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Winter Recreation Report

Mt. Ashwabay Ski & Recreation Area - Nordic & Alpine

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

Date of Report: 1/23/22

Nordic Conditions: Great

Snow Base: Compact 12″  

From Skinny Ski: “Great conditions at Ashwabay for teaching classic skiing today. Freshly groomed tracks and skate deck on Abbey Road and Anchor. Firm, fast and still forgiving.”

From Skinny Ski: “Skate and classic tracked groomed Sunday morning on Abbey Road, Anchor and the Seagull hill up to the Summit. Telford and Roller Coaster were groomed as well. Excellent conditions.”

Don’t forget to come on up to the Chalet after your ski for a hot drink, some food, or a beer!  We have an outdoor food service window and a outdoor fire pit if you prefer not to go inside.  (Masks required in the Chalet)

Date of Report: 1/15/22

Alpine Conditions: Groomed 

Snow base (in inches): 16-36″  

Hours:

Wednesday 9:30 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Friday 4-9 p.m. (Staring on the Jan. 14)

Closed Monday, Tuesday, Thursday

Saturday 9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Sunday 10:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Notable Dates:

Summit Ski Race: February 5, 2022

TO LEARN MORE AND REGISTER FOR THE SUMMIT RACE CLICK HERE

Junior Race Programs:
February 12, 1-3 p.m.
February 19, 1-3 p.m.
February 26, 1-3 p.m.
March 5, 1-3 p.m.

King and Queen of the Mountain: Sunday, February 27.

Friday Youth Nights Starting January 14, 4-9 p.m.

MADski, Youth Lean to Ski Program, Saturday Mornings

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 40 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

Links
Mt Ashwabay Ski and Recreation Area Website

X-C trail map (PDF)

Apostle Islands National Lakeshore – Ice Caves: Closed - Inaccessible

Report by: Apostle Islands National Lakeshore

Report Date: 1/24/2022

CLOSED

At this time, it’s unlikely there will be access to the ice caves in 2022 based on Lake Superior ice cover. Staff at the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore say Lake Superior has 8 percent ice cover. More is needed in order to grant access to the ice caves.

People can hike the Meyers Beach Mainland Trail, which extends 4.5 miles from Meyers Road past the cliffs above the mainland sea caves.  The trail alternates between boardwalk and a rugged path, with stream and ravine crossings. It’s located 5 miles east of Cornucopia on Highway 13. Best to have crampons or some kind of shoe grip if venturing out in the winter.

The last time the Apostle Islands Ice Caves were accessible was 2015. Typically, ice in and around the sea caves is visible in late February to early March. Staff at the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore monitor weather conditions and ice formations very closely to ensure visitors can view them safely if and when they form.

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

Last Updated: 1/18/22

Ferry Schedule

From the Ferry Line: “Due to ice conditions, today (Tuesday, January 18, 2022) is the last day of ferry service. Last trip to Madeline Island at 3pm and to Bayfield at 3:30pm. Thanks for a great season – we will see you in the spring!”

Transportation between Bayfield and Madeline Island is also provided by Windsled Transportation once ice forms in the bay. At this time, the Windsled is not running.

Windsled Schedule

Monday thru Friday
Leave MADELINE ISLAND: 7:30AM, 8AM (School Kids only if in session), 9AM, 11:30AM, 3:45PM (School Kids only if in session), 3:45PM & 4:30PM
Leave BAYFIELD: 7:45AM, 8:15AM (School Kids only if in session), 9:30AM, 12:30PM,      4PM (School Kids only if in session), 4PM & 4:45PM

Saturday 
Leave MADELINE ISLAND: 9AM, 11:30AM & 4PM
Leave BAYFIELD: 9:15AM, 12:15PM & 4:15PM

Sunday 
Leave MADELINE ISLAND: 9AM, 12Noon & 4PM
Leave BAYFIELD: 9:15AM, 12:15PM & 4:15PM

Information for the Madeline Island Ice Road is available on the Facebook page. This Facebook page is managed by Windsleds, Inc.

Madeline Island Ice Road

Closed

 

Bayfield County Snowmobile Trails - Open

Report by: Bayfield County Tourism

Last Updated: 1/19/2022

Status (Closed, Open, Partially Open): Open 

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

Conditions across the county are varied. Good news first – the north central part of the county has gotten quite a bit of lake effect snow and trails are in great condition. Groomers are reporting that their trails are in excellent condition in the north.

Not so great news next –   the southern part of the county is hurting for some snow. There has been heavy traffic (which we love to see!) and not a lot of fresh snow so the trails are suffering. Trails are rideable but there may be exposed rocks, so ride with caution.

