Winter Activities

Ski, snowshoe, hike or try out a fat tire bike – Bayfield has something for everyone during the winter months.

Check out the reports below for conditions and activities.

Click here to find a place to stay. 

Click here to see what dining options are open. 

  • Report by: Apostle Islands National Lakeshore

    Report Date: 3/10/2022

    CLOSED, Here’s why

    • Fractured ice in and around the caves with wave action.
    • Southwest winds this winter are contributing to these conditions causing the ice to blow in and out.
    • Warming Temperatures going into spring.

    At this time, it’s unlikely there will be access to the ice caves in 2022 based on Lake Superior ice cover. Staff at the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore say Lake Superior has about 50 percent ice cover. 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.

    For more information about the ice caves, check their website.

    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.

  • Last Updated: 3/18/2022

    Madeline Island Ice Road

    For the latest updates please call 715-747-5400 as this report is not updated daily and conditions can change quickly. 

    As of Friday, March 18 the ice road is CLOSED. With warming temperatures, it’s unlikely they ice road will open again this season. If you live on the island, call Arnie for instructions on how to get to the island.

    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!

    From the Ferry Line: “Due to ice conditions, today (Tuesday, January 18, 2022) is the last day of ferry service. Last trip to Madeline Island at 3pm and to Bayfield at 3:30pm. Thanks for a great season – we will see you in the spring!”

    Transportation between Bayfield and Madeline Island is also provided by Windsled Transportation once ice forms in the bay. At this time, the Windsled is running.

    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

    Saturday 
    Leave MADELINE ISLAND: 9AM, 11:30AM & 4PM
    Leave BAYFIELD: 9:15AM, 12:15PM & 4:15PM

    Sunday 
    Leave MADELINE ISLAND: 9AM, 12Noon & 4PM
    Leave BAYFIELD: 9:15AM, 12:15PM & 4:15PM

    Information for the Madeline Island Ice Road is available on the Facebook page. This Facebook page is managed by Windsleds, Inc.

  • Nordic, Snowshoe, Skijoring/Dog, Fatbike Trails
    Open access 24/7
    Pay in the Chalet or at Trail Heads

    Date of Report: 3/15/22

    Nordic Conditions: Great

    Snow Base: Compact 12″  

    The temperatures are warming, but there is still a ton of snow out on the nordic trails. Monday and Tuesday we rest tracks and combed skate lanes. With the warming temperatures it was difficult to set tracks in full depths in many places.

    From Skinny Ski: “Skied 17km classic today and the conditions were fabulous! Northern Lights was groomed picture perfect: firm skate deck, good tracks, and firm pole plants. Best conditions I’ve skied here all season!”

    From Skinny Ski: “If you’re reading this, I’d grab the skis and head to Mt Ashwabay. The conditions are just that good. Classic skied 32 km. Tracks are still firm, grippy, and have glide. Violet swix wax was liquid fast at temps during my ski. Groomers regroomed and retracked Northern Lights and Buzz. Buzz is firming up nicely. Jerry’s Long Loop is phenomenal, and with that said Anchor and Sugarbush clusters can’t be beat. Watch out for grouse flushing on the side as I noticed four more this morning sunning themselves. So good, this ski can’t be beat!”

    Don’t forget to come on up to the Chalet after your ski for a hot drink, some food, or a beer!  We have an outdoor food service window and an outdoor fire pit if you prefer not to go inside.  (Masks required in the Chalet)

    Alpine Conditions: Groomed 

    Snow base (in inches): 16-36″  

    We have so much snow that Mt. Ashwabay will be open two extra days for Alpine Skiing!

    March 18, 4-9 p.m. (Youth Night)

    March 19, 9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

    Hours:

    Wednesday 9:30 a.m. – 6 p.m.

    Friday 4-9 p.m. (Staring on the Jan. 14)

    Closed Monday, Tuesday, Thursday

    Saturday 9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

    Sunday 10:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

    Notable Dates:

    Junior Race Programs:
    February 12, 1-3 p.m.
    February 19, 1-3 p.m.
    February 26, 1-3 p.m.
    March 5, 1-3 p.m.

    King and Queen of the Mountain: Sunday, February 27.

    Friday Youth Nights Starting January 14, 4-9 p.m.

