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It's Been Cold, But Not Cold Enough, For Ice Caves At Apostle Islands National Lakeshore


The ice at Apostle Islands National Lakeshore is not yet hard enough to allow for visitors to the park's ice caves/NPS file photo

While it's been cold, bitterly cold at times, it hasn't been cold enough long enough to ensure safe conditions for folks to explore the ice caves at Apostle Islands National Lakeshore in Wisconsin.

Park staff say that "despite cold temperatures and the appearance of an ice pack, ice conditions on the lake are very poor and the ice caves remain inaccessible. The park's Ice Rescue Team tested the ice over the weekend (1/6) and found the early ice and slush didn't form well."

"... One team member explained, it feels like walking on bowling balls," a park release added. "The jagged ice also makes it impossible for snowmobiles to navigate in case of emergency." 

Often this early ice blows out and is replaced by smoother, higher quality ice. This is what happened in 2015, the last time the ice caves were open, the park said. 

At the very earliest, it would be the end of January before conditions could be safe enough to open the caves, according to the park, adding that most years the caves aren't accessible until mid- to late-February. 

For the most up-to-date information about ice caves in the park, check any of these options:

1) The official Apostle Islands National Lakeshore Facebook page at;

2) The park website; and/or

3) Call the Ice Line at 715-779-3397 Ext. 3 for updates

As a word of caution, there are unofficial Apostle Islands Facebook pages and websites posting information about ice caves that are neither part of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore nor regularly monitored for safe ice conditions by anyone.  Park rangers monitor the ice and open or close the caves within the national lakeshore only.



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