NPS Gives All Clear: Wisconsin’s Ice Caves Reopen

Visitors view the ice caves at Apostle Islands National Lakeshore in Wisconsin.

Visitors view the ice caves at Apostle Islands National Lakeshore in Wisconsin. Photo via NPS

After a precautionary closure on Wednesday due to a winter storm advisory, the popular ice caves on Wisconsin’s Apostle Island National Lakeshore are set to reopen Thursday.

With fresh snow covering the once bare ice—which enabled visitors to skate to the caves—the NPS plan to open the caves at 7:00am. However it is uncertain how many will visitors will brave the Thursday mornings forecasted cold conditions which includes wind chills down to -30°F (-34°C).

In a Facebook post, park staff also warn of slippery conditions, slushy areas, and areas where the footing is rough and unsteady. They advise wearing sturdy waterproof boots with ice cleats on the bottom to prevent slipping.

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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