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! 

Winter Events

  • Report Date: 1/31/2023

    Mt. Ashwabay Outdoor Recreation Area is celebrating its 75th Year in 2023! Join us on the trails and slopes for some special events throughout the winter. 

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

    Nordic Conditions: Good

    Snow Base: 15-18" 

    Turned onto Ski Hill Road and AC DC was playing For those who Love to Rock on the radio. That was a sign today was going to be an awesome day of skiing. 4° at the start of the ski. Classic skied something over 30 km: Rollercoaster, Middle Connector, Anchor, up Big Anchor hill, Seagull connector, up Seagull Classic, down Seagull skate, Abbey Road up past Sugarbush cabin, Sugarbush upper, Sugarbush middle, Jerry Jolly north to south, up Big Anchor hill, Seagull connector, up Seagull skate to Summit, down Seagull skate, across Seagull connector, upper Anchor, Powerline, Middle connector, Anchor, Middle Anchor hill, across upper Anchor, Abbey Road up, Black Bear, Northern Lights, Deerpath, Buzz, across base, Rollercoaster, Powerline, upper Anchor, down Middle Anchor hill, Anchor in. 2 hours 35 minutes. My gu did not freeze today! Fresh tracks and skate deck everywhere, but the tracks on Northern Lights and Buzz are old and slow. Kick was awesome, green swix in the fresh tracks was fast as ever! Hill climbs were kickable, skate deck was firm and forgiving. What a beautiful ski! That Rocked! Thank you groomers! (Skinny Ski Report Kevin Grand)

    Alpine Conditions: Groomed 

    Snow base (in inches): 14-42" 

  • Mt. Ashwabay Ski & Recreation Area

    Report Date: 1/27/2023

    Area Report: 

    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: 1/26/2023

    Status: Open

    Condition: Good

    Base: 10-12"

    Fresh snow falling mid-week should make for great riding this weekend. Trees and branches continue to fall so please ride with CAUTION. 

    Barnestormers  -  Trails are groomed and in excellent condition. Colder weather this weekend should help keep them in good shape.

    Drummond Sno Jacks  -  Drummond trails are great. Groomer is out daily, hitting all trials every other day. As usual this year, watch for fallen branches etc on the trails.

    Frosty's Vintage Riders  -  No report

    Namakagon Trail Groomers  -  All NTG trails were groomed and are in excellent condition. 

    Northern Adventures (Iron River Area)  -  Iron River area trails and trail 4 to Mason will all be groomed this week and in good shape for the weekend.

    South Shore Trails Club  -  All South Shore trails will be groomed by Thursday and are in great condition.

    Washburn Valhellers -  Washburn area trails are in excellent condition. Two shifts were groomed Tuesday. Please be aware of one caution area on trail #13 between Washburn and Valhalla along County C. The groomer got stuck and there are ruts, water and mud on a short section of uneven trail.

    Grooming schedule:

    Wednesday: Trails 13, 35, and 31 around Valhalla and the Sunbowl

    Thursday: Trails 13,33,31 and 63

    Friday: Moquah Spur and 13 into Washburn

    White River Ramblers -  All trails in the Delta area will be groomed by Friday and are in great shape. 

    The Tri-County Corridor is open all year long, but check conditions. 

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

    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

  • Trail Status: Open

    Trail Conditions:  8-12" of packed/groomed snow

    Report Date: 1/25/2023

    General Area Report:

    We have SNOW!!  All trails are in excellent condition. Be careful and watch for down trees and low-hanging branches. Wet areas still could be soft, be cautious in those area. Groomers are all out grooming the trails. Enjoy the trails and be safe.

    Please stay on the trail. Lots of Ashland County snowmobile trails are on farmers' land, please be respectful so we don’t lose 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.

  • 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 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.

    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 Date: 1/27/2023

    Report by: Skinny Ski

    Snow Conditions: 

    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.
    (Jim Crandall)

    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.
    (Jim Crandall)

    Packed/Groomed/Tracked: Packed 

    Comments: 

    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: 1/27/2023

    Report by: Skinny Ski

    Base: 8+"

    All trails are open. Valkerie side loops, A, little A, and B are groomed and tracked. Teuton side A loop is groomed and tracked. B and C were groomed and tracked yesterday.
    (Samuel Wiggins)

    t was great to play out in the sunshine today. A, B and C loops on the Teuton side are groomed and tracked. A, B and C loops on the Valkyrie side are cut open, and tracks are set on C loop. With the new fluffy snow The deck is a little soft, the tracks took really well and should set up nice with these cold temperatures. Enjoy!
    (Connie Rasmussen)

    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.

    Links

  • Report Date: 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. 

    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!

    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

    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

  • 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.

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