Apostle Islands National Lakeshore: Lakeshore Trail

Meyers Beach photographed 07/23/2012 at Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, Wisconsin.

While on our way to Voyageurs National Park earlier this week, my wife and I made a half-day stop at Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. This park encompasses 21 islands and twelve miles of mainland coast on the Lake Superior shore of Wisconsin. With our limited time here, we opted to visit Meyers Beach and the mainland Lakeshore Trail.

Meyers Beach photographed 07/23/2012 at Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, Wisconsin.

From Meyers Beach the Lakeshore Trail heads east for about five miles to a primitive campground. Our destination was only about two miles up the trail to the sea caves found here. Along the way the trail meandered through a sampling of North Woods flora and fauna.

Bunchberry (Cornus canadensis, Cornaceae) photographed 07/23/2012 at Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, Wisconsin.

Bluebead (Clintonia borealis, Liliaceae) photographed 07/23/2012 at Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, Wisconsin.

Unknown aster photographed 07/23/2012 at Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, Wisconsin.

Unknown caterpillar photographed 07/23/2012 at Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, Wisconsin.

Stag beetle (Coleoptera: Lucanidae) photographed 07/23/2012 at Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, Wisconsin.

Unknown caterpillar photographed 07/23/2012 at Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, Wisconsin.

Before long we encountered a cliff warning sign and life preserver. These were sure indications that there was something interesting coming up:

Cliff warning and life preserver along the Lakeshore Trail. Photographed 07/23/2012 at Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, Wisconsin.

We then got our first glimpses of the sandstone cliffs along the shore of Lake Superior:

Cliffs along Lake Superior from the Lakeshore Trail. Photographed 07/23/2012 at Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, Wisconsin.

This sandstone is part of the Bayfield Group and was deposited here by braided streams about 600 million years ago. Subsequently buried by younger sediment, this area was then scoured by intermittent glaciation for the last few tens of thousands of years. After the last glaciers melted about 12,000 years ago, they left behind Lake Superior which then unleashed its relentless fury on these shores.

Lake Superior being not so furious on this day. Photographed 07/23/2012 at Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, Wisconsin.

Below the cliffs thousands of years of wave action had carved the sandstone into intricate shapes:

Carved sandstone along the Lake Superior shore. Photographed 07/23/2012 at Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, Wisconsin.

In places the ground gave way to fractures leading all the way down to the water:

Carved sandstone along the Lake Superior shore. Photographed 07/23/2012 at Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, Wisconsin.

Among these inlets were numerous caves carved by the waves:

Sea cave along the Lake Superior shore. Photographed 07/23/2012 at Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, Wisconsin.

Sea cave along the Lake Superior shore. Photographed 07/23/2012 at Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, Wisconsin.

At the end of our journey up this trail, we sat down for a few minutes to eat some granola and drink some water while taking in the views.

Carved sandstone along the Lake Superior Shore. Photographed 07/23/2012 at Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, Wisconsin.

After we headed back to our car and continued on our journey, I thought this would be a great place to spend more time. Sea kayaking along the shores of the islands to explore these cliffs and sea caves in greater detail would be really fun.

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About Jeremy Sell

Science and nature nerd.
This entry was posted in Botany, Entomology, Geology, National Parks and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Apostle Islands National Lakeshore: Lakeshore Trail

  1. Amanda says:

    I just posted earlier today on our trip to the Apostle Island Nat’l Lakeshore.. We ended up their rather unplanned about a month ago for a couple of days. I was googling some info just now – curious how deep that slot is, and came upon your post here. Great info! And similar sentiments.. we’d like to go back! We learned a lot in our short visit, so that we’ll be prepared when we return.
    http://ourfunwithfive.blogspot.com/2012/09/apostle-islands-national-lakeshore.html

    Like

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