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Apostle Islands, WI: Lakeshore Trail

This 10.6-mile out-and-back in Apostle Island National Lakeshore boasts sandy beaches, sandstone cliffs, and bluff-top views of the Mawikwe Bay sea caves.

Rating

The sandstone formations along Wisconsin’s Lake Superior shoreline are the highlight of this route. Begin at Meyers Beach and head east along the edge of the Bayfield Peninsula through hardwood forests fringed with pines. A few easy stream crossings and short, steep drainage climbs within the first 1.5 miles lead to views of the lake and the Mawikwe Bay sea caves. Crashing waves and shifting ice carved the sandstone caves along the waterline, making them inaccessible from the bluff-top trail, but kayakers explore them on calm summer days. During winter, hikers take to the frozen surface of Lake Superior to explore the hanging icicles up close. Use caution: The erosion that carved the caves and a natural bridge along this section of the lakeshore is also a hazard to view-seeking hikers. Keep track of wandering children, stay off the natural bridge and away from cliff edges.
After more than a mile along the bluff, the trail winds away from the shoreline through birch, aspen, and maples for another 1.8 miles before this route drops 80 feet to a sandy beach. You can follow this route along the beach for half a mile before seeking out the official trail again, or stay inland and hit the beach just before the campsite at mile 5.3. The bluff-side site provides a good night’s sleep: it is equipped with bear boxes, shielded by wind-breaking fir trees, and within earshot of the crashing waves.
Note: There is a year-round daily parking fee at Meyers Beach and reservations and a permit are required for camping. Make reservations and check trail (and ice) conditions with the Park Service at (715) 779-3397 or www.nps.gov/apis.
-Mapped by Steffan Fay

To Trailhead

Drive south on US 53 from Duluth, MN or Superior, WI and take the WI 13 exit toward Bayfield. From the exit, turn left onto WI 13 and drive 21.7 miles before turning left (north) on WI 13. Drive 33.7 miles to Park Road and turn left and go 0.4 mile to Meyers Beach.

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