Welcome to SP!  -
Sea Caves by Snowshoe
Trip Report

Sea Caves by Snowshoe

  Featured on the Front Page
Sea Caves by Snowshoe

Page Type: Trip Report

Location: Wisconsin, United States, North America

Lat/Lon: 46.88921°N / 91.04052°W

Object Title: Sea Caves by Snowshoe

Date Climbed/Hiked: Feb 8, 2014

Activities: Hiking

Season: Winter

 

Page By: Stu Brandel

Created/Edited: Feb 12, 2014 / Feb 14, 2014

Object ID: 886710

Hits: 1739 

Page Score: 93.27%  - 42 Votes 

Vote: Log in to vote

 

Sea Caves become Ice Caves - And Accessible by Foot

A walk to see Lake Superior sea caves normally accessible only by boat begins with a stroll across a bay of frozen Lake Superior. This route, only available at certain times of certain Winters, is almost 2.5 miles of flatness, many times bitterly cold and windy. But the reward is sea caves transformed into incredible, and famous, ice caves.  Snowshoes are not required, but be prepared for all conditions.  There was everything from packed snow to glare ice, but thankfully no open water!

Lake Superior, the world's largest freshwater lake, is about the size of South Carolina, or Austria, and is capable of great violence.  It sits between the Northern US and Canada. 

Addition 2/14/14:  I am told that this is the first time in 5 years that the caves are accessible, and that visitation is creating a small economic boom for the normally small winter tourism trade in this area.

When word gets out that the Ice Caves are accessible, this route can get very popular.  On the late Friday afternoon I visited, the place was jammed, though the people were spread across the expanse of the cliffs and mostly returning as I was starting out.  A couple I met said they had the caves to themselves that morning, but I imagine the light is better on the west facing cliffs in the PM. 

I walked out on this part of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore on Feb 8, 2014, starting at the Meyers Beach parking area.  Wind Chill warnings existed earlier in the day, and the wind was at my back walking out there.

A Stroll across Lake Superior
A Stroll across Lake Superior


Icy Red Cliffs of Lake Superior
Icy Red Cliffs of Lake Superior

 

Icicles on Lake Superior
Icicles on Lake Superior

 

Sea Cave becomes Ice Cave
Sea Cave becomes Ice Cave

Ice Cave on Superior coast
Ice Cave on Superior Coast

Spectacular Lake Superior Ice Cave
Spectacular Lake Superior Ice Cave
Sunlit Ice Cave - Lake Superior
Sunlit Ice Cave - Lake Superior
Icicles on the Lake Superior Coast
Icicles on the Lake Superior Coast

The walk back into the teeth of the wind howling across the bulk of frozen Lake Superior was not fun, but the trip was totally worth it.













Images

Icicles on the Lake Superior CoastIce Cave on Superior coastSunlit Ice Cave - Lake SuperiorSea Cave becomes Ice CaveSpectacular Lake Superior Ice CaveIcicles on Lake SuperiorA Stroll across Lake Superior
Icy Red Cliffs of Lake Superior

Comments


[ Post a Comment ]
Viewing: 1-20 of 21 « PREV 1 2 NEXT » 

MarkDidierGlad to see...

MarkDidier

Voted 10/10

...something so beautiful come out of this brutally cold winter we are having here in the midwest. I had never heard of these sea caves before, so thanks for posting. Truly beautiful..and unusual. Happy Trails, Mark
Posted Feb 13, 2014 8:28 am

Stu BrandelRe: Glad to see...

Stu Brandel

Hasn't voted

Thanks Mark. The day started at -15 degrees F but had risen to about 10 degrees that afternoon. It was nearly as brutal in Chicago when I left, so I decided I would may as well go here and be cold!
Posted Feb 13, 2014 2:23 pm

naderSpectacular

nader

Voted 10/10

I have been living in Janesville for the past 14 years and am ashamed to say that I have not been to northern Wisconsin yet.
Posted Feb 13, 2014 10:12 am

Stu BrandelRe: Spectacular

Stu Brandel

Hasn't voted

When I heard about this place, I kept all the details in a folder on my desk in hopes I would get a weekend this winter to go up there - and that the weather would cooperate. Everything aligned and I was able to enjoy a frigid but sunny 2 days.
Posted Feb 13, 2014 7:04 pm

NoonduelerJust amazing!

