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Ice Caves Set To Open Saturday

Julie Van Stappen
National Park Service

Park officials are expecting a few thousand people to turn out this weekend for the opening of the Apostle Islands ice caves. 

After strong winds threatened to blow away the ice at Meyer’s Beach earlier this week, officials now say conditions should be stable enough to open the caves Saturday. 

But spokesperson Julie Van Stappen says visitors shouldn’t expect the caves to look exactly as they did last year. 

“The ice caves are something that are unique each year, depending on how much snow and wind and precipitation and how they form – but I did see some pictures and they’re still beautiful, regardless, they’re just different from last year.”

Officials say they’re concerned about people slipping on the ice, and are recommending visitors use ice cleats and ski poles. 

Van Stappen says conditions are much more treacherous than last year. 

“There’s very little snow on the ice and it’s very slick. So it’s kind of like an ice skating rink all the way to the beginning of the caves.”

It’s about a two mile walk on the ice to access the first of the ice caves. 

Last year cold temperatures made the caves accessible for months, drawing almost 140-thousand visitors. 

The caves are expected to open for the first time Saturday, if conditions remain as they are. But it’s not clear how long they’ll stay open.  

After a flood of tourists last year, the park service is now charging a five dollar fee for visitors.

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