Apostle Islands National Lakeshore

Apostle Islands National Lakeshore

Quick Facts

Apostle Islands National Lakeshore

Wisconsin

(715) 779-3398

Map Directions

Things To Do

Overview

Wild landscapes in the greatest of lakes. Land of pine and hemlock, eagle and bear. Ancestral home of the Ojibwe people. The nation's finest collection of historic lighthouses. Paradise for campers, boaters, and kayakers. This and more... The Apostle Islands

Map of Apostle Islands

Latitude, Longitude: 46.812635, -90.820558

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Activities

  • Boating

    The Apostle Islands' protected bays, public docks, pristine beaches, and natural beauty offer outstanding boating opportunities. Public docks are found on 13 of the islands in the national lakeshore. Space is reserved at some docks for National Park Service (NPS) vessels and excursion boats. The remaining space is available to the public on a first come, first served basis. Docking fees are in effect from 6pm to 6am. Public boat launches are located in Ashland, Bayfield, Cornucopia, Little Sand Bay, Red Cliff, and Washburn. TMarinas are in Ashland, Bayfield, Cornucopia, LaPointe, Pike's Bay, Port Superior, Red Cliff, Roys Point, Schooner Bay, and Washburn. The Apostle Islands have long been a mecca for boaters and sailers. The island's protected bays, public docks, pristine beaches, historic sites and natural beauty offer outstanding boating opportunities.

    The use of personal watercraft is not allowed within the boundaries of Apostle Islands National Lakeshore.

  • Camping

    Camping is available on 18 of the lakeshore's 21 islands and at one campsite on the mainland. Permits are required for all camping in the national lakeshore. The permit system allows campers to reserve campsites in advance. Individual campsites (for one to seven campers) can be reserved beginning one month before the start of a trip. Group campsites (for eight to 20 campers) can be reserved beginning the second week in January. Camping zones have also been established on 15 islands in the national lakeshore for visitors seeking a remote backcountry experience.

  • Fishing

    The Apostle Islands and surrounding area offer anglers opportunities to catch Lake Trout, Brown Trout, Brook Trout, Rainbow Trout, and Coho Salmon.

    A Few Reminders For Prospective Fishermen: Weather conditions on Lake Superior can change rapidly. Keep current weather forecasts in mind and do not ignore obvious weather signs. If your boat is of unsuitable size for anticipated weather conditions, do not go out. Be sure that all required safety items are on board.

    Spring Season (Ice-Out to Late May/Early June): The best dates for this fishing varies from year to year, but during this period the water temperatures near shore attract large numbers of trout and salmon. The spawning of Steelhead (Rainbow) Trout and Rainbow Smelt further enhance the fishing. Popular angling areas at this time include many points along the Bayfield Peninsula from Ashland to Port Wing. The best areas are usually adjacent to good spawning streams such as the Sioux, Onion, Pikes, Cranberry and Flag Rivers. Around the islands, the north side of Long is particularly productive. Other areas worth trying include the shorelines of Basswood, Hermit and Oak Islands. At this time of year, casting lures from shore may result in good catches since most fish are found in water from 10 to 30 feet deep.

    Summer Season (Mid-June through August): Generally, near-shore water temperatures will be too warm to host trout or salmon. Fishing during this period takes place in deeper water with Lake Trout being the most commonly targeted fish. Trolling (dragging lures behind a boat) is probably the most popular and successful method of catching trout and salmon in the Apostle Islands. A very popular and productive "sportfishing only" area has been established by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources between Madeline and Long Islands. The area around Sand and Eagle Islands, or out near Cat Island can also yield successful results. Fishermen should not approach within 500 feet of Eagle Island during this period so as not to disturb colonies of nesting birds on the island.

    Fall Season (September through November): Favorable shore temperatures and spawning runs of both trout and salmon species create good fishing in many of the same areas listed for spring fishing.

  • Hiking

    Hikers can enjoy more than fifty miles of maintained trails on the islands of the National Lakeshore. These trails provide access to lighthouses, abandoned quarries, old farm sites, historic logging camps, beaches, campsites, and scenic overlooks. Besides trails, there are numerous sandy beaches that are great for walking and exploring. Some of the favorites are Little Sand Bay and Meyers Beach on the mainland, Julian Bay on Stockton Island, Long Island beaches, Raspberry Island sandspit, East Bay on Sand Island , South Twin sandspit and Rocky Island sandspit. Beaches are highly sensitive to human disturbance, so remember:

    Walk on boardwalks where they are provided. Keep pets on leash at all times (park regulation). Do not walk through sandscape vegetation. Walk on beach areas without vegetation and enjoy unique sandscape plants from a distance. Hike on the mainland include: Lakeshore Trail: With the opening of the first segment of the Lakeshore Trail, the park now offers hiking opportunities on the mainland, as well. When finished, this trail will run the length of the Lakeshore's mainland unit. The section now open extends 4.5 miles, from Meyers Road, past the cliffs above the mainland sea caves, and approximately halfway along the Lakeshore's mainland unit. This trail is a rugged path for use by experienced hikers, with stream crossings and steep slopes along the way. Consult a ranger for up-to-date information on trail conditions.

    Islands with hiking trails include: Basswood Island, Outer Island, Devils Island, Raspberry Island, Manitou Island, Rocky Island, Michigan Island, Sand Island, Oak Island, South Twin Island, Otter Island, and Stockton Island

  • Historic Sites

    The Apostle Islands Cruises (an authorized National Park Service concessioner) offers a variety of nonstop sightseeing excursions and island shuttles featuring stops at several islands. Their office is located in the Bayfield Pavilion near the city dock at the bottom of Rittenhouse Avenue in Bayfield, WI. All cruises depart from Bayfield. Reservations are recommended.

  • Hunting

    Hunting is permitted from September (after Labor Day) through the 1st week of January. The most popular is a muzzle loader deer hunt (by permit only) which is held during the month of October. An archery season is open for the last two weeks in September and the entire months of November and December. Interested hunters must apply for a hunter access permit at park headquarters.

  • Picnicking

    Picnicking is available in designated areas.

  • Water Sports

    Clean, clear water, underwater rock formations, and fascinating shipwrecks combine to provide outstanding diving opportunities at Apostle Islands National Lakeshore.

    Sea kayaking has become very popular way to travel among the Apostle Islands. Two free kayak launch points are located within the national lakeshore's mainland unit. Meyers Beach is a popular spot to begin a tour to the mainland sea caves. A kayak launch is located to the west of the NPS dock at Little Sand Bay. Temporary parking for loading/unloading equipment is located to the west of the NPS visitor center. Long term parking is located in the parking lot adjacent to the Town of Russell campground

  • Winter Sports

    Please contact the park for information on seasonal activities.

Seasonality/Weather

The mainland portion and the islands of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore are open to visitors year round. From time to time closures or advisories will close or limit access to certain locations.

Park Partners

Apostle Islands Cruise Service

Apostle Islands Cruise Service offers a 55-mile "Grand Tour" of the islands each day at 10:00 a.m., and a variety of other sightseeing cruises, including evening tours.

(800) 323-7619

Directions

Driving

Car - The headquarters visitor center is one block off Wisconsin Route 13 in Bayfield.

The visitor center and fishery exhibit at Little Sand Bay is accessible by road, 13 miles north of Bayfield. Meyers Road, off Highway 13 about 5 miles east of Cornucopia, offers lake access and a trailhead. Most other facilities are accessible only by water.

Phone Numbers

Primary

(715) 779-3398

Links