Cook County Blog

When Lake Superior Freezes - February in Cook County MN

Posted by Visit Cook County MN on 2/20/19 11:34 AM


On the North Shore, it isn't very often that Lake Superior freezes solid enough to explore. The ice is building and piling up all along the shore. It is a sight to behold, we recommend you start making plans to head north and explore this unique opportunity soon! 

Warning! While this phenomena is spectacular, be very careful if you choose to venture out onto the lake. Lake Superior is not a normal lake, it is by nature - Superior. Because of its vastness, conditions can change within minutes - yes MINUTES. The lake is actively moving and shifting to release the pressure from building ice (stand still on the shore for a minute and you'll soon hear the lake talking). Where smooth ice was yesterday, ridges of ice have bloomed overnight or the ice could be completely gone. Ice is never 100% safe, but according to the MN DNR Ice Safety guide a minimum of 4" clear ice is recommended before you explore. 

Be wary of following tracks on to the ice. For the reasons mentioned above, just because someone was there yesterday, does not mean it is safe today.  Never venture out alone. Take safety equipment with you like: ice picks and rope.  Also, pay close attention to where you step on the shoreline - residual ice can be lurking under the snow making for a treacherous walk down to the lake. Do the penguin shuffle, walk slowly and stay away from steep edges to avoid slipping. 

That said, with caution, this rare opportunity is incredible to behold! Here are a few highlights of ice adventures on the North Shore.

Ice Skating on Lake Superior outside of Naniboujou Lodge (conditions have changed since this video was posted on Sunday - ice no longer safe)

 February's Snow Moon Rising over Lake Superior

 Ice Sheet Sculptures on Lake Superior

  Looking for agates through the ice on Lake Superior


 Sheets of Ice Stacking on Lake Superior

 Catch the sunset through the ice

 Watch wildlife cross the ice, like the wolves crossing the ice outside of Lutsen Resort

 Clear as clear can be!


 The full moon rising over a frozen Lake Superior on February 19, 2019



Don't forget to check out the webcams in the area to see the current status of your favorite place.

View LIVE Webcams


Look at the ice then watch it shatter.  

Looking for agates and lake trout

Looking for agates through the ice


Topics: Winter, Lake Superior