Winter Weather Advisory Closes Apostle Islands Ice Caves

The ice formations along the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore.

The ice formations along the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. Photo via NPS

Only four days after their late opening, a winter weather advisory is closing the ice caves along Lake Superior’s Apostle Islands National Lakeshore in Wisconsin.

With snow already falling, and up to 5 inches forecast, the caves are being closed at 6:00pm tonight. The precautionary closure will last until the winds decrease and ice conditions can be checked, although they are not expected to re-open until at least Thursday.

Since opening on Saturday, the National Park Service estimates well over 12,000 people visited the caves. Saturday and Sunday saw miles of cars parked along Highway 13 near Meyers Road, the access point to the frozen lake.

Cars of visitors line up along highway 13.

Cars of visitors line up along Highway 13. Photo via NPS

Access to the ice caves depends on ice that meets a rigid list of conditions set out by the National Park Service to ensure the safety of visitors. Apostle Islands National Lakeshore staff monitor and check the ice and open the caves only when they deem the risk low. However, due to the unpredictability of lake ice, visiting the caves is never completely safe as conditions can rapidly change.

For up to date status of the ice, the National Park Service has set up and automated ice line (715-779-3398 x3) which will have the most current conditions.

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