The Apostle Islands National Lakeshore ice caves are slated to open Saturday, after park rangers on Wednesday judged the Lake Superior ice fit for pedestrian traffic.
“We’re planning on it,” said Chris Smith, the park’s chief of protection. “Things would have to change for us to not be open Saturday.”
The caves drew 138,000 visitors in two months during 2014’s epic ice season on Lake Superior. Accessing the ice-bedecked mainland sea caves requires hiking a mile-long route from Meyers Beach, near Cornucopia, across a frozen bay of Lake Superior.
Smith encouraged people to wear footwear with good traction, because rangers reported the ice to be “ridiculously slippery.”
“It really almost does look like antique glass,” he said.
Park officials also advised visitors to carry ski poles to steady themselves on the ice.
Anyone planning to make the trip to see the caves should first call the park's ice caves access phone line at (715) 779-3397, extension 3, for updates on ice conditions.
Beginning this year, cave explorers age 16 and older will be charged a $5 fee per person, per day; payment can be made with cash at Meyers Beach. There also are annual passes available for $10 per person at the park headquarters in Bayfield.
Find more information about the ice caves here.