Climb Ice in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Michigan
national parks in winter

See ice falls on the Chapel Loop Trail, .5 mile west of Chapel Rock Beach. photo: Viktor Posnov

Each winter, groundwater seeps through the porous sandstone cliffs edging Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, decorating the rock with dramatic spires and sheets of ice plunging straight down to Lake Superior. More than 50 named climbing routes spider up 25 miles of shoreline on the park’s west side, luring everyone from gawking hikers to rookie ice climbers to seasoned pros. Beginners and intermediates can head to the Sand Point Escarpment (a 1-mile hike from Sand Point Beach) to try their top ropes on formations like The Curtains, a 30-foot, rippling ice wall, and Sweet Mother Moses, a 70-foot frozen pillar. Season December to March