The unusually cold weather may make you groan, but there’s a perk for people who like to see natural wonders up close. The ice-encrusted caves along Wisconsin’s Lake Superior shoreline, on the mainland section of Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, can be explored by foot thanks to frozen Lake Superior. Such an opportunity is a rare one; it last occurred five years ago.

My colleague Brian Peterson documented in photographs and video the wonder of it all — the icy formations turning caves into shimmering cocoons, the wide-eyed and well-bundled visitors hiking across the lake, the countless icicles that can make a cave seem like the inside of a pincushion.

But why content yourself with that, when the ice caves are a mere hour-and-a-half drive east from Duluth. (Follow signs to Cornucopia, Wis., and keep traveling northeast on Hwy. 13 until you hit Meyers Beach Road.) Consider it an excuse for a weekend away.

There are ample places to stay in Duluth, a stopping-off point that offers its own fun; hello, Spirit Mountain and Great Lakes Aquarium ( Or stay nearer the ice caves in Bayfield, Wis., a town that has lots of lodging options and bustles in summer as the jumping-off point to the Apostles (

Before you head out, check the website of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, at It provides information about visiting, including tips on what to bring. Carry water, so you can stay hydrated on the mile-plus hike to the caves. Skip the skis because the uneven ice makes gliding impossible; instead bring hiking or ski poles that can help keep you steady. Also, call this number for ice conditions: 1-715-779-3397, extension 3.


Send your questions or tips to travel editor Kerri Westenberg at