It’s winter in Bayfield County with plenty of snow for outdoor enthusiasts! With the thought that you might he headed out to enjoy one of the Bayfield Areas Trails, here are some tips for a good experience:
Ski & snowshoe directional signs.
Trails are not maintained during the winter
Have some knowledge of where you’re headed. The Big Ravine East and West Rim Trails are both okay for showshoeing or skiing—but the steep slopes and the switchbacks on Pine Buff, Hemlock Heights, and the School Trail, will be a challenge
Familiarize yourself with a trail’s usage. Not all winter activities are allowed on all trails, so make sure you know what’s permitted. For instance, in general, snowshoes are not allowed on cross-country ski trails.
Even if snowshoeing and skiing are both allowed in an area, please don’t snowshoe on top of ski tracks. For example, on the Big Ravine’s West Rim Trail, please follow the signs that direct snowshoers on one route and skiers on another.
Don’t forget that the sun sets earlier at this time of year. Consider hiking early—and plan to be off the trail well before dark, especially as temperatures drop when the sun goes down.
Always practice Leave No Trace! Pack out anything and everything you brought in; this includes picking up after your pooch—even in winter.
Consider using hiking poles for stability
You might encounter others on the trail. Smile, greet, repeat! If you’re snow-shoeing, remember that uphill travelers have the right of way; downhill travelers should step aside. If you stop for a snack or to adjust your gear, step off the trail and make room for others to pass by
If snowshoeing, avoid wandering around in deep snow without your snowshoes on; you could inadvertently cause a deep hole that could be dangerous for others.
Most importantly, have fun! We consider ourselves very lucky to be here in the midst of the Bayfield Peninsula’s winter wonderland. You might find some interesting tracks, or see “snow fireworks” when a breeze lifts snow off a limb and lets the flakes come down lit by the sun. And is that a chickadee’s greeting? Enjoy!