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The 6 Best Winter Hiking Trails in Bayfield, Wisconsin

Winter in Bayfield is considered the “quiet season.” And yes, there are fewer visitors. But as far as outdoor activities go, the term “quiet season” couldn’t be further from the truth.

Bayfield is booming with winter outdoor activities for any snow enthusiast. We have:

  • Snowshoeing
  • Skiing
  • Dog sledding

Bayfield is a winter wonderland. And one of the most popular outdoor activities, whether the grass is green or there’s snow on the ground, is hiking.

In this week’s blog, we’re going to dive into the best winter hiking trails near Bayfield. We’ll chat about the hikes you can access by walking right out your door from Seagull Bay.

But before we jump in, there may be a few questions that come to mind. Questions such as:

  • Are the trails groomed?
  • What type of clothing or footwear do you need?
  • How long are the trails?
  • Where are the trails located?
  • How difficult are the trails?

We’ve got you covered. We’ll answer these questions and more. And we’ll give you the inside scoop on the six best winter hiking trails in Bayfield, Wisconsin.

How Cold Does It Get In Bayfield When Winter Hiking?

Come February winter is in full swing! You can expect temperatures ranging from 12° F up to 23° F. And an average snowfall of typically accumulating snow of six inches. The average annual snowfall in Bayfield is around a hundred inches each year.

It’s always best to check the weather before traveling to Bayfield, as we’ll experience an occasional cold snap where temperatures drop below freezing. And a winter storm out of the west can blast us with additional snow.

The best part about February is how the days are longer. You can feel the warmth of the sun and its light on your face.

Despite the days of full sun, it’s no secret having the right gear can make all the difference in keeping you warm and toasty when hiking.

Get the Right Gear for Winter Hiking at Howl Adventure Center

Howl Adventure Center, located one mile from Seagull Bay Motel, is your headquarters for outdoor winter gear needed for winter hiking in Bayfield.

From base layers to outer layers. They have:

  • Hats
  • Mittens
  • Socks
  • Snowpants
  • Jackets

Howl Adventure Center carries the latest trends and the best brands in outdoor gear and winter clothing. Their friendly staff can also help fit you with gear to help you feel steady on the snow-covered trails. Whether you need:

  • Trekking poles
  • Yaktraxs
  • Snowshoes
  • Water bottles
  • Backpacks

The staff at Howl will help you find exactly what you need. Whether you’re looking to purchase items or grab some rental gear, Howl Adventure Center has you covered.

They also have groomed cross-country ski trails, snowshoe trails, and fat biking trails to demo equipment to make sure it’s a perfect fit for you.

And to help encourage you to #goplayoutside, Howl sponsors monthly outdoor winter challenges. In January, they had the Epic 2023 Snowshoe Challenge. If you snowshoed these three trails, you’d be entered to win a $500 Atomic Ski package – how cool is that?!

  • The Big Ravine Trail
  • Lost Creek Falls
  • The Meyers Beach Mainland Trail

Check out their website and Facebook page for this month’s challenge. You can find their website under the quick links below.

Explore the 6 Best Winter Hiking Trails Near Bayfield

Once you’re fitted with the right gear, you’re ready to explore the beautiful Northwoods of Bayfield and the surrounding area.

The trails on our list feature towering red and white pines, majestic oak and maple trees, and medicinal birch trees found in boreal-like forests.

Each trail features unique terrain ranging in ability levels from easy to most difficult. There is a trail for every skill level.

Some of the trails will lead you to an unobstructed shoreline looking out onto Lake Superior and the Apostle Islands. While others wind up switchbacks scaling tall ravines. Other hiking trails will bring you to magnificent ice sculptures crafted by nature alone.

  1. The Brownstone Trail

The Brownstone Trail borders our properties at Seagull Bay Lakeside Motel and our adjacent property Bay West.

The Brownstone Trail follows an old railroad grade that once carried lumber from Bayfield’s sawmills throughout the midwest.

Its easy flat terrain is perfect for those enthusiastic enough to take up winter running while wearing Yaktraxs or snowshoes. It’s also great for most of us who prefer a leisurely stroll along the banks of Lake Superior.

As you stroll along the trail, you’ll be able to observe a city of ice fishermen out on the lake, hoping to catch the big one. And brave travelers driving across the ice road to Madeline Island.

The Brownstone Trail will lead you on a 10-minute hike into town, walking through the historic area once called sawdust flats.

Or, if you prefer a longer stroll starting from its entrance in town, The Brownstone Trail will lead you to Pike’s Bay Marina, where you can turn around and head back right to your room for a round trip of 4.2 miles.

To navigate this trail, it’s best you wear Yaktraxs or snowshoes to help you find stable footing.

  1. The Big Ravine Trail

The recent restoration of The Big Ravine Trail has not only restored a recreation area popular in the early 1900s but has also restored its popularity to locals and visitors.

