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“Go! Who knows when this will happen again?”
Review of Mawikwe Sea Caves - CLOSED

Attraction details
Reviewed March 10, 2014

We had the most amazing day here. We were lucky (super, super lucky) and able to park in the Meyers Road lot, which meant we shaved 2 miles or more off of our hike.

Wear warm, layered clothes, sturdy boots and ice cleats. Bring a drink and a snack, your camera and a tripod, too.

Plan to spend at least 4 hours to walk to and from the caves, explore and photograph the ice formations. I'd suggest walking out around 1:30. The afternoon sun gets better and better. I thought he light the day we were there really looked extraordinary around 3:30 or 4:00 but there were a few sunset shooters heading out around 5:00.

I don't suggest wearing Yaktrax Walkers, I wore those and fall (hard) when climbing on some ice. When you really want to explore/climb on the ice, you need a heavier duty cleat than the Yaks.

I'd skip the walking poles because the stretch along the shore to reach the 1st cave is flat, packed snow. You don't need your poles for it. Once you get to the caves, you have to keep putting the poles down to explore the caves, nooks and crannies.

If you can, go on a week day. I thought a Thursday would be empty but no, the people there that afternoon were the crowds I expected for a weekend day. I can't imagine how it is on a Saturday! The other hikers were very polite and friendly and there is a sense of camaraderie. It's an amazing, possibly once-in-a-lifetime experience. Who knows when they will freeze again?

4  Thank Mmmidwesterner
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviews (15)
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5 - 9 of 15 reviews

Reviewed March 2, 2014

My wife and I made 6 mile round-trip from Meyers Beach. Had to park a mile away so 8 miles round-trip for the day. It was worth every step we have not seen such beauty in a long time. We wore ice Trekkers which allowed us to climb many of the flows. We were rewarded a day of beauty and something to stir the inner spirit.

3  Thank Terry T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 26, 2014

After reading about the horrific crowds on weekends (and seeing the photos that looked like The March of the Penguins), my husband and I opted to do this on a weekday. 7 hr drive from MKE.

The Ice Hike was very manageable / and quite a fun thing, but anyone going should spend some time on preparation and planning the proper gear. (The night before - we stayed at the Bayfield Inn - and had dinner at Pier Plaza -- both of which we highly recommend. Bayfield Inn packed a $7 lunch for us.)

If you don't already have clothing for snowmobiling or hunting -- you'll need to do some planning for layers and proper footwear -- especially if the windchills are extreme / like they were the day that we did the hike.

Pkg on a Tuesday...
We arrived around 11am, and there were still plenty of spots left in the small parking lot. By the time we returned to our car, the parking lot was full and cars were parked along the road, but only about 20 cars back, so people didn't have to walk very far to get to the beach access point. (You'll need $3 if you park in the lot)

I wore my Keen hiking boots, but I think they would have been too cold without the heated insoles I wore (you can get handwarmers, footwarmers at Cabella's, REI etc) With the brutal cold / wind chill, we were glad that we wore our ski goggles and had our faces completely covered. Brought hiking sticks, but didn't use them -- because we were wearing IceWalkers over our shoes (mini-crampons that made the hike a lot easier)

If you are thinking about doing this --- make sure that you check the Apostle Island Visitor Website and read about current conditions / and ALSO --> call the visitor center and talk to a Park Ranger about expected conditions when you plan to visit.
The trail may be shut down if there is a storm / or high winds (winds may break up the ice) Bring water, and don't bring dogs if it is really cold -- unless they are a cold weather breed (we saw a few dogs that looked very uncomfortable -- it was brutally cold the day we were there). Extreme cold will drain your camera batter quickly so take photos while you can :-) Have fun!

6  Thank rollngstone
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 18, 2014

We spent a sunny Sunday afternoon at Mawikwe Bay, temps were about 8 degrees. The ice formations on the rocky cliffs are beautiful, but it takes some doing to get there. Due to puplicity, thousands of people are coming to see the sites. Cars were parked 2-3 miles down the highway. Rather than walking an unknown distance (turns out it was about 1 1/2 miles) or fighting the traffic to the shuttle stop in town, we chose to park in a farmer's field for $5, then waited almost an hour in line for a shuttle bus ($2 one way). There are so many people that I think we finally got on the 4th bus after our arrival. The bus drops you off at the entrance of the road to the beach. Meyers Road is about 1/2 mile long & a few lucky people found parking spots along the road (I think they were charging $4 for this). We'd gotten a few inches of snow the night before, so the road was very sloppy.

At the entrance to the beach, a number of port-a-pottys were available - but there was a very long line of people. There is a stairway to the beach which is wide enough for a single file of people going toward the ice & a single file of those returning from seeing the ice. It is not shoveled & has a handrail only on the "return" side.

Walking on the frozen lake itself was fine - the recent snowfall meant that there was no bare ice to walk on and a beaten track to follow made walking easy. There is a wind off the lake, so a scarf or ski mask is necessary.

It was obvious that many of the icicles have been broken by previous visitors, as they had flat bottoms, not te typical pointed icicle one would expect. There really are no 'caves,' more like recesses into the cliff walls.

6  Thank Pudiimom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 13, 2014

I had been kayaking here during the summertime and thought it was beautiful then. I must say, even in winter, the beauty is breathtaking! Well worth the frigid walk to see the ice caves. We went to Meyers Beach before sunrise and had our choice of parking, although later in the day, it was crowded. Count on walking about 3-4 hours to see them. Dress in layers. We didn't need snowshoes, but traction devices like yaktrax really help on the ice. Bring water and snacks. Most phones won't work as a camera in the extreme cold, so you will probably need a real camera if you don't want to be disappointed. Even the key fob for our car wouldn't work until we warmed it up. There are now portable toilets in the parking lot. You need $3 cash to put in an envelope for parking. There were plenty of dogs and kids, but I wouldn't recommend it. The ice is slick and has sharp places that have cut dog's paws. Kids will definitely tire out with all that walking. We saw lots of kids being carried on parents' shoulders. Definitely see them before the ice melts!

5  Thank alibarbaraMilwaukee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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