Take the stress out of planning your Bayfield getaway. On the blog, you'll get the inside scoop of where to go, what to see, and what to do.
There are some things you can always bet on.
In Northern Wisconsin, it’s snow. Last year in Bayfield, Wisconsin, we smashed our previous snowfall record by over 30 inches, ending with a final total somewhere between 182 inches and 200 inches.
We had so much snow that winter lovers were skiing well into April!
This year is a little different. Despite an early six inches arriving at the end of October, the snowfall has been late in coming. And in a household with three little boys, the anticipation of building snow forts, snowball fights, and sledding with cousins was practically impossible to endure.
I’m Mollie, co-owner of Seagull Bay, with my husband Isaac. We’ve teamed up with Howl Adventure Center to help you take a break from the everyday hustle and find adventure in the big woods of Bayfield, Wisconsin.
Howl Adventure Center is the perfect place to get all the gear you need to explore our wintery backyard. And with their help, we’re sharing our favorite ways to play in the snow.
For the first time in I don’t know how long (if ever), the downhill skiers at Mt. Ashwabay were the first to strap on their skis and hit the slopes, thanks to the mighty snow guns making piles of new snow.
But since the beginning of January, cross-country skiers have been escaping into the wooded hillside of Pike’s Creek at Mt. Ashwabay. Mt. Ashwabay is a Nordic skier’s paradise with over 40 km of groomed classic and skate ski trails.
It’s easy to spend a few days exploring its trail systems and discovering hidden gems deep within its forests – treasures like the historic Nourse Family Sugarbush Cabin.
Built in the 1920s in a hardy Maple grove, the Nourse family would spend each spring season at the cabin, tapping sugar maples, boiling sap, and bottling delicious maple syrup.
This rustic cabin is at the end of the beloved Sugarbush trail for classic skiers and Abby Road for skate skiers and skijorers. It’s the perfect in and out to get a little sweat on and breathe in the fresh air without overdoing it. Plus, it’s the perfect spot for a selfie to put on your Instagram highlight reel.
But if a little slower pace is more your style, we recommend trying out one of the many snowshoe trails around Bayfield.
Sometimes, I think snowshoeing gets a bad wrap. I’ve heard others call it boring. And as someone who is drawn toward more intense and fast-paced activities like CrossFit, I get it. But in today’s hustle culture, snowshoeing can help us slow down and see the beauty we may not otherwise see when we’re gliding through the woods on skis or navigating the groomed trail on a fat bike.
Also, thanks to a small but mighty Bayfield Trails team of volunteers, the snowshoe trails now available for public use in Bayfield, Wisconsin, and the surrounding area are growing.
The Pileated Woodpecker Trail is the newest trail built two miles south of Bayfield. The trailhead is located at the Les Voight Fish Hatchery.
Snowshoers hiking this trail enjoy the peaceful sounds of the rap-a-tap-tap of the Pileated Woodpecker, the sing-song chirping of the chickadees, and the gentle murmuring of Pike’s Creek.
Another trail we love is the Ravine Trail located right in the middle of Bayfield. This trail leads you under the historic iron bridge, past a small brownstone waterfall, and into Bayfield’s hillside near the Fruitloop.
The snowshoe and hiking trail at Frog Bay is another gem waiting to be explored. Its mile-long loop winds through boreal forests and leads you to a hidden beach on Lake Superior.
And as a bonus, winter makes all these trails completely mosquito-free.
For those seeking a more expansive view of Lake Superior and the Apostle Islands, riding a fat bike to the summit of Mt. Ashwaybay is consistently a standout experience.
Isaac loves to mountain bike. He started when we lived in Hudson, and this summer he’s been putting on the miles. The CAMBA singletrack mountain bike trails at Mt. Ashwaybay are incredible.
Winter fat biking is more relaxed than its summer cousin, but just as enjoyable. Mt. Ashwabay grooms 12 km of fat bike trails along its southern hillside. The fat bike trails wind through the woods and gently scale the hill to a spectacular view overlooking Lake Superior and the Apostle Islands.
Here, you can look out and see Madeline, Basswood, Stockton, and Michigan Islands. Watch the ferry cross the north channel, or cars drive across the ice road if it’s been cold enough.
Once you reach the top, take a moment to appreciate the view across the Pike’s Creek Valley and its rolling hills before heading back down to the trailhead.
Whether you prefer to ride, glide, or walk, Bayfield, Wisconsin, has much to offer during your weekend getaway. And Howl Adventure Center has all the gear you need.
Howl Adventure Center is located just a mile up the road from Seagull Bay. Its iconic wolf towers over the property and deserves a closer look. It’s over two stories high and is made entirely of plastic bottles and other recycled materials. Pull the rope to raise the wolf’s head and howl at the moon, or hop on the bike and spin the world inside its belly.
Next to the wolf are Howl’s demo trails groomed for Nordic skiing, snowshoers, and fat bikers. These trails help you get a feel for the gear that’ll best suit your adventure. And not only can you try before you buy, but their rental program and friendly staff will ensure you have what you need for:
To help you make the most of your winter getaway in Bayfield, Wisconsin, Howl is generously offering all of our guests 10% off rentals this season.
And when it’s time to return your gear, you can slide on over to Adventure Club Brewing (located inside Howl Adventure Center) to warm up after having fun in the snow.
Winter in Bayfield is an outdoor enthusiast’s playground. But if outdoor winter adventures aren’t your cup of tea, you can unwind and relax from your room at Seagull Bay, where you’ll enjoy sweeping views of Lake Superior while warming your hands on a steamy cup of coffee.
This winter has a very different feel than last winter. The temps are a bit warmer, and there isn’t as much snow…yet?!
But the beauty and rejuvenating qualities of the Bayfield, Wisconsin landscape can still be felt. Whether you find this sort of peace and adventure on two wheels, skis, or snowshoes, a weekend winter getaway might just be the tonic you need.
Scroll our calendar and choose a few days to join us for a weekday retreat or a weekend getaway in our winter wonderland.
Enjoy the View!
Mollie, Isaac, Axel, Ridge, and Banks
February 5, 2024
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