The Big Ravine Trail is most famous for washing out in the flood of 1942, causing millions of dollars in damage within the city of Bayfield. This time of year, the only water you’ll see is the frozen creek bed and the sound of it quietly trickling underneath the ice.

To hike this trail, Yaktraxs or snowshoes are a must. And to help you navigate the steep switchbacks, we highly recommend trekking poles.

There are multiple loops and trails within The Big Ravine Trail system to choose from. You can hike for as little or as long as you’d like.

The longest hike you’ll find starts in the heart of Bayfield underneath the Iron Bridge and meanders its way up into orchard country and back, extending over 2.5 miles.

And if you’d like to read about how Isaac’s great great grandmother Maude Jelinek accidentally helped to restore the Iron Bridge in the early 1900s, you can read about it here.

  1. Frog Bay Tribal National Park

Frog Bay Tribal National Park is the first tribal-owned and operated national park in the United States.

Its well-packed one-mile snowshoe and hiking trail draws you into the forests found north of Bayfield. Its trailhead is a 15-minute drive from Seagull Bay, where you’re instantly greeted with an Iron Bridge crossing over one of its many ravines.

This moderately difficult trail will introduce you to some of the important plants and trees of the Anishinaabe who live in this area and on the Red Cliff reservation.

Here you’ll learn Ojibwe words like wiigwaas (paper birch), which were harvested by the Anishinaabe to make everything from baskets to canoes. And ininaatig (sugar maple) is tapped in the spring to collect sap and is boiled down into syrup.

Strap on your Yaktrax and follow the trail over shallow ravines and ridges guiding you to the shoreline of Frog Bay. From the beach, you can look out onto Oak Island and others as part of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore.

  1. Meyers Beach Mainland Trail

The Meyers Beach Mainland Trail is part of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore and is operated by the National Park Service. It’s located on North Highway 13, about 20 minutes from Seagull Bay.

In the summer, Meyers Beach is a popular launching point for sea kayakers who are eager to paddle toward the mainland sea caves.

In the winter, if conditions allow and the ice freezes, the Meyers Beach Sea Caves go viral. Visitors from around the world come to seek out the infamous Ice Caves and towering ice structures of Lake Superior perched upon its sandstone cliffs.

The Ice Caves have not been safe for travel since 2014. But for those who are interested in hiking along the mainland beach trail, you can view some of these awe-inspiring ice structures from above the sea caves.

Starting from the parking lot to the 100-ft crevasse is 1.8 mi. Beyond this, you can hike along the cliff edge looking at towering sandstone rock, Eagle Island, and on a clear day, the North Shore of Minnesota.

To safely navigate this trail, we recommend Yaktrax or snowshoes and trekking poles, as this snow-packed trail can be icy when you’re climbing up and down multiple ravines.

  1. Lost Creek Falls

Lost Creek Falls is a 25-minute drive from Seagull Bay, found off of County Highway C near Cornucopia, Wisconsin.

This easy-to-moderate trail guides you back into Bayfield County forests to a frozen waterfall cascading over sandstone cliffs.

This popular trail is usually packed with snow, so we recommend Yaktraxs for this adventure. This trail meanders 1.5 miles to Lost Creek Falls for a round trip of three miles. This family-friendly trail is perfect for little ones looking experience winter hiking.

  1. Houghton Falls

A short 10-minute drive from Seagull Bay, Houghton Falls may be the perfect hike before catching dinner at Good Time Restaurant, where you’ll want to stop after working up your appetite. Or stop at Coco’s on your way to the hike and pick up one of the most delicious cinnamon rolls you’ve ever had.

Houghton Falls is a 1.5-mile hike round trip. Here you’ll be immersed in the sandstone rock, cliffs, and water frozen into magnificent spears, gentle mounds, and ice spiraling several feet to the ground.

Yaktraxs or snowshoes and trekking poles are necessary pieces of equipment for the short but icy winter hike guiding you out to Houghton point.

Rest Your Weary Legs After Winter Hiking at Seagull Bay Lakeside Motel

Don’t let snow and ice keep you from doing the things you love! You can still get outside and enjoy all nature has to offer. There’s nothing better than:

  • The smell of the crisp, clean winter air
  • Rosy cheeks
  • The bright sunshine peeking through the trees while winter hiking in the north woods of Bayfield, Wisconsin

Although you may have hiked these trails before in the summertime, they look and feel completely different when covered with a blanket of fresh snow.

But at the end of the day, when you open your door and stomp the snow from your feet, you’ll be drawn in by the old-school charm of our 1940s motel and its expansive views of Lake Superior and the Chequamegon Bay.

Simple and cozy is all you need after a day of winter hiking in Bayfield. BOOK NOW and start planning your trip.

The Carrier Family,

Mollie, Isaac, Axel, Ridge, and Banks


Howl Adventure Center

Bayfield Area Trails

Frog Bay Tribal National Park

Hiking in the Apostle Islands

January 31, 2023

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