The Apostle Islands are a group of 22 islands in Lake Superior, off the Bayfield Peninsula in northern Wisconsin. The majority of the islands are located in Ashland County – only Sand, York, Eagle, and Raspberry Islands are located in Bayfield County. All the islands except for Madeline Island are part of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore.
Deep Freeze Reveals Lake Superior’s Secluded Ice Caves
For five years, the winter wonder of Lake Superior’s Apostle Islands sea caves have been hiding—but recent freezing temperatures have revealed their beauty by Natasha Geiling JANUARY 24, 2014
For the first time in five years, visitors to Lake Superior’s Wisconsin shore can experience the winter beauty of the Apostle Sea Caves—completely frozen and safe to visit, thanks in large part to this winter’s exceedingly low temperatures. National Park Service officials, who monitor conditions along the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, say that the last time Lake Superior’s ice was thick enough to safely hold visitors to the caves was back in 2009; but with weeks of frigid temperatures caused by the polar vortex, Lake Superior has iced over enough to support adventurers on their one-mile trek from mainland Wisconsin out to the caves. Bob Krumanaker, Apostle Islands National Lakeshore superintendent, told Wisconsin Public Radio that the caves are one of the most unique sites in the park, which includes 21 islands formed from sandstone over a billion years ago.
Visitors to the caves who make the mile-long trek over an icy lake are greeted by an amazing winter view, with icicles hanging like stalactites from the cave ceilings and a clear ice floor that reveals the lake floor below. During the summer, visitors can kayak through the caves, but a solid lake offers adventurers the only way to experience the caves on foot.
On a peak weekend day, more than 1,000 people can visit the caves. Krumanaker hopes that weather conditions will allow the ice caves to remain visitable for another six weeks, though with fickle winter, the caves could be closed as soon as the coming weekend. If you can’t venture out on Lake Superior to check out the caves firsthand, we’ve compiled some of Instagram’s best to give you a sense of the icy beauty.
The following paragraph and photos are taken with thanks and appreciation from the Maven Cookery blog article, “Our Morning At The Sea Caves” posted Jan. 17, 2014. (link to site provided below)
“There was a single track along the shore and out across the lake. The snow was a pristine white blanket, it was quiet enough to hear the ice creak and pop with unseen swells from the lake and it was solitary enough to feel the ancient energy radiating from the rocks that ringed the shore. Words can’t begin to describe what it felt like to witness the wild and ephemeral beauty of ice and sandstone. The different colors, shapes and textures of the ice was mind-blowing. It was a work of art, created by wind and water— magical in its perfection.”