Winter Recreation Report

Apostle Islands National Lakeshore – Ice Caves: Inaccessible

Report by: Apostle Islands National Lakeshore

Report Date: 1/17/2020

For more information about the ice caves, check our website: https://www.nps.gov/apis/mainland-caves-winter.htm

Visitors are also advised that the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore does not permit any vendor to charge for tours of the ice caves. While other sandstone formations outside of the National Lakeshore (in the surrounding area and Chequamegon Bay) may be accessible by ice, visitors do so at their own risk.

Madeline Island Ice Road: N/A

Last Updated: 1/17/2020

Check back later in the winter season. For the most up to date information please visit the Ice road Facebook Page.

Bayfield County Snowmobile Trails

Report by: Bayfield County Tourism

Last Updated: 1/15/2020

Trail Status: OPEN 

CONDITION: Excellent

10-18 Inches Packed

General Area Report:

Trails in Bayfield County are excellent right now! Wet spots are freezing, lakes are getting staked and groomers have been busy getting the trails in great shape. Previous wet spots may be choppy so still exercise caution in normally wet areas.


Namakagon Trail Groomers:

NTG trails were all groomed on Mon 1/6 & Tues1/7. 10-23” base. The trail system is 100% froze up and all marshes have been gone through with the groomers! Excellent condition! We will be grooming again prior to the weekend.

Barnes Barnestormers: The Barnes trails are in great condition, most have been groomed twice this week. We are going to do 31 south of Mulligan Creek Road on Sunday. That trail has been groomed once and is being used. We have been waiting on the colder weather before going again. Please exercise caution if traveling in that area, loggers are working and using parts of the trail.

Frosty’s Vintage Riders: Mason Delta is in excellent shape aside for 1.3 miles of logging in trail 4 after pike river road (as of now it is almost bare ground), 4 North and West Delta are in excellent shape, there is one water spot to go around between Mason and Horstman road, it is marked well and should freeze up shortly.

Washburn Valhallers: Trail #13 NORTH from Washburn to Valhalla was fresh groomed 1/6/20 and is in excellent condition. A few icy spots, but really in good shape. Trail #13 SOUTH from Washburn to the Tri-County Corridor was groomed 1/7/20 and is also reported in very good condition. There still is one section of heavy, deep ice, just south of the Bono Creek Crossing (S-Curve by the Church; just North of Sparky’s). We are unable to groom through this short, 1 block section yet, so please use extreme caution and look for a safe, temporary go-around. We will be re-grooming both trails before the weekend so expect excellent riding in the Washburn/Valhalla areas this weekend!

All trails in the Valhalla area are in excellent riding condition except for trail 1 from Mountain Road to trail 31. We expected to be in excellent condition by the Weekend.

South Shore – Port Wing, Herbster & Cornucopia: (Port Wing, Herbster, Cornucopia): Trail 1 between Herbster and Corny has been groomed out to Mountain Rd and is very good with just a few running water spots. Trail 40 and 41 along with the Wally Polk trail are being groomed now and are also very good to excellent condition.

General Info:

Order a snowmobile map online or pick one up at area businesses. You can also download the Avenza app (for free) and get the updated Snowmobile Map on your device before you hit the trails – locate yourself on the trail map with GPS so you can see where you are, even with no cell reception! If you’d like to see the sponsor businesses on the same type of map, try the Trail Treker app ($1.99); the map is a free download with the code “Washburn2017.”

Be sure to stop in, warm up and patronize the businesses on our snowmobile map. Their advertising makes it possible to print and distribute the map.


Ashland County Snowmobile Trails

Trail Status: Open

Trail Conditions: Fair Condition

Date of Report: 1/17/2020

Ashland County trails are OPEN AND IN OVERALL GOOD CONDITION.  There is a temporarily closed trail in Marengo but there is a detour there which is well posted!! And trail 77 in Cayuga is detoured and very well posted.

