Unique Winter Activities: Visit Ice Caves in Wisconsin

interior of the ice caves in Wisconsin on the Apostle IslandsJust 18 miles west of Bayfield, you will find one of the state’s most elusive winter attractions: Ice caves in Wisconsin. These ice caves along the Apostle Island National Lakeshore only form when the conditions are perfect, making this event even more memorable. When the conditions are right, the water from Lake Superior will freeze inside the cave to create a magical arctic landscape of needle-like icicles. Choose Old Rittenhouse Inn to host your winter getaway and stay just a few blocks from Lake Superior!

When Do Ice Caves in Wisconsin Open?

The mainland ice caves of the Apostle Islands were last open to the public in 2015. There are several conditions that contribute to the opening of the caves, including:

  • Ice thickness along the entire route greater than 10” for higher quality ice and greater than 12” for lower quality ice
  • No reported “through ice incidents” within the past week
  • The area has been checked by NPS staff
  • No major weather events that could contribute to compromised ice stability

Visiting the Ice Caves in Wisconsin

If all these conditions are met, then the ice caves will open for public access! The National Park Service staff monitors ice conditions and provides the most updated information on the Ice Line: 715-779-3397 extension 3.


The best way to get to the caves is from Meyers Beach Road, approximately 18 miles from Bayfield. Hike one mile east on Lake Superior from the parking lot to the ice caves. 


If the ice caves are closed during your visit, we recommend hiking the Apostle Island Lakeshore Trail to take views of the caves from above!

Prepare for the Hike

Hiking one mile on the frozen waters of Lake Superior can be dangerous and unpredictable, so make sure you are adequately prepared to visit the ice caves in Wisconsin. Make sure to dress in layers, and have supportive winter boats, ice cleats, a backpack, and a first aid kit. Find a complete list of what you need here.  

Ice Caves Tours

There are no official ice cave tours in the Apostle Islands. However, Bayfield Kayak offers Ice Cave Tours on Chequamegon Bay as a more reliable option. The ice of Chequamegon Bay is thicker and forms sooner than the Apostle Islands. Please call 715-408-2244 for more information on the tour!

Plan a Wisconsin Winter Getaway in Bayfield

Book your winter getaway with Old Rittenhouse Inn and visit the ice caves in Wisconsin near Bayfield. After a day of adventures, cozy up in one of our Bayfield bed and breakfast hotel rooms. Enjoy views of Lake Superior, cozy up in front of the fireplace, and unwind in the whirlpool tub. Book your winter escape in Bayfield today!