Just a reminder to all to please respect private landowners and stay on the trail. Stay on the trail or stay home!

Some trouble spots to note:

  • The Wally Polk Trail/Trail 40 near Port Wing and Herbster is closed. Flag road is a suitable re-route.
  • Trail 1 to Red Cliff/the Casino is temporarily closed due to a landowner issue. We have a solution, just need more snow/time to get it rideable.

Detailed reports from snowmobile club trail reporters are posted on Snowtracks and at www.travelbayfieldcounty.com along with closures due to logging activity.

Links to trail conditions for all types of trails can be found at www.bayfieldcounty.wi.gov/trails.

Links
Sign Up for Text or Email Updates

Bayfield County Tourism Facebook page

Bayfield County Trail Conditions

Ashland County Snowmobile Trails - Open

Trail Status: Open

Trail Conditions: Fair

Date of Report:1/21/2022

General Area Report:

The Snowmobile Trails in Ashland County are Open.  Conditions are FAIR. No quality to the base.  Ride at your own risk.   Always keep safety in mind.  Ashland groomer is still broke, waiting on parts..  Please stay on the trail. Lots of Ashland County snowmobile trails are on farmers land, please be respectful so we don’t loose our easement to their property.

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)

Fat Tire Biking

Mt. Ashwabay Ski & Recreation Area

Report Date: 1/19/2022

Area Report: The entire fat bike trail was groomed on Wednesday 1/19. The edges of the trail may be soft but there is a firm base underneath and it should be pretty nice riding.  Thanks to Avery for keeping the trails in great shape after the new snow on Tuesday.

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: 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

Report by: Skinny Ski

Date of Report: 1/22/2022

Snow Conditions: Good 

Packed/Groomed/Tracked: Tracked 

Comments:

New tracks on all the Drummond Ski Trail loops today. Jim incorporated at least two inches of new snow into the trails and set new tracks that look good. There was plenty of debris and leaves blown onto the surface from the winds recently. While the tracks are very good, the presence of debris is annoying. Crisp temperatures and sunshine make for good skiing conditions.

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.

 

 

Valhalla Recreation Area – Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest

Date of Report: 1/15/2022

Report by: Skinny Ski

Plenty of snow here! Skate skied the C loop of the Teuton trail from 2-3 PM on Saturday. It must have been groomed relatively recently, but there was a 2 inch layer of light fluff on top. I was the first person to ski the C loop. There were effectively two classic tracks set by skiers on the A and B portion, I felt like a trespasser skiing over a track but I know it wasn’t supposed to be like that, and there’s definitely not enough room for two classic tracks and a skating surface. Overall it was a very nice day to be out in the woods. The trail is perfectly skiable, the snow is light enough that it’s relatively easy to skate on still. Hopefully it gets groomed again soon!

Teuton trail system: Packed and tracked very nicely. A tad slow due to blowing snow.

Valkyrie trail system: Double tracked for classic only skiing.

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.

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 a parking area and a 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.

Links
http://www.fs.usda.gov/main/cnnf/passes-permits

Download a Valhalla trail map (PDF)

Snowshoe Trails - Open

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.

Snowshoe Rental:  

Howl Adventure Center
715-779-5561
35265  South County Highway J
Bayfield, WI

Sweet Sailing
715-779-3682
120 Rittenhouse Avenue
Bayfield, WI

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!

Lost Creek Falls 

Take Hwy C south of Cornucopia 1.5 miles and turn right on the Trail drive to Trailhead parking lot. This waterfall features a lovely 8-foot plunge, with smaller cascades below. The hike to the falls is through a scenic, forested area ad the trail is well maintained with boardwalks and bridges.

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.

Ski, snowshoe, hike or try out a fat tire bike – Bayfield has something for everyone during the winter months.

Check out the reports above for conditions and activities.

Click here to find a place to stay. 

Click here to see what’s open. 

2022 Winter Events:

January 16-22: Ski the virtual Noquemanon Ski Marathon at Mt. Ashwabay. Virtual participants can ski that race right here in beautiful Bayfield now – January 22. Mt. Ashwabay will offer a free daily trail pass for your virtual race, just bring your bib to the ticket window and tell us that you are skiing your virtual Noque.*

February 5: Register for the Summit Ski Race at Mt. Ashwabay! 

February 19: Northern Pines Sled Dog Race in Iron River, Wisconsin. 

March 4-6: Bayfield Winter Fest – Stay tuned for more information.