Monday, February 16, 2015

Array of trails crisscross Madeline Island

Tombolo Trail on Stockton Island, which can be accessed via boat or sea
plane from Madeline Island. Photo courtesy of Apostle Islands National
Lakeshore NPS.
Imagine a place where you can hike sandy beaches and enjoy fantastic vistas of the world’s largest freshwater lake, a place of towering pines that bald eagles fly over and black bears scamper beneath, a place where you can explore sea caves or hike across billion-year-old red rock. The place is real – it’s called Bayfield County, Wisconsin.

If Wisconsin were a mitten, Bayfield County would be the peak of the four fingers. With much of it a peninsula, it boasts more shoreline on Lake Superior than any other Wisconsin county. It also offers dozens of miles of trails for those who love hiking.

Ironically, the main reason some people visit Bayfield County is to leave it – that’s because the village of Bayfield is the community offering ferry service to Madeline Island, by far the most popular attraction among those traveling to the county…yet Madeline Island actually is part of Ashland County.

But that’s a trivial matter to most travelers, as Bayfield and Madeline Island are intimately connected in most people’s minds – the way most of Madeline’s visitors reach the island is via ferry from downtown Bayfield.

Though Madeline Island is the largest of the famous 22 Apostle Islands it is not part of the national lakeshore. Madeline’s crowning jewel is Bay View State Park.

Popular day hiking trails on or near Madeline Island include:
g Basswood Island (Apostle Islands National Lakeshore)
g Bay View Trail (Big Bay State Park)
g Big Bay State Park’s top trails
g Michigan Island trails (Apostle Islands National Lakeshore)
g Roundup of Madeline Island trails
g Stockton Island trails (Apostle Islands National Lakeshore)

Read more about day hiking Bayfield County in my Hittin’ the Trail: Day Bayfield County, Wisconsin guidebook.