Apostle Islands National Lakeshore

Winter Sports

Winter offers a variety of recreational opportunities at Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. Cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, ice fishing, winter camping, and over-ice travel to the islands or to the mainland sea caves are all popular activities.

Access to the islands is challenging during the winter months, but in most years, there will be a period when ice conditions allow some travel. Inner islands such as Basswood, Hermit, and Oak are excellent destinations at these times. Venturing out onto the ice of Lake Superior requires special attention to safety. The dynamic ice of this inland sea can change overnight, so visitors must use extreme caution, and observe the maxim, "When in doubt, don't go out."

The most popular winter destination is the sea caves along the mainland shore near the Lakeshore's western boundary. A one-mile hike on lake ice will bring the visitor to a formation of dozens of caves, each filled with an uncountable profusion of delicate icicles. The effect is magical.

For up-to-date information on ice conditions, call the Apostle Islands Ice Line.

When ice conditions forbid access to the islands or sea caves, it's time to explore the recreational opportunities of the surrounding area. The Chequamegon National Forest provides an extensive network of cross-country ski trails at Valhalla, between Washburn and Cornucopia. Many of the local communities maintain snowmobile and ski trails, as well. Information on these facilities can be obtained from the appropriate Chambers of Commerce.

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 12 Apr 2011
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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