Winter Recreation Report

Apostle Islands National Lakeshore – Ice Caves: Closed - Inaccessible

Report by: Apostle Islands National Lakeshore

Report Date: 1/18/2021

For more information about the ice caves, check their website.

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: Not Accessible

Last Updated: 1/18/2021
The Madeline Island Ferry is currently running.

Ferry Schedule




Bayfield County Snowmobile Trails - Open

Report by: Bayfield County Tourism

Last Updated: 1/13/2021

Snow base (in inches): 2-12 inches

Status (Closed, Open, Partially Open): Early season

Condition (Poor, Fair, Good, Excellent): Fair to Poor

With no new snow and warmer temps, trails are holding up and rideable but in fair to poor condition. A slow-moving winter storm is in the forecast for Thursday and Friday so we are hoping that dumps a bunch of snow throughout the whole county. If we do get a substantial amount of snow, we will try to update the report on Friday.

The same trouble spots still remain:

  • The Grand View and Mason areas didn’t receive much snow and sled traffic could damage farm fields. Please use caution.
  • Trail 1 along the South shore is rough but passable.
  • Trail 1 to Bayfield and Legendary Waters Casino are currently closed. The trail into the City of Bayfield will not open this year, but we’re hopeful for next year. The trail to the Casino is currently being worked on and will provide an update when it opens.

Namakagon Trail Groomers: Trails are in fair condition. Some are more brown than white but rideable. Hope we get some snow!

Barnes Barnestormers: Barnestormers trails are in poor but rideable condition. Trails 17 and 31 are good once you get north of trail 18, and 18 is in good condition. We groomed trail 7 to Drummond and trail 63 from Lake Owen to Grandview on Friday. (Poor condition). We hope to be grooming again by the weekend if the weather is accommodating.

Drummond SnoJacks: The Drummond groomer remains out for repairs. Barnes and/or Namakagon plan to help out on our trails so refer to their report.

Frosty’s Vintage Riders: Trail 4 from the Corridor to the Diner- very poor. Mason to Delta: fair to poor. Forest roads are fair, Scenic Drive road routes are fair.

Washburn Valhallers: Trails in the Valhalla area remain in fair condition. Hopefully we will get a good snow on Wednesday night.

Trail #13, Ashland to Washburn:  Very thin but ridable; Trail #13, Washburn to Valhalla:  Thin but ridable; Trail 33/31/63, Valhalla to Moquah:  Covered but getting thin with exposed rocks on #63. Trail 31 around Valhalla; Covered but getting thin; some of the most snow in our area. Like everyone, we are really hoping for some snow with this next system.

South Shore– Port Wing, Herbster & Cornucopia: Trail 1 from Port Wing to Corny is rough with no grooming yet. Wally Polk trail is fair so is trail 40 and 41. We need snow and I will be out grooming!

WAINO: Waino Riders will not be grooming until we get some snow. Hopefully at the end of the week. Trail 1 is rideable and that’s about it.


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Bayfield County Trail Conditions

Ashland County Snowmobile Trails - Closed

Trail Status: Closed

Trail Conditions: 

Date of Report: 1/12/2021

General Area Report:

The Snowmobile Trails in Ashland County are closed at this time. The groomers are not out yet. According to the Ashland County Snowmobile Alliance, before the groomers can go out the swamps have to be packed. Ride at your own risk to help pack the swamps! At this time the trails are closed to recreational snowmobiling.

The Tri-County Corridor is OPEN.  Sanborn to The overpass by Ashland Ford is soft and not in great shape.  Ride Safe!

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.

County of Ashland Snowmobile Map (pdf)

City of Ashland snowmobile trail routes (pdf)

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: 1/3/2021

Nordic Conditions: OK

Cross Country ski trails are in very good to excellent conditions. Remember if you’d like to give it a try, we have classic rental skis available during lodge hours.

All of the Skate has been groomed overnight (except the Cut-off-to Seagull). The Buzz was groomed and the track was set. The rest of the classic tracks skied really well yesterday. 40kms of groomed skate & classic trails available!

Date of Report: 1/3/2021

Alpine Conditions: All Trails Groomed 100% open, 2 person lift open, handle tow open.

12-24 inches of groomed mixed natural and man made snow.

Mt Ashwabay Ski and Recreation Area Website

X-C trail map (PDF)

Fat Tire Biking

Mt. Ashwabay Ski & Recreation Area

Report Date: 1/3/2020

Area Report: Open

All 6km of Ashwabay Fat Bike Trails are groomed! Conditions are soft. Use low PSI! There were couple of riders out while I was grooming and they seemed to be doing ok once they adjusted tire for the conditions. **Note the trailhead location is different location. Look for the billboard sign in the parking lot, kind of near the chair lift.** Enjoy!

Trail Network: 12km 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)

Mt Ashwabay Ski and Recreation Area Website

Fat Tire Trail Video

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.

Location: Contact Washburn Ranger District at (715) 373-2667 for a copy of a plowed road map.

Drummond Recreation Trail – Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest

Snow Conditions: Skiable

Packed/Groomed/Track set: Classic Only

Date of Report: 1/1/2021

Skied the entire trail system today. Tracks are set. Conditions are good with a caveat that there were some thin areas with underbrush, leaves, and branches showing through. I was able to ski around all of that (very short stretches of 5’ or less). Delightful snow and reasonably well formed tracks. If you are at all concerned about debris then go put on B skis and enjoy!
(Robert Erdmann)

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

Date of Report: 1/1/2021

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:

Packed/Groomed/track set: Skating/Classic

Comments: Skied both sides of the road today. The long classic only loop was in the best condition of all trails here, with great grooming and plenty of coverage on nice rolling terrain. On the skate/classic combi-trails, the skate deck was very soft and a bit narrow in places, while the classic track was bomber! Definitely great classic skiing today!
(Jonathon Rulseh, SISU Ski Fest)

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.


Download a Valhalla trail map (PDF)

Bayfield Sled Dog Trails

Trail Report: Bayfield Area

Reported by: Wolfsong Adventures in Mushing

Date of Report: 2021

Trail Conditions: Currently trails for 2021 are limited to just those south of the Butterfield Parking lot due to logging activity to the north. All trails on or around Henkins, Echo Valley and Echo Valley Gravel Pit are in active logging due to late snow allowing for the ground to freeze and logging operations to move in. It would be unsafe to dogsled anywhere in those areas. Logging is expected to continue all winter. Trails leaving from Echo Valley Gravel Pit are not being brushed nor groomed this year as the Apostle Islands Race is not occurring due to COVID-19.

Use caution if dogsledding south of Butterfield as some trails are designated snowmobiling trails. Please park diagonally in the lot to allow for other users to fit and not block trailheads.

Wolfsong Adventures Website

Apostle Islands Dog Sled Race Map (PDF)

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.