Apostle Islands Base Camp, Kayak, and Yoga
Yoga, Sea Kayak, Hike, the Apostle Islands
Refresh and renew amidst the astounding beauty of Bayfield Peninsula. Morning and evening yoga sessions frame the days of paddling through sea caves, hiking trails to waterfalls, and enjoying Lake Superior’s sandy beaches. Guided by a certified yoga instructor, you’ll move through a combination of yoga series and postures created to rejuvenate body, mind, and soul. No yoga experience is necessary.
DAY 1: Your trip starts in early afternoon at Wilderness Inquiry's Little Sand Bay Base Camp. Get settled into your campsite, participate in a sea kayak orientation, and begin to explore this area's beautiful hemlock and cedar trees. Return to camp and enjoy a hearty meal cooked campside. After dinner, head down to the lake for sunset yoga on the beach.
DAY 2: Start the day with a yoga session followed by breakfast and hot coffee. Depending on the direction of the wind, explore the spectacular Mawikwe Bay sea caves or head to Red Cliff to explore Buffalo Bay and paddle among shipwrecks from long ago. Stretch your legs on a hike to a waterfall after a picnic lunch. Enjoy an evening yoga session before dinner together.
DAY 3: After breakfast and yoga, paddle out to Sand Island. Visit sea caves and the historic lighthouse on the northeast shore of Sand Island. Weather permitting, paddle in and out of the caves' sculpted rock chambers. After a picnic lunch on a sandy beach, we’ll hike up to the historic lighthouse. Enjoy one last night at base camp with yoga followed by great food and good company sharing stories over a toasty fire.
DAY 4: Enjoy one last morning yoga session and breakfast with new friends. Head out on a paddle or hike and depart for home after a picnic lunch.
NOTE: Sea kayaking is incredibly weather dependent. In the chance of high winds or heavy rains you may enjoy various mainland hikes or other local activities in replace of kayaking
What To Expect
TERRAIN/ROUTE CHOICES: The islands are made up of red sandstone, covered with a mixed forest of birch, pine, oak, and maple. Except for a few cliffs, the terrain is gentle and rolling. Wind and weather largely determine the actives. Wind and weather largely determine the route, and storms may delay paddling.
TYPE OF TRAVEL/DISTANCE: No previous kayak or yoga experience is needed to complete this trip. Multiple yoga sessions will be offered each day. An average day's travel consists of 3-5 paddling hours, depending on weather conditions. You will paddle in 21-foot Grand San Juan sea kayaks, which hold 2 or 3 people plus all necessary gear. We always need to be prepared for the possibility of a wind bound day. We will provide other activities if weather prevents paddling. Travel distances vary from 4-10 miles each day. To protect the environment, WI uses Leave No Trace camping and travel techniques. On some days, we may travel by van or car to local farms.
WEATHER: Temperatures in the summer months range from 45 F to 85 F. Rainfall can vary, but you should expect at least one day of rain. Weather in the area is strongly influenced by Lake Superior and can change suddenly.
ACCOMMODATIONS: You will enjoy your stay at our Little Sand Bay Base Camp. At night you will sleep in a comfortable tent on a platform. Typically, there are 3 people per 4-person tent (other arrangements can be made). Bathroom facilities consist of beautiful and clean composting toilets. We have great shower facilities at Little Sand Bay.
YOUR GROUP: The group size ranges from 10 to 18 participants, plus 2 or more Wilderness Inquiry guides. Each group consists of people of various ages, backgrounds and abilities, including people with disabilities. Our trips are cooperative in nature. WI staff will assist you in whatever areas you need, however most people pitch in where they can.
