Across windswept beaches and cliffs of sandstone, tourists feel where sea meets land and atmosphere, nature meets history, and past existence meets. The 21 islands and 12 miles of the mainland coast are home to a unique blend of cultural and natural resources. The National Lakeshore of Apostle Islands has more lighthouses than any other location in the National Park System with 9 iconic towers on 6 islands. More than 240 species of birds live in this archipelago and/or pass through it.
Visitors can hike, paddle, sail, or cruise to experience these Jewels of Lake Superior. Clearwater, underwater rock formations and captivating shipwrecks join to present excellent scuba diving opportunities. Camping is possible on 19 of the lakeshore’s 21 islands and at one campsite on the mainland. The park allows hiking opportunities on more than 50 miles of maintained trails in the park. Island trails provide access to lighthouses, abandoned quarries, old farm sites, historic logging and commercial fishing camps, beaches, campsites, and scenic overlooks.
Get there early so you can park on Meyers Road ($3 fee but worth not having to walk further). It was cold with the wind blowing. Just bundle up like you are going skiing in a blizzard and you'll be fine. We found having those heating packets you stick in your gloves and boots to be helpful. Be sure to have a good set of strap-on crampons/cleats for your boots. They help when walking on the ice or the packed down snow. They are more a safety factor than you might think. Also, ski or trekking poles are helpful.
We also had ski goggles that were really helpful when we had to walk back with the wind in our face. Full face masks helped as well. The hike is about a mile to the first ice caves but if you are up for it keep going for about another half mile at least to see the full range of ice formations. We didn't make it to the furthest ones (which would have been more than a mile further). Bring a camera but keep it on an inside pocket to keep it from getting to cold (batteries seem to not like the cold). If you are lucky, the sun will be out (not for us) and you'll probably see even more spectacular colors. Don't worry if the sun isn't out, we got more color in our photos than we expected. We saw people pulling their children in everything from sleds and toboggans to wheeling them in a runner's stroller (hint: wheels don't work as well as skis or sled bottoms for pulling kids). It took us about one hour to hike back from as far as we had gone.
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