Much of the Ashland County snowmobile trail system uses private property and could be lost if the property owners experience issues. The most common complaints are snowmobiles not staying on trails or going off into fields that are not part of the trail, and loud noise from non-stock muffler systems. Respect the trail system. The tri-county corridor is open.

As always please follow the snowmobile trail rules and regulations. As always operate with everyone’s safety in mind and report any hazardous trail issues that are observed to the Ashland County Sheriff’s Department (715-682-7023 opt 1) so that it can be forwarded to the appropriate service.

The Tri-County Corridor is open from Superior to Ashland. There are still several areas on the eastern end that require attention but all known hazards have been identified and marked. Use caution when approaching ribbons, barricades, and cones.

Important reminders: There is no snowmobiling allowed from Ashland to Bad River/Odanah as snowmobiling is not permitted on reservation land.  However, snowmobiling is allowed from Bad River east to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

If you would like to receive an Ashland County Snowmobile map, let us know and we will mail one out to you! Call us at 715/682-2500 or toll-free at 1-800-284-9484.

Click here for the City of Ashland snowmobile trail routes.

Click here for Bayfield County Trail conditions.

The Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center is a great place to stop on your snowmobiling journey. The Center offers a special area to warm or dry your gloves and hang your helmet while exploring the facility’s displays and climbing the five-story observation tower which showcases the area. The Visitor Center is located off U.S. Highway 2 near the Tri-County Recreational Corridor.

In addition to snowmobiling, Ashland County offers cross-country skiing, hiking, snowshoeing, ice fishing, and sledding. And be sure to check listings on our website, www.visitashland.com, for information on all of our upcoming outdoor events.

The Northwest Wisconsin ATV & Snowmobile Corridor Trail Map features Ashland, Burnett, Douglas, Iron, Rusk, Barron, Chippewa, Washburn, Price, and Sawyer counties. This map will help you plan a trip to Northwest Wisconsin, and individual county maps will help you navigate the trails. See for yourself all of the great places you can visit on the seat of an ATV or snowmobile. Click here or on the map cover image to the left to view the digital Northwest Wisconsin ATV & Snowmobile Corridor Map. To order your FREE print copy of the Northwest Wisconsin ATV & Snowmobile Corridor Map, click here.

Mt. Ashwabay Ski & Recreation Area - Nordic & Alpine

Located three miles south of Bayfield, Mt. Ashwabay offers both cross-country and alpine skiing in a magnificent setting, featuring stunning views of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore and the Chequamegon National Forest. Cross-country trails cover 35 km of wilderness trails with ratings from beginner to expert. All trails are groomed and tracked as needed. The beginner’s trail is the picturesque Sugar Bush Trail. Intermediate terrain can be enjoyed on Anchor, Seagull and Raven trails. Advanced skiers can venture out on the longer 15 km loop, which combines Sugar Bush, Deer Path and Raven trails, returning to the Mt. Ashwabay chalet. Food, lounge, instruction and equipment rental are available at the chalet. The Ashwabay trails require users to purchase a daily or seasonal pass. These passes may be obtained at the Mt. Ashwabay Chalet. Trail user fees and donations made to the Ashwabay Education Foundation, earmarked for cross country ski trail maintenance, will go a long way in keeping this entire network groomed for your enjoyment.

Call (715) 779-3227 for more details

Nordic, Snowshoe, Skijoring/Dog, Fatbike Trails
Open access 24 / 7
Pay in the Chalet or at Trail Heads


Date of Report: 1/15/2020

Nordic Conditions: Great

An inch of new snow overnight and the trails are in great shape with the weather forecast good for the weekend, highs will be in the high teens today through Sunday with light snow possible Saturday night.

Lower Dog Road entrance, Telford, Power line, and Roller Coaster have been groomed and set track.

The skate lanes on Abbey Road, Skid Road, Northern Lights, Seagull, Anchor, Anchor Power line Connector, and Switch Back are groomed.  The classic tracks looked to be in great shape so “if it’s not broken don’t fix it”.

