Ice Cave Tour
- Departure time: 10 a.m. 2 p.m. & Noon
- Departure location: 1 Marina Drive, Washburn, WI 54891
- Transportation: parking available along central avenue, which leads to the coal dock
- Duration of the tour: 180 minutes (4 miles)
The 2020 Apostle Islands ice cave tours will start at the Houghton Point ice caves in Chequamegon Bay. The ice in Chequamegon Bay is thicker and forms sooner than anywhere else in the Apostle Islands. We use the same ice thickness standards as the National Park Service and require 10″ of ice before we begin. If the ice gets thick enough we may offer an ice cave tour to Romans Point. Romans Point is on the same side of the peninsula as Meyers Beach, where conditions are more unpredictable and it is unknown if they will open on any given year. The last time any ice caves were open on the West side of the Bayfield peninsula was 2015 for about a 2 week period. The Houghton Point Ice Caves are in Chequamegon Bay on the East side of the Bayfield peninsula where the ice is much thicker and conditions are more predictable. You can count on the Houghton Point Ice Caves opening in late January or early February and ending in March.
When you sign up for an ice cave tour you will have a guide with you that is briefed on the ice conditions and ice thickness for that day. They will show you where all the best ice caves are and where to find the most intricate and massive ice formations. While you are on a tour you are welcome to do your own exploring or abbreviate your adventure but if you are doing your own exploring you must stay behind the guide. The guide will determine the furthest distance that the group can travel for any given day, but if the conditions are good it is around a 4 mile round trip tour.
– Frequently Asked Questions
- What is the best time of year to see the ice caves? February is best because January is the coldest and darkest month and by March the ice shows signs of melting
- Are these the ice caves that are in the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore? No, the ice caves that we do tours to are outside the AINL boundary and
provide an amazing Apostle Islands ice cave experience without having to deal with the crowds and parking issues at Meyers Beach.
- Where are the best ice caves in the Apostle Islands? Devil’s Island has the best ice caves but Lake Superior needs to entirely freeze over before we go to the Devil’s Island Ice Caves. Any ice caves on an island ( Devil’s, Sand, Madeline) are the least likely to open up because they are the most exposed. The ice caves that most people have been to are on the mainland peninsula aka Bayfield peninsula. The best ice caves on the peninsula are on the West side (Roman’s Point and Meyers Beach) but they have not been open since 2015. The ice caves in Chequamegon Bay are on the East side of the peninsula and look to be opening around mid to the end of January for the 2020 season.
– Advice for bringing children to the ice caves
- Pick a day with more moderate temperatures (20s or more) and no wind. Under cold conditions, especially when there’s wind, frostbite can occur on exposed skin within minutes, especially with children. Be sure they are bundled up so they don’t get cold.
- Consider bringing a sled so you can pull the children when they get tired.
- They may get wet, consider bringing extra clothes. Kids love playing on the ice, but parents need to keep things under control (don’t climb on ice, crawl in small spaces, break off formations, stand under big chunks of ice, etc.)
If your tour is cancelled due to weather conditions you will have the option to reschedule or take a 100% refund.
If you cancel your reservation less than 24 hours before the start of the tour there are no refunds.