Ice caves not ready yet
Despite cold temperatures and the appearance of an ice pack, ice conditions on Lake Superior are very poor and the ice caves remain inaccessible, according to officials at the Apostle Island National Lakeshore. The park's Ice Rescue Team tested the ice over last weekend and found the early ice and slush didn't form well. It blew into shore in pieces, creating "pack" ice that is very weak. These pieces are also jagged, making it nearly impossible to walk across. The additional snow on top prevents you from seeing your footing. One team member explained that it feels like walking on bowling balls.
The jagged ice 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.
At the very earliest, it would be the end of the month before conditions could be safe enough to open the caves. Most years, the caves aren't accessible until mid- to late-February.
For the most up-to-date information about the ice caves, visit the official Apostle Islands National Lakeshore Facebook page, or park website at www.nps.gov/apis, or call the ice line at (715) 779-3397, ext. 3, for updates.