Winter Recreation Report

Apostle Islands National Lakeshore – Ice Caves: Currently Inaccessible

Report by: Apostle Islands National Lakeshore

Report Date: 1/18/2018

THE ICE CAVES ARE CURRENTLY INACCESSIBLE

Despite cold temperatures and the appearance of an ice pack, ice conditions on the lake are very poor and the ice caves remain inaccessible. The park’s Ice Rescue Team tested the ice over the weekend (1/6) and found the early ice and slush didn’t form well. It blew into shore in pieces, creating “pack” ice that is very weak. These pieces are also jagged, making it nearly impossible to walk across. The additional snow on top prevents you from seeing your footing. One team member explained, it feels like walking on bowling balls. The jagged ice also makes it impossible for snowmobiles to navigate in case of emergency.

Often this early ice blows out and is replaced by smoother, higher quality ice. This is what happened in 2015, the last time the ice caves were open.

At the very earliest, it would be the end of the month before conditions could be safe enough to open the caves. Most years, the caves aren’t accessible until mid- to late February.

For the most up-to-date information about ice caves in the Park, check any of these options:

1) The Official Apostle Islands National Lakeshore Facebook page at www.facebook.com/apostleislandsnationallakeshore;

2) The park website www.nps.gov/apis; and/or

3) Call the Ice Line at 715-779-3397 Ext. 3 for updates

As a word of caution, there are non-official Apostle Islands Facebook pages and websites posting information about ice caves that are neither part of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore nor regularly monitored for safe ice conditions by anyone.  Park Rangers monitor the ice and open or close the caves within the National Lakeshore only. The Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa  has advised us that no one checks the ice off the Reservation shoreline for its safety and they are not behind, nor supportive of, efforts to encourage visitation to the “Red Cliff Ice Caves.”. They have also advised us that the Legendary Waters Resort and Casino parking lot is available for patrons of Legendary Waters only.

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

Links

Madeline Island – Ice Road is open to Light Cars and Light Trucks ONLY

Last Updated: 1/18/2018

The Ice Road is open as of January 18, 2018 to light cars and truck ONLY.  Due to constantly changing road and weather conditions it is important to check before traveling.  Stay informed.  Call 715-747-5400

Bayfield County Snowmobile Trails

Washburn Ranger District Trail Report:

Date of Report: 1/18/2018
Trail Conditions:

Open: Excellent condition

Area Report: 

The whole county received some much welcomed snow earlier this week! Our groomers are out there getting our trails in great shape. Detailed reports from snowmobile club trail reporters are posted below. Get ready for some great riding!

Namakagon Trail Groomers: All trails had been groomed prior to the new snow. The system is in Great shape!! With the new snow of 5-8 in. they will get even better! We have a base of 5-8 in. Namakagon Trail Groomers will be out laying down the new snow and getting the trails tip top before the weekend. We do have a couple areas that are going continue to be of concerns. One being Trail 90 at Old Grade and Federal roads. Heavy logging traffic. They are running trucks in and out Old Grade and Federal rd. Both roads are marked as detour for trail 90 however the town had to plow down so the trucks can meet each other. Another area of caution is trail 15 north of Club Lake Rd. Water from a spring continues to weep out of the hillside where the trail had to be rebuilt last year causing ICE down and across the trail!  As always watch for Groomers and ride safe!

Snojacks: All trails are in very good condition with a 4″ to 6″ base after early week new snowfall amounts of 8″ to 10″. All trails are being groomed and work will continue up until the weekend. Trails should hold up through the warmer temps forecast for the weekend with more snow expected early next week.

Barnes Barnestormers: With the additional snow we received we are receiving reports from riders that the trails are in great shape, all of our trails are groomed with grooming operations continuing through Thursday.  Dozing, brushing and grooming operations will continue through Thursday on 31S,  use caution if traveling in that directions.  Ride safe!

Bayfield County Snowmobile Alliance – Iron River Area: All area trails will have had at least one pass since latest snowfall by daylight Thursday, 1/18/18, including the Tri County Corridor. Depending on weather conditions operations will continue throughout the weekend only during nighttime hours to avoid groomer/snowmobile conflicts.

Valhallers: With the 6-8 inches of fresh snow on Monday night, local trail conditions have gotten even better!  Trail 13N from Washburn to Valhalla is being groomed today (1/17) and Trail 13S from Washburn to the Tri-County Corridor will be groomed on Thursday (1/18).  Any previous bare spots are now covered and our nice base continues to build.  We expect trails to be in very-good to excellent condition for the upcoming weekend.

The Valhalla area received 12 inches of new snow earlier this week. Everything is awesome. The trail to the casino is also open. All trails in excellent condition.

South Shore Trail Club – Port Wing, Herbster & Cornucopia: Groomed Trail 1 to Corny Monday, 1/15/18, Trails 40 & 41 will be done Thursday 1/18/18. Lots of snow and great trail conditions in the North.