The brush has been cut on Northern Lights “Black Bear Gulch” so that should be a less stressful downhill adventure now.
Good time to enjoy the Northern Forest.
 I don’t believe there is a trail system in the midwest (maybe the world) that can compare with our trails, terrain, woods, and views.  Today the view from the top of the hill was really spectacular.
Date of Report: 1/15/2020

Alpine Conditions: Open

12 – 36-inch base
All main trails are groomed and in excellent condition.

All hours of operation are subject to conditions. Low temps, high winds, and other adverse factors may necessitate closing, or delayed opening, of Chairlift & Paddle-tows. Safety is of the highest concern.



Fat Tire Biking

Mt. Ashwabay Ski & Recreation Area

Area Report: The fat bike trail groomed up real good. Conditions are very good. There is some drifting at the top of the first climb, but it’s less than 100 feet.

Open access 24/7
Pay in the Chalet or at Trail Heads
*Volunteers may be grooming the trails at any time; please be aware and give them passage

Trail Network: 7 miles round trip
Groomed Styles: 2′ wide single track (0.7 miles of 10′ wide multi-use trails)
Trail Ratings: Moderate to Advanced (hills, tight turns)

Winter Fat Tire Biking

Comments: Comments: Due to the amount of snow the best opportunities for winter fat tire biking on the Washburn Ranger District would be on our plowed roads. Typically, roads that are plowed are opened
up for access reasons such as homes, main routes, and /or logging operations. Please use caution when riding or driving these roads as they are typically not as wide during the winter due to the snow, are
highly used routes and could have large truck traffic. Also, the conditions of these roads can change quickly. We heard this week that some of the routes have several inches of snow on them and are accessible but not recently plowed.

Location:  See plowed roads map

Download Plowed Roads South pdf.

Download Plowed Roads North pdf.

Mt Valhalla Winter Sports Area – Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest

Area Report: The Forest Service is working with the North Coast Cycling Association (NCCA) under an agreement to allow the use of fat-tire bikes and snowshoes on the left half of the trail tread on Loop B of the Valkyrie Trail System this winter. This is a trial on this section of the trail to determine if these mixed uses are compatible. The trails will be signed to identify where fat-tire bikes and snowshoes are allowed. If you don’t see these signs on the trail, it is only open to skiing.

Please know where you are riding or snowshoeing. Signs with a map and information will also be posted at the trailheads, on the trails and in the warming room and chalet. Comment cards will be provided at the trailheads and in the warming room and chalet. Let us know what you think. Please help this test to be successful and stay on Loop B with fat-tire bikes and snowshoes. If there are issues on the trails, please contact the Washburn Ranger District office at (715) 373-2667 to report. Walking or running without snowshoes or having a dog on the groomed trails is still prohibited. Your feedback on the mixed trail use is important to the Forest Service.

The warming room and chalet are open from 6:00 AM to 10:00 PM daily.

Just a reminder, the annual Forest user pass or payment of the daily user fee is required at most recreation sites across the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest. The 2018 annual Forest user pass is valid until March and are available at local vendors, Forest Service offices, or online at www.fs.usda.gov/main/cnnf/passes-permits and click on the link on the right hand side of the screen that says “purchase your daily and annual Forest pass here.” The Forest user pass is $20/vehicle sticker and a second sticker for an additional $10.

Drummond Recreation Trail – Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest

Snow Conditions: <24 inch base

Packed/Groomed: All trails are groomed and tracked

Trail Conditions: Excellent

Date of Report: 1/16/2020

Comments: All trails have new tracks as of Monday, January 13th. The latest few inches of fluffy snow was incorporated with the old surface and then tracked. There are still numerous oak leaves that need additional snow in order to be buried, but the tracks look good and the surface is smoother.

Location: The Drummond Ski Trail is located south of Drummond, WI about one mile. From US HWY 63 in Drummond, go south on Lake Owen Scenic Drive (FR 213) about 1 mile. Turn left onto access road into the parking area.