Noondueler

Voted 10/10

Thanks Stu. Never seen anything like it!
Posted Feb 13, 2014 1:44 pm

Stu BrandelRe: Just amazing!

Stu Brandel

Hasn't voted

You are very welcome. My pleasure, truly!
Posted Feb 13, 2014 7:06 pm

AlanBaltisSpectacular!

AlanBaltis

Hasn't voted

Stu, thanks so much for sharing this! I had just read about ice caves forming on the lake itself, based on wave action and quick-freezing temperatures, and wondered whether I was close enough to any of them in Cleveland. Apparently Chicago is! And the sea caves make for even more amazing icicles, and sheer size. The sunlight blazing in through holes in those last two photos- just perfect.

We're doing a big tour of Utah in mid/late September. I'll do my first post at this site, and share some of the arches and canyons!

- Al
Posted Feb 15, 2014 9:12 am

Stu BrandelRe: Spectacular!

Stu Brandel

Hasn't voted

Whoa! Big Al on Summitpost! Glad to share these with you my friend. If you get some time, these are 8 hours from Chicago, and I had an even more spectacular hike the next day, which I plan to post soon. I will give you more details if you need them.
Posted Feb 15, 2014 10:04 am

displacedchzheadSo beautiful

displacedchzhead

Hasn't voted

I've only been to the Apostles once, in summer as a kid. This is a beautiful change of pace from what I remember. Maybe I need to take a four day weekend and hike out there; I've got relations in Ashland and Bayfield Counties where I can stay. Thanks for posting the TR!
Posted Feb 16, 2014 9:55 pm

Stu BrandelRe: So beautiful

Stu Brandel

Hasn't voted

This was my first time up to the Apostles, and I will be back, I almost want to go right away and get some more pictures. If I had relatives there, I would go back soon!
Posted Feb 16, 2014 10:24 pm

jacobsmithMixed climb?

jacobsmith

Hasn't voted

Is it safe to assume someone would object if you threw up a line of bolts, a la Helmcken? In any case kind of pointless given how rarely it forms.
Posted Feb 17, 2014 12:25 pm

Stu BrandelRe: Mixed climb?

Stu Brandel

Hasn't voted

Do not know much about mixed climbing, but there is nothing of a size that would be worth it, I would think. Especially looking up Helmcken!
Posted Feb 17, 2014 7:34 pm

aedwardsRe: Mixed climb?

aedwards

Hasn't voted

Per NPS, it's illegal to climb there. Also, the rock is really soft, sometimes crumble-in-your-hands soft.
Posted Feb 24, 2014 10:11 pm

Stu BrandelRe: Mixed climb?

Stu Brandel

Hasn't voted

Thanks for the info!
Posted Feb 25, 2014 9:23 am

ChrisJahn Ice age

ChrisJahn

Voted 10/10

I guess my bro wasn't kidding about the cold when he was at Lake Superior Sate University. It's a brutal year, thanks for sharing!
Posted Feb 19, 2014 8:34 am

Stu BrandelRe: Ice age

Stu Brandel

Hasn't voted

I love visiting but I am not sure I could live there all winter.
Posted Feb 19, 2014 7:57 pm

McCannsterThere's something you don't see everyday!

McCannster

Voted 10/10

Great pics and report. This is something I would love to see someday. Thanks for the stoke!
Posted Feb 20, 2014 11:45 am

Stu BrandelRe: There's something you don't see everyday!

Stu Brandel

Hasn't voted

Thanks! You don't know how close I came to not going (8 hour drive from my Chicago home base). I am glad I went!
Posted Feb 20, 2014 8:02 pm

McCannsterRe: There's something you don't see everyday!

McCannster

Voted 10/10

I'd totally drive 8 hours for that. As a state highpointer, I've driven a lot more for a lot less, as I'm sure you have!
Posted Feb 20, 2014 10:20 pm

ArankaPAmazing photos

ArankaP

Voted 10/10

I heard about this from the internet and my friend. I was planning to drive with her all the way there from Windsor Ontario, about 3 weeks ago, though the road conditions did not allow us to do so.
Thanks for sharing! (attached per your request sorry for a delay)
Safe hiking! Aranka
Posted Mar 23, 2014 12:53 pm

Viewing: 1-20 of 21 « PREV 1 2 NEXT »