WAINO Riders – Northwest corner of the County: Trail 1 from Brule to Port Wing received anywhere from a foot to 2 feet of Lake Superior powder on Monday. It will get a fresh grooming before the weekend and will be in great shape.

Closures:
– Trail 1 near Port Wing: This is now open but use caution as ruts have frozen into the ground.
– Trail 63 in the Cable Area: Trail 63 just south of the intersection with Trail 70 south of the town of Cable is closed until further notice.

Re-Routes:
– Trail 13 outside Washburn, follow signs. Permanent reroute.
– Trail 4 east of Mason, follow signs. Seasonal reroute for now, includes road routes.
– Trail 70 south of Cable, follow signs. Seasonal reroute for now, includes road routes.

Logging Activity
– Trail 40 Southeast of Port Wing has a timber sale going active this week so keep your eyes out and stay alert in that area.
– Trail 1 between Cornucopia and Bayfield near Henkens Road has an active logging operation. They are logging off the trail and using the trail as a haul route so use caution.
– Trail 51 south of Cornucopia near Jodi road is now being used for an active timber sale. They are logging off the trail and using the trail as a haul route so use caution. Jodi road is also being plowed for a short distance.

Order a snowmobile map online or pick one up at area businesses. You can also download the Avenza app (for free) and get the updated Snowmobile Map on your device before you hit the trails – locate yourself on the trail map with GPS so you can see where you are, even with no cell reception! If you’d like to see the sponsor businesses on the same type of map, try the Trail Treker app ($1.99); the map is a free download with the code “Washburn2017.”

Woodside Cottages of Bayfield:

Date of Report: 1/18/2018

Trail Conditions:

Below is the most recent post by Gary on Jan 16th (posted on JohnDee.com):

“We had very good riding FridayMonday in the Bayfield/Valhalla area with friends and Woodside Cottage’s guests. FRs are good to very good and most sections of the trails are the same. Jackie and I rode with Laura and Jonathan from www.woodsidecottages.com Monday afternoon just prior to the heavy LES that added about 6″ to the snow depth.
There are short sections of trails where logging is taking place so expect those areas to be plowed: TR1 east of Henkens Rd, TR51 past Jodi Rd and TR41 east of TR19. Plus some of the FRs between TR19 and TR40 are plowed for logging as well as Henkens Rd and Echo Valley Rd north of Star Route.
With the fresh snow from yesterday, conditions will be excellent.”

Links

Mt. Ashwabay Ski & Recreation Area - Nordic, Alpine, Tubing and more

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:
Nordic, Snowshoe, Skijoring/Dog, Fatbike Trails
Open access 24 / 7
Pay in the Chalet or at Trail Heads
1/17/18:
Bob and I were able to get out and finish packing and tracking the classic only trails, including: Ravine, Deerpath, Blackbear, Oppedahl’s and Birch Hill.  Looked like the trails groomed yesterday setup fairly well overnight. With the balmy temps and sunshine today, will feel like spring skiing, enjoy.

::Volunteer Groomer Activity Report:: 
 –Skate: Anchor, Jolly Long, Seagull, Rollercoaster, Dog Trail Skate was packed with a flat drag, but not ginzu groomed.
 –Classic: tracked: Anchor, Jolly Long, Seagull,  Rollercoaster, Sugarbush Dog Trail, Sugarbush Classic and Seagull Connector.

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

Alpine Conditions
Date of Report: 1/17/2018
4-6″ of fresh snow has the hill in great shape.
Average base is 8-12″
All runs are open except the drop.
Tubing hill will open this weekend

Mon, Tues, Thurs – Generally 9am-5pm
Weds, Fri, Sat, Sun – Open when Lifts are operating

All hours of operation are subject to conditions.
Low temps, high winds, and other adverse factors may necessitate closing, or delayed opening, of Chairlift & Paddle-tows. Safety is of highest concern.

Chairlift & Paddle-tows
Wednesdays: 10am-7pm
Friday 4pm-9m every other Friday starting Jan 5th
Saturdays: 9:30am-9p.m.
Sundays: 9:30am-4:30pm

Tubing Conditions::
Date of Report: 12/26/2017
Open

Freestyle Terrain
Date of Report: 12/16/2017
Currently Closed

Links

Fat Tire Biking

Mt. Ashwabay Ski & Recreation Area

Area Report:
Open access 24 / 7
Pay in the Chalet or at Trail Heads
*Volunteers may be grooming the trails at any time; please be aware and give them passage
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)

 

Mt Valhalla Winter Sports Area – Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest

Area Report: The Forest Service is working with the North Coast Cycling Association (NCCA) under an agreement to allow the use of fat tire bikes and snowshoes on the left half of the trail tread on Loop B of the Valkyrie Trail System this winter. This is a trial on this section of the trail to determine if these mixed uses are compatible. The trails will be signed to identify where fat tire bikes and snowshoes are allowed. If you don’t see these signs on the trail, it is only open to skiing.