EQUIPMENT AND CLOTHING: If you are new to outdoor activities, you need not spend a lot of money on gear. Wilderness Inquiry will provide all necessary kayaking and camping equipment. All you need to provide is your personal gear, such as clothing and a sleeping bag. A detailed equipment list will be sent to you upon confirmation of your participation. If you need to borrow personal gear, that can be arranged at no additional fee.A note about the itinerary: Our trips are real adventures in the outdoors. While we'll make every effort to follow the itinerary listed here, elements may change due to weather or reasons beyond our control.
Our Little Sand Bay Base Camp is immediately adjacent to the Apostle Islands on the South Shore of Lake Superior. This area is an enticing mix of rolling hills, sandstone cliffs, sand beaches and a 22 island archipelago covered with a beautiful mix of northern hardwood and boreal forest and laced with streams, waterfalls, and wetlands.
The Apostle Islands National Lakeshore lies in the northwestern Wisconsin waters of Lake Superior, the largest freshwater lake in the world. The town of Bayfield, Wisconsin, is the jumping off point for your adventure in the Apostles.
The unique geological features, rich cultural heritage, and diverse ecological system of the Apostle Islands have attracted visitors for centuries. One story says that early Jesuit missionaries, believing that there were only 12 islands in this 22-island archipelago, named the region after the twelve apostles in the Bible.
The history of Apostle Islands National Lakeshore predates these missionaries by eons, however, as the region’s bedrock can be traced to Precambrian times. Nearly a billion years ago, sand and silt were deposited in this region via northwesterly flowing streams and rivers. Under the weight of additional layers, the sediment slowly compacted and began to bond together.
These layers eventually experienced tremendous pressure as the ice age began and glaciers thousands of feet thick covered the forming sedimentary rock. The cycle of advancing and receding glaciers continued to shape the Apostles landscape until 10,000 years ago when the last of the glaciers finally receded. Although the glacial activity formed much of what we see today, other dynamic processes continue as differential erosion alters the islands’ beautiful sandstone arches, pillars, and caves.
These geologic wonders are partly responsible for attracting the native inhabitants and present day visitors. The Anishinabe (also called Ojibwe, or Chippewa) were the most recent native people to inhabit the islands. Hunting, fishing, and maple sugaring provided food and supplies, and were eventually traded with the Europeans. During the mid-1800s the islands’ resources attracted European settlers and for 80 years these resources were seriously exploited. Brownstone was quarried and used to construct buildings and lighthouses, some of the forests were cleared and turned into farmlands, commercial fishing increased, and mills and mines were established.
By the time of the Great Depression in the 1930s, the islands’ natural resources were scarce. While unfortunate for the people of the United States, the Depression saved the archipelago as it all but stopped development of the islands.
Congress designated the Apostles as a National Lakeshore in 1970; in 2004, Congress further designated 80% of the Apostles as the Gaylord Nelson Wilderness, named after Wisconsin’s great conservationist and former Governor and U.S. Senator. The Apostle Islands National Lakeshore encompasses 69,372 acres, of which 27,323 acres are submerged lands in Lake Superior. The National Lakeshore includes 21 of the 22 islands in the archipelago, plus a 12-mile-long narrow strip of mainland shoreline. The islands range in size from Stockton Island at 10, 054 acres to the tiny 3-acre Gull Island.
Visitors can find a variety of scenic features on the islands. These include pristine stretches of sand beaches and coves; spectacular sea caves; some of the largest stands of remnant old-growth forests in the upper Midwest; a diverse population of birds, mammals, amphibians, and fish; and the largest collection of national register lighthouses and lighthouse complexes in the entire national park system.
Today, the National Park Service manages the Apostles Islands. The rare combination of remote but accessible scenery, geography, and both open and protected waters affords unparalleled freshwater sailing, boating, sea kayaking, and fishing opportunities. Ecological succession has returned this system to a natural balance and visitors enjoy abundant wildlife, heavily forested islands, beaches, and geologic wonders worthy of the Park Service’s protection.
Frequently Asked Questions:
What is your cancellation/refund policy?
