Mention Door County to a mid-westerner and her first response is likely to involve the amazing scenery – shoreline, bluffs, lighthouses, beautiful forests. But only winter visitors get to see the spectacular ice formations that Lake Michigan and Green Bay give us. Last winter we all heard about the Lake Superior ice caves. Door County has its own answer to those. And while, arguably, less dramatic, they are beautiful, numerous and observable from shore.
One of the most reliable places to witness these dramatic sculptures of nature is the shoreline below Door Bluff Headlands County Park. This park occupies the extreme northeast point of land on the Peninsula. Be aware that getting to the shore from the parking area requires a bit of a scramble down the “stair steps” of the escarpment to the ice below.
Another spot that offers great winter ice is Door County’s most popular lighthouse, Cana Island. The table rock shoals surrounding the island work together with Lake Michigan winds to stack and accumulate slabs of ice that are then enhanced by the spray off the Lake. The natural thawing/freezing cycles further shape the assemblages into fantastic forms.
More ice sculptures can be found along the miles of shoreline off Peninsula State Park. Towers of ice often build near Welckers Point or Horseshoe Island – the latter observable from Eagle Tower. A fascinating aspect of Door County’s shore ice is the cobalt blue glow that seems to emanate from within – almost as if they contain a powered light source.