    MADski, Youth Lean to Ski Program, Saturday Mornings

    Located three miles south of Bayfield, Mt. Ashwabay offers both cross-country and alpine skiing in a

  • Trail Status: Open

    Trail Conditions:  Good

    Date of Report3/15/2022

    General Area Report:

    The Snowmobile Trails in Ashland County are Open and are in GOOD condition.  Due to the warm temperatures grooming is not happening at this time.   Watch for machinery on Trail 21-13, south of Cayuga, trail being rebuilt by Forest Service.  Detour:  Snowmobilers go South on 181-183 intersection and can get on the trail by the little stub off 181 that goes to the trail.  Watch for logging where trail crosses Mud Line on Trail 12 (out of Butternut) and CAUTION, keep an eye out for chunks of dirt and rocks.

    Please stay on the trail. Lots of Ashland County snowmobile trails are on farmers land, please be respectful so we don’t loose our easement to their property.

    Detour:  Snowmobilers go South on 181-183 intersection and can get on the trail by the little stub off 181 that goes to the trail.  Watch for logging where trail crosses Mud Line on Trail 12 (out of Butternut) and CAUTION, keep an eye out for chunks of dirt and rocks.

    Please stay on the trail. Lots of Ashland County snowmobile trails are on farmers land, please be respectful so we don’t loose our easement to their property.

    As always please follow the snowmobile trail rules and regulations. 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 you would like to receive an Ashland County Snowmobile map, let us know and we will mail one out to you! Call us at 715/682-2500 or toll-free at 1-800-284-9484.

  • Report by: Bayfield County Tourism

    Last Updated: 3/16/2022

    Status (Closed, Open, Partially Open): Open 

    Condition (Poor, Fair, Good, Excellent): Fair

    Base: 6-12 Inches

    Spring has sprung and our trails are deteriorating quickly. There is still a lot of snow on the ground, especially in the northern part of the county, but with the temperatures in the forecast snow won’t last long. There’s time to get in one last ride but temper your expectations. Trails will close Sunday at 11:59 PM.

    Just a reminder to all to please respect private landowners and stay on the trail. Stay on the trail or stay home.

    Some trouble spots to note:

    • The Wally Polk Trail/Trail 40 near Port Wing and Herbster is closed. Flag road is a suitable re-route.

    Just a reminder to all to please respect private landowners and stay on the trail. Stay on the trail or stay home!

    Some trouble spots to note:

    • The Wally Polk Trail/Trail 40 near Port Wing and Herbster is closed. Flag road is a suitable re-route.
    • Trail 1 to Red Cliff/the Casino is temporarily closed due to a landowner issue. We have a solution, just need more snow/time to get it rideable.

    Detailed reports from snowmobile club trail reporters are posted on Snowtracks and at www.travelbayfieldcounty.com along with closures due to logging activity.

    Links to trail conditions for all types of trails can be found at www.bayfieldcounty.wi.gov/trails.

    Links

  • 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.

    Snowshoe Rental:  

    Howl Adventure Center
    715-779-5561
    35265  South County Highway J
    Bayfield, WI

    Sweet Sailing
    715-779-3682
    120 Rittenhouse Avenue
    Bayfield, WI

    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.

    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.

    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!

    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 by: Skinny Ski

    Date of Report: 3/10/2022

    Snow Conditions: Good 

    Packed/Groomed/Tracked: Packed 

    Comments:

    “Drummond Ski Area received a layer of ice and then a few inches of snow. No one has groomed since before this occurred. Tracks are still in place. The ice has brought frozen limbs into the trail corridor. Please be safe and attentive. 25”

    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) about 1 mile. Turn left onto access road into the parking area.

  • Date of Report: 3/10/2022

    Report by: Skinny Ski

    Base: 30″

    Teuton trail system: Groomed and widened for skate and tracked for classic ski.

    Valkyrie trail system: Groomed/Tracked for classic and snowshoes.

    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.

    Links

  • Mt. Ashwabay Ski & Recreation Area

    Report Date: 3/7/2022

    Area Report: Mike groomed Monday evening and reports good conditions.  The rain/sleet/snow actually provided some moisture to set up the trail.  Be sure to lower your tire pressure if you are slipping and digging in during the warm part of the day.  Cold nights should make for good riding all week!

    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)

    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.

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