Ice Caves of Leelanau

IMPORTANT SAFETY UPDATE! The Leelanau County Sheriff’s Department has declared the ice caves on Lake Michigan unsafe!! The winds have moved the ice and there is now open water within feet of the caves, and the strong winds expected today and tomorrow will continue to push water and ice inland. There are also large cracks in the arches and they are expected to start collapsing soon.

mLive called out this incredible video by Tom Auch and George Meredith of the massive ice caves off the western shore of Leelanau County.

Getting to the formations is no easy task, he (Meredith) warned. Observers need to be careful about jagged terrain and ice alterations that could be dangerous. He suggested that some type of walking cleats are needed.

“You have to go out pretty far. That’s the rub,” he said. “You have ridges that you have to go around.”

Since news stations began reporting on the ice formations a couple of days ago, large numbers of people have come to see them.

“This is a once-in-a-decade natural beauty,” Meredith said. “Some of the caves literally have loft formations in them.”

They are located off Gills Pier about 7 miles north of Leelanau and the article includes a map. I feel compelled to add that Lake Michigan is deep, cold and dangerous so please use some common sense and buddy up!

5 replies
  1. cathy
    cathy says:

    Thanks for posting this! We tried to go out there today, but there were so many people and cars we couldn’t park unless we stayed out on M22, then hiked back in to the lake. So, if we don’t get a chance to try again tomorrow, at least we got to see your video. Beautiful!

  2. farlane
    farlane says:

    Go early, stay out of the caves and away from edges. Take a bib pole if you can and maybe a life vest.

    It will be warm and melting ice is shifting ice!

  3. linda hayward
    linda hayward says:

    We visited the ice caves this past weekend and they were Amazing!! We had to do alittle walking but it was well worth it! Thank you so much for sharing your video and directions on how to find them!!

  4. Kevin R
    Kevin R says:

    Does anyone know if the ice caves are still accessible? Or what the ice conditions are currently?

  5. farlane
    farlane says:

    The ice is definitely sketchy but it’s been cold the last few days and I have friends who were out last weekend on some big ice.

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