ALERT: As of 2/21 the Leelanau caves have been deemed UNSAFE by the Office of Emergency Management in Leelanau County. Call Leelanau Sherrif Department for current accessability: 231-256-8800.
Thousands of people have flocked to see the possible "once in a lifetime," spectacular ice formations and caves seven miles North of Leland. For several days cars have lined up on the side of Gill's Pier road, extending out along M-22, as people (and dogs) of all ages have made the long trek - averaging over an hour - in single to low digit temperatures, to see this natural phenomenon! The Leelanau county sheriffs department has assisted in directing traffic, and on Sunday a Coast Guard helicopter observed trekkers from above. Nearby residents deserve a big thank you for patience with the inconvenience of all the visitors, while local Leelanau businesses were pleasantly surprised to have the increased traffic during what is usually a quiet winter month.
It truly is an amazing experience - especially on the recent blue-sky, sunny days we've been experiencing. The atmosphere has been festive, as visitors bundled up in winter gear, pull children on sleds, snowshoe, or use ski and hiking poles to navigate the roads, trails and the bumpy, icy surface of Lake Michigan to reach the amazing ice banks. Climbing on ice has it's challenges, and should be approached with caution. Many visitors have lent each other a hand to reach 'the other side' of the great ice wall - which varies in surface and height - reaching up to 20+ feet. Once hikers have reached the wall of ice, many pose for incredible photos amongst the formations!
The Leland Chamber of Commerce would like to commemorate the amazing natural beauty of the Leelanau ice caves and formations with a photo contest! Please email or post your favorite ice cave or formation photo (taken by you), and our judges will pick ONE winning image. The winner will receive two tickets to the 2014 Leland Wine & Food Festival, and a 2014 Leland Wine & Food Festival poster. The deadline to submit your image is Friday, February 28 and the winner will be announced on Saturday, March 1, 2014. All photos will be shared in an album on our Facebook page. Email your image to firstname.lastname@example.org or 'Like' our Facebook page and post your image.