Canada is one of the most beautiful countries to explore during the winter season; just let this next adventure recommendation be proof of that.
Welcome to the Lake Superior Ice Caves, named one of 52 amazing travel destinations by the New York Times in 2019.
Breathtaking and ethereal, but a reminder of the results of climate change. Some consider Lake Superior’s Ice Caves to be melting, as ice coverage in the area slowly begins to disappear. According to the NPCA, graphs charting its recent history have noticed a rise and plunge of ice coverage, with levels decreasing at twice the speed of any other Great Lakes, an alarming fact. A study in Austin confirmed it to be warming by 2 degrees Fahrenheit every decade. In the next 2 or 3 decades, this phenomenon could be gone, so we’d recommend adding the ice caves to your bucket list.
So, how do the Ice Caves at Lake Superior form?
Waves at Lake Superior mixed with strong winds and frigid winters can freeze over (sometimes they’re even up to 6 metres high). When they crash against the rock, they can freeze and become ice sheets. Because of the fact that they’re created by nature, ice patterns are different every year, making them an exciting destination to visit more than once.
When is the best time to see the Ice Caves?
Once the frigid air of winter settles, temperatures will be prime for witnessing these stunning ice cakes at Lake Superior. That means mid-February to early March are peak times, but it all depends on how cold this winter is in Ontario.
It’s always important to keep in mind ice safety when heading out on winter adventures in Ontario, which you can read up on here.
- Don’t walk on ice alone
- Snowshoes can help with grip
- Dress appropriately for the weather
- Bring food to stay fueled
- Always check conditions before heading out
Where to see the ice caves?
There are 5 loctions to see the ice caves, with the last being the New York Time’s top location choice.
- Alona Bay: Along the Trans-Canada Highway, park on the scenic road and head down to the coast for stunning ice cave views
- Kilometer Marker 1148: 100k from Sault St. Marie (driving) on Ontario Hwy 17 is this marker, where you can see the lake off in the distance
- Hibbard Bay: Located between Pancake Bay and Lake Superior Provincial Park. Also the location of another landmark, the Coppermine Lighthouse
- Coppermine Point: One of the most scenic spots where you can also see the sinking site of the Edmund Fitzgerald
- Saw Pit Bay: Voted as the NYT’s favorite location to see the ice caves, it’s located off Highway 17 and 10 minutes north of the main gate of Pancake Bay Provincial Park. You can find parking nearby at Saw Pit Bay Motel and Cabins
Those are all of our tips for making the most out of Lake Superior Ice Caves so take precautions when heading out there, take your camera, and have fun.