Video: How to Bike the Ice Caves

Bicycling the frozen sea caves along Big Bay State Park.

Since I published this blog post about bicycling on frozen Lake Superior shoreline to see the ice caves I have received a bunch of requests for more details on how to get there.  This post should help direct people, but remember to check the ice for yourself before you pedal off the shore. Ice conditions change quickly and what was safe one day may not be safe the next.

Also remember it remains illegal to ride to the mainland caves off Meyers Beach or anywhere in the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. You will need to walk or ski to view those, but there are other spectacular caves to explore by bike along the shore of Madeline Island and Chequamegon Bay

John Murphy’s DIY studded tire using #5 pan head sheet metal screws.

To get to Madeline Island, you can park your car at the start of the Ice Road in Bayfield. The video below is from the Bayfield WinterFest Run on the Water event that was held Feb. 28 - March 3 this year. It is an annual event in which you can bike, run or ski the 4.2 mile out and back on the Ice Road. The video is by John Murphy of the North Coast Cycling Association. He rides a regular mountain bike  tires that modified by adding #5 pan head sheet metal screws for maximum ice traction! Thanks for sharing the cool video and the photo of your DIY studded tires John!



Below is a Google Map of where we found the ice caves on the shore of Big Bay State Park. Note we checked with the ranger at the park before we went onto the ice. You can also look for other people snow shoeing or better yet, ice fishing, and ask them about ice thickness. Currents and movement always make biking on a frozen lake “travel at your own risk” thing to do. You will never find someone who will tell you it is perfectly safe.

Click the image to open a Google Map of where to find caves it is legal to bicycle near.


Good luck to any and all who have yet to visit the incredible frozen sea caves around Wisconsin’s Frozen North Coast!

To see more photos of our bike trip to the ice caves, read this blog post.




About Dave Schlabowske, Deputy Director

Dave was the first full-time staff member hired to open the Bike Fed's Milwaukee office 15 years ago. A former professional photographer and life-long Milwaukee resident, Dave likes wool, long rides, sour beer, and a good polar vortex once in a while.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>