Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine

Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine

Photo of State Natural Area © Thomas Meyer

Mawikwe Bay Cliffs in Bayfield County
© Thomas Meyer

June 2011

Wisconsin, naturally

Mawikwe Bay Cliffs

Notable: Spectacular sea caves, vaulted chambers, arches, pillars, and cliffs are the focal points of this newly designated unit of the Apostle Islands Maritime Cliffs State Natural Area located on the mainland portion of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. Lake Superior waves have sculpted these features from the erodible, reddish-brown Precambrian sandstone of the Devil's Island Formation, which originated 500 million years ago as river-deposited sands. Atop the cliffs grows a forest of red pine, white pine, paper birch, white cedar and balsam fir. Rare plants found here include the tiny bird's-eye primrose, fir clubmoss, and the state-endangered mountain cranberry.

How to get there: Within the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, Bayfield County. From the junction of Highways C and 13 in Cornucopia, go 4.3 miles northeast on 13 to Meyers Rd., then 0.4 mile north to a parking lot and the trailhead for the Lakeshore Trail. Walk northeast along the trail 1.2 miles to the cliffs. The cliffs and caves are also accessible by watercraft, and by walking across the ice in winter. Visit Apostle Islands Maritime Cliffs for maps and more information.