Mainland Sea Caves - Ice Caves
Millions of years ago huge rivers deposited layers of sand that cemented into sandstone. Thousands of years ago glaciers sculpted the sandstone into amazing cliffs towering over Lake Superior. If we're lucky, the weather will be cold enough this winter to form ice so that we can hike out and see it all.
The ice caves are located at the western end of the Mainland Unit of Apostle Islands National Lakeshore in far northern Bayfield County. There is a parking area and stairs to the beach/ice at the end of Meyers Road. The turn-off for Meyers Road is 18 miles west of Bayfield and 4 miles east of Cornucopia along Highway 13. The GPS address is: 90500 Meyers Road. See map below.
Please note: Bicycles are not permitted in Apostle Island National Lakeshore off of established roads. They are not permitted on the ice near the caves.
Maps and FAQs
Map of ice cave area. Ice Cave Map (3.6kb pdf)
Ice Cave FAQs (193 kb pdf)
Sea Caves Watch
The Sea Caves Watch website features real-time images of conditions at the Mainland Sea Caves, and tracks wave height during the summer. During the winter, storms and spray from waves can coat the camera lens, making it impossible to see. Park staff tries to get out regularly to clear it off, but because it's located in a more remote area, it can be difficult to get to immediately.
National Weather ServiceFollow this link to find current weather conditions at the Mainland Sea Caves before you head out. Is it too cold to be out for at least three hours? Are the wind chill predictions too cold for you and your family? Find out here.
Some things to think about before you head out on the ice:
Visiting the caves in winter requires at least a 2 mile hike (round trip) on the ice of Lake Superior. Travel on Lake Superior can be dangerous any time of the year. Traveling across the ice demands extra attention to personal safety. Lake ice is unpredictable, so traveling across it is never completely safe. Before heading out, visitors must understand all of the risks involved, and the physical demands required for hiking out to the caves.
Apostle Islands National Lakeshore staff checks the ice and monitors the weather to determine when the Mainland Caves are accessible. NPS is not, however, able to check every day. Cold temperatures can form thick ice, but wind and waves can break up that ice in a matter of hours, and make it unstable. Low Risk ice conditions allow the area to be deemed accessible to visitors.
Critical points to assist planning for your hike:
Follow this link for more information on the sea caves of the Apostles.
Last updated: February 22, 2017