Please know where you are riding or snowshoeing. Signs with a map and information will also be posted at the trailheads, on the trails and in the warming room and chalet. Comment cards will be provided at the trailheads and in the warming room and chalet. Let us know what you think. Please help this test to be successful and stay on Loop B with fat tire bikes and snowshoes. If there are issues on the trails, please contact the Washburn Ranger District office at (715) 373-2667 to report. Walking or running without snowshoes or having a dog on the groomed trails is still prohibited. Your feedback on the mixed trail use is important to the Forest Service.

The warming room and chalet are open from 6:00 AM to 10:00 PM daily.

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 2018 annual Forest user pass is valid until March and are available at local vendors, Forest Service offices, or online at www.fs.usda.gov/main/cnnf/passes-permits and click on the link on the right hand side of the screen that says “purchase your daily and annual Forest pass here.” The Forest user pass is $20/vehicle sticker and a second sticker for an additional $10.

Drummond Ski Trail – Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest

Report by: Washburn Ranger Station – Chequamegon Nicolet National Forest

Report Date: 12/22/2017

Trail Report: The Drummond Area Ski Trail Association reported that the groomer incorporated about 2 inches of fluffy snow into the existing base and set new tracks on all trails.  The base is thin in the pines and there are brambles sticking up on part of the North Country Return trail.  The tracks look good.  Come on out and enjoy the beautiful scenery along the trails.

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 2018 annual Forest user pass is valid until March and are available at local vendors, Forest Service offices, or online at www.fs.usda.gov/main/cnnf/passes-permits and click on the link on the right hand side of the screen that says “purchase your daily and annual Forest pass here.” The Forest user pass is $20/vehicle sticker and a second sticker for an additional $10.

Links

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: 1/11/2018

Trail Report:

The Teuton and Valkyrie Trails were rolled and tracked on Wednesday, January 3rd.  The base is reported to be around 8 inches and trail conditions are reported to be excellent.  Updates are also made to the Washburn Ranger District trail report phone line and on the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest website (https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/fseprd527964.pdf) as trail conditions change.  The current trail conditions are also being updated on Skinnyski and Norwiski websites.

Please note – the Forest Service is working with the North Coast Cycling Association (NCCA) under an agreement to allow the use of fat tire bikes and snowshoes on the left half of the trail tread on Loop B of the Valkyrie Trail System this winter. This is a trial on this section of the trail to determine if these mixed uses are compatible. The trails will be signed to identify where fat tire bikes and snowshoes are allowed. If you don’t see these signs on the
trail, it is only open to skiing. Please know where you are riding or snowshoeing. Signs with a map and information will also be posted at the trailheads, on the trails and in the warming room and chalet. Comment cards will be provided at the trailheads and in the warming room and chalet. Let us know what you think! Please help this test to be successful and stay on Loop B with fat tire bikes and snowshoes. If there are issues on the trails, please contact the Washburn Ranger District office at (715) 373-2667 to report. Walking or running without
snowshoes on Loop B is prohibited. On all of the groomed ski trails and buildings, dogs are prohibited. Your feedback on the mixed trail use is important to the Forest Service.

The warming room and chalet are open from 6:00 AM to 10:00 PM daily.

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 2018 annual Forest user pass is valid until March and are available at local vendors, Forest Service offices, or online at www.fs.usda.gov/main/cnnf/passes-permits and click on the link on the right hand side of the screen that says “purchase your daily and annual Forest pass here.” The Forest user pass is $20/vehicle sticker and a second sticker for an additional $10.

Links

Ashland County Snowmobile Trails

Trail Report: Ashland County

Reported By: Ashland Area Chamber of Commerce

Date of Report: 1/18/2018

Trail Conditions: Good
Snow Cover: 2-8 inch base
ALL trails in Ashland County open and being groomed except for trail 13 (Ashland- Marengo). The tri-county corridor is open and groomed.  Should be good riding right now! We will continue to keep you posted on the conditions.ALL trails in Ashland County open and being groomed except for trail 13 (Ashland- Marengo). Trail are ride-able and in fair condition.  The tri-county corridor is open and groomed.  Beware of open water on all trail system. We will continue to keep you posted on the conditions.

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.

Bayfield Sled Dog Trails

Trail Report: Bayfield Area

Reported by: Wolfsong Adventures in Mushing

Date of Report: 1/18/2018

Area Report:
The Bayfield Peninsula has received over 70 inches of snow. Any packed trail has at around 16 inch base. The Apostle Island Sled Dog Race Trail was groomed by official trail groomers from the Echo Valley Gravel Pit on 1/17 and all brush is now removed. Active logging on Henkins Road so use caution on any plowed roads. Parking at Butterfield Rd is open. Please park diagonally to allow for other trailers to fit. No active logging in this area. Any forest service road in the Chequamegon National Forest make for great trails and usually have some snowmobile tracks for a trail. Wearing bright clothing is advised as all trails are shared trails.

Links

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.

Links