Your 10% deposit is non-refundable. If you choose to cancel your trip:
For trips in the continental United States:
• 6 weeks prior to start date — we will refund fees paid minus deposit.
• Less than 6 weeks — we will refund 50% of the total trip fee, or 100% of fees paid can be transferred to a future trip.
• Less than 1 week— no refunds will be issued.
For trips outside the continental United States:
• 12 weeks prior to start date— we will refund fees paid minus deposit.
• Less than 12 weeks — we will refund 50% of the total trip fee, or 100% of fees paid can be transferred to a future trip.
• Less than 2 weeks — no refunds will be issued.
In the rare event that WI cancels a trip, or we are unable to serve you, all fees are immediately refunded, including the deposit. Unfortunately, we cannot be responsible for personal expenses such as airline tickets. To protect your investment in your travel plans we recommend purchasing travel insurance. Information on travel insurance is included in your trip confirmation packet. If after registering you wish to switch trips, you may do so subject to availability. Fees may apply.
Under certain circumstances, such as death of a family member, change in health status, loss of employment, etc., we may make exceptions to our refund policies. Please let us know immediately if your plans change!
Some of the trip information on your website is different than the trip catalog. Why?
WI typically creates and prints our annual trip catalog in December. At that time we do our best to have finalized trip itineraries and set our prices accordingly. However, sometimes there are changes to a trip that necessitate adjustments to our prices after the catalog has gone to print.
What is the base camp like on the Apostle Islands trips?
We refer to our property as the Little Sand Bay Base Camp. The camp is approximately 1,500 feet from the Lake Superior lakeshore near Little Sand Bay in Northern Wisconsin. Our base camp offers camping at its most comfortable and accessible. All tents are large enough to stand upright, and are set up on comfortable wooden platforms. Hot showers, private bathrooms, a roofed pavilion space, and an indoor seating area for leisure time are other key features. The camp consists of 40 acres of woods with wood chip trails, 5 campsites, and a gear warehouse. Watch this short video to see what it is like.
On which Apostle Islands trips do we camp on the islands?
The Apostle Islands Kayak Island Camping trip is the only trip where you actually set up camp and sleep on the islands. If you have a private group that would like to customize an island camping experience, we can likely accommodate.
During all other Apostle Islands trips, participants stay at our Little Sand Bay Base Camp, located on the main land approximately 0.5 miles from the Lake Superior Shoreline. Kayak trips on Lake Superior are organized on most days, in which you will explore the sea caves and other highlights of the Apostle Islands area. All activities depend upon safe weather conditions.
Will I get to see the sea caves on my Apostle Islands trip?
The sea caves are the most popular feature of the Apostle Islands area - and with good reason! It is our intention to explore the caves by kayak at least once during every trip. This is dependent upon safe paddling conditions on Lake Superior, as safety is always our top priority. On a clear day, we should be able to paddle to the sea caves and even travel through the insides of the caves by kayak.
Do I need previous kayak experience to join a trip in the Apostle Islands?
Paddling trips with WI are appropriate for beginners and seasoned paddlers alike. On the first day of all trips, basic paddling strokes will be taught by the trip leader. Each trip gives participants multiple opportunities to practice their skills. Participants with more experience will have plenty of opportunity to paddle during the trip, and even to help teach less experienced paddlers!
Does this trip have electricity for my CPAP machine, phone, camera or other electronic device?
Yes, this trip has electricity. Please indicate on your registration form that you need electricity and we will be sure to accommodate your need to the best of our abilities. If this is an international trip please check if you need an international adapter for your electronics. You can find more information on international plug ins here: https://www.worldstandards.eu/electricity/plugs-and-sockets/
For more information, visit these links:
Standard Meeting Places and Times
Start: Little Sand Bay Base Camp at 1:30 PM (local time)
End: Little Sand Bay Base Camp at 1:30 PM (local time)
Most people meet us at our Little Sand Bay base camp near Bayfield, WI, where parking