of snow out there, but the warm temps have kept many groomers off the trails. This is the last weekend of riding. Trails will close on March 31st at midnight.
Barnestormers - Plenty of snow on the trails but grooming is difficult. Trail 31 has been groomed in the Barnes area.
Drummond Sno Jacks - Drummond trails are holding up. All Drummond area trails have been groomed this week.
Namakagon Trail Groomers - Namakagon area trails are in good condition.
Northern Adventures (Iron River Area) - All trails in the Iron River area have been groomed this week.
South Shore Trails Club - All South shore trails will be groomed by Friday and in great shape.
Washburn Valhellers - No recent grooming due to equipment breakdown. Trails are open with plenty of snow.
White River Ramblers - All trails will be groomed for the weekend.
Detailed reports from snowmobile club trail reporters are posted on Snowtracks and at www.travelbayfieldcounty.
comalong with closures due to logging activity.
Trail Status: Open
Trail Conditions: 7-9" of packed/groomed snow
Report Date: 3/21/2023
General Area Report: Good
Snowmobile Report – March 21, 2023
Ashland County snowmobile trails remain OPEN and in Good to Excellent condition! This will be the last weekend the trails will be open! Groomers in Ashland County continue to be out working on the trails. Slow down, stay right, and be prepared for icy corners, hills, intersections, and changing snow conditions. There is still ice underneath this fresh snow and snow drifts in areas so please BE CAREFUL! Logging continues on Trail 8 from Parker Rd to White Bass Road. Please use caution and ride safely. Only 200 feet of trail will be dozed on each side. Detour has been posted on Trail 12. Be aware of more traffic in that area due to logging in progress. Area affected is by Agenda Rd and Blueberry Rd. Enjoy your ride and stay safe!
Please stay on the trail. A lot of Ashland County snowmobile trails are on farmers' land, please be respectful so we don’t lose our easement to their property. Snowmobiles may not be modified, or operated, to amplify or otherwise increase the total vehicle noise above the originally manufactured snowmobile noise level.
As always operate with everyone’s safety in mind and report any hazardous trail issues that are observed to the Ashland County Sheriff’s Department (715-682-7023 opt 1) so that it can be forwarded to the appropriate service.
The Tri-County Corridor is open from Superior to Ashland. There are still several areas on the eastern end that require attention but all known hazards have been identified and marked. Use caution when approaching ribbons, barricades, and cones.
Important reminders: There is no snowmobiling allowed from Ashland to Bad River/Odanah as snowmobiling is not permitted on reservation land. However, snowmobiling is allowed from Bad River east to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
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.
Howl Adventure Center
35265 South County Highway J
120 Rittenhouse Avenue
The Brownstone Trail
The trail runs along an old railroad bed that 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.
Currently, a section of the Brownstone Trail heading out from the city of Bayfield is closed. The closure is between S 7th near Sea Gull Bay Motel to the intersection of the trail and Lake Shore Drive. There is a re-route via Hwy 13. This section will be closed until further notice.
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.
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!
Lost Creek Falls
Take Hwy C south of Cornucopia 1.5 miles and turn right on the Trail drive to Trailhead parking lot. This waterfall features a lovely 8-foot plunge, with smaller cascades below. The hike to the falls is through a scenic, forested area ad the trail is well maintained with boardwalks and bridges.
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.
Report Date: 1/27/2023
Report by: Skinny Ski
The Boulevard all the way out and around the North Country Trail (NCT) loop has been compacted and tracks set. It's been a long time coming to have it all set with tracks. We have over 30 hours of clearing branches and trees so far this season.
All the inner loops in Drummond have tracks (except lower Racetrack). The base is fairly soft, but the tracks look good. The lower part of the Racetrack only got rolled. The far end of the Boulevard didn't receive any attention today, but was rolled earlier this week. Only one new downed tree needed cutting! This is the first grooming to set tracks in a couple of weeks. It has been a challenge to get all of the downed trees out and the brush that hits you in the face trimmed. There's still more to do. As the season progresses we'll be able to get everything in better shape, nature permitting.
The Drummond Recreation Trail system is located on gentle terrain and is groomed for classic technique cross-country skiing. The trail is located in a northern hardwood forest that has inclusions of large white pine, click here for a ski trail map.
The North Country Trail loop, the Racetrack, and Playground are located in more rolling terrain.
The trail system provides access to the North Country Trail, which you can travel south onto the Lake Owen Recreation Area.
During the summer, this trail is a nice place to hike or bike. In the winter, check the Cross-Country Ski Trail Report for the current conditions of the trail.
Location: The Drummond Ski Trail is located south of Drummond, WI about one mile. From US HWY 63 in Drummond, go south on Lake Owen Scenic Drive (FR 213) for about 1 mile. Turn left onto the access road into the parking area.
Report Date: 2/22/2023
Report by: Skinny Ski
Loops A B and C on the Teuton side are groomed and tracked! Valkyrie side has been run with the drag. Still a lot of debris and frozen snow mounds that fell from the trees over there. Enjoy chasing the fresh tracks before the blizzard sets in!
(Connie Rasmussen - from skinnyski.com)
Teuton trail system (10.2 miles): Groomed
Valkyrie trail system (11.1 miles): Groomed
Location: From Washburn, go northwest on County Hwy C for approximately 8.5 miles. The main trailhead with a chalet and warming room is on the left-hand side of the highway.
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 Teuton 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 a parking area and a 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: Apostle Islands National Lakeshore
Report Date: 1/6/2022
CLOSED, Here’s why
- Open Water
When the ice caves opened in 2014-2015, ice cover on Lake Superior was more than 90 percent.
Typically, ice in and around the sea caves is visible in late February to early March. Staff at the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore monitor weather conditions and ice formations very closely to ensure visitors can view them safely if and when they form.
When the caves are not directly accessible, you can still hike on the mainland trail above the caves and view them from that vantage point. If you do hike that trail, be sure to wear proper footwear and potentially use poles since there are no railings and there are some steep hills.
*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.*
Visitors are also advised that the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore does not permit any vendor to charge a fee for tours of the ice caves. While other sandstone formations outside of the National Lakeshore (in the surrounding area/Chequamegon Bay) may sometimes be accessible by ice, visitors do so at their own risk.
Please be aware that the sandstone/brownstone cliffs along the shoreline outside of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore are not the same as the Apostle Islands ice caves and are less dramatic since the shoreline is more protected from the crashing waves (which causes erosion and creates the more distinct formations that appear in the National Lakeshore).
You can also call the “ice line” updated every Thursday: 715-779-3398 ex. 3.
Also check out the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore Facebook page, updated every Thursday with ice cave conditions.
OTHER ICE CAVE VIEWS:
People can hike the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore Trail at Meyers Beach, which extends 4.5 miles from Meyers Road past the cliffs above the mainland sea caves. The trail alternates between boardwalk and a rugged path with stream and ravine crossings. It’s located 5 miles east of Cornucopia on Highway 13. Best to have crampons or some kind of shoe grip if venturing out in the winter.
Visitors are also advised that the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore does not permit any vendor to charge for tours of the ice caves. While other sandstone formations outside of the National Lakeshore (in the surrounding area and Chequamegon Bay) may be accessible by ice, visitors do so at their own risk.