Report by: Washburn Ranger Station – Chequamegon Nicolet National Forest


Valhalla Recreation Area – Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest

Trail Status: OPEN

Snow Conditions: <24 inch base

Rating: Excellent

Date of Report: 1/16/2020

Ten miles west of Washburn, on County C, is the Valhalla Winter Sports Area nestled in the Chequamegon National Forest, offering two sets of cross-country ski trails developed and groomed by the U.S. Forest Service. The three Valkyrie loops run through red and jack pine forests, with magnificent views of the area on the Sun Bowl Loop. The Teuton Ski Trail also features three loops in a mixed birch and maple forest with a roller coaster near the end of loop “B”. County C runs between Valkyrie and Teton with parking area and rustic chalet on the Teton side of C. Please contact the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest office in Washburn at (715) 373-2667 ext 238 for more details.

Report by: Washburn Ranger Station – Chequamegon Nicolet National Forest

Valhalla Recreation Area– Teuton and Valkyrie Trails:

Snow Conditions: <24 inch base

Packed/Groomed/track set: Teuton trail system (chalet side) was tracked and groomed on 01/16/2019. Valkyrie (north side of C) trail system was groomed.

Comments: The forecast is lots of snow over the weekend. We went out today and groomed and will do the same on Friday. Enjoy, the conditions are great!

Location:  From Washburn, go northwest on County Hwy C for approximately 8.5 miles.  The main trailhead with a chalet and warming room is on the left-hand side of the highway.


Bayfield Sled Dog Trails

Trail Report: Bayfield Area

Reported by: Wolfsong Adventures in Mushing

Date of Report: 1/3/2020

Trail Conditions: As of now there is no access to the race trails. We will start grooming them next week. Access at Butterfield is probably no good right now. There is logging down Butterfield road so that has been plowed.

For more info:
Email Jen Dale: [email protected] or call 715-779-5561.



Snowshoe Trails

If skiing isn’t quite your cup of tea, but you are still looking to explore the beautiful trails the Bayfield area has to offer at this time of year, snowshoeing is always a great adventure.

The Brownstone Trail

The trail runs along an old railroad bed which skirts the lakeshore just south of Bayfield. Trailhead access is at the kiosk on Third Street, kitty-corner from Maggie’s Restaurant. You’ll enjoy splendid views of Madeline Island, see people ice-fishing in the Chequamegon Bay and enjoy the sights and sounds of winter in Bayfield.

Currently, a section of the Brownstone Trail heading out from the city of Bayfield is closed.  The closure is between S 7th near Sea Gull Bay Motel to the intersection of the trail and Lake Shore Drive. There is a re-route via Hwy 13.  This section will be closed until further notice.

The Ravine Snowshoe Trail

The trail travels uphill along the steep, hemlock-studded rim of the big ravine. Take young children by the hand! Trailhead access is on 4th Street uphill to the Bayfield School. Turn left on Sweeny Avenue and park at the baseball field. The trail is behind the fence to the right. This trail is also enjoyed by cross country skiers please do not snowshoe on the two track. Also a part of this trail system is the Iron Bridge Nature Trail. This magical winding trail is for sure footed hikers and follows the ravine creek under the old Iron Bridge and uphill to a rocky grotto with small waterfall. Pick up the trail at the Iron Bridge located at 3rd Street and Rice Avenue.

Jerry Jay Jolly – Pikes Creek Trail Network

Just South of Bayfield off State Hwy 13. Take County Hwy J to Star Route Road 2 1/4 miles to the parking lot on the left. This trail hooks up with the Mt Ashwabay ski trails which require a fee so please watch where you are and please stay off of the groomed ski track.

Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center

The center allows guest to check out snow shoes and snowshoe on the trails behind the center.

Houghton Falls

3.5 miles north of Washburn on State Hwy 13. Turn on Houghton Falls Road and go 1/2 mile to Houghton Falls Nature Preserve parking lot on our right. There is currently no fee for hiking or parking and pets are allowed if leashed and cleaned up after!

The North Country National Scenic Trail

Snowshoe the trail and experience winter views throughout the Rainbow Wilderness Area or portions of the National Forest near Lake Owen. This trail is not groomed, but is marked with blue blazes.