Apostle Islands National Lakeshore

Sea Caves

Some of the Great Lakes' most spectacular scenery occurs where centuries of wave action have carved intricate caves into the sandstone cliffs of the Apostle Islands shoreline. Delicate arches, vaulted chambers, and hidden passageways honeycomb cliffs on the north shore of Devils Island, by Swallow Point on Sand Island, and near Squaw Bay on the mainland.

In summer, the sea caves are only accessible by boat. In winter, though, it's sometimes possible to visit one of the finest formations simply by walking on the frozen lake surface. Hardy hikers who make the trip will find an enchanting fairyland scene of frozen waterfalls and chambers filled with uncounted thousands of delicate icicles.

The Squaw Bay Caves, four miles northeast of the village of Cornucopia, are most easily reached from Meyers Beach, off Route 13. It's just about a mile from the Meyers Beach stairs to the beginning of the cave formations. Dress in layers for warmth and comfort, and make sure to wear sturdy footgear to prevent slipping. Dogs are permitted, but must be kept on leash. Snowmobilers are asked to explore the caves by foot, parking at least one hundred feet from the cliff face.

Travel on the ice of Lake Superior always demands extreme care. Conditions can change overnight, even during the coldest weather. If you decide to go, pay close attention to the ice surface, scanning for cracks and soft spots. Be alert for falling ice formations at the caves themselves. Make sure to get current information on ice conditions, and above all: When in doubt, don't go out.

For up-to-date information on ice conditions, call the Apostle Islands Ice Line at 715-779-7007.

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 12 Apr 2011
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


park finder
step one
Where are you going?

step one
What do you want to do?

+ More Activities

GEARZILLA: The Gorp Gear Blog

Receive Gear Reviews, Articles & Advice

Preview this newsletter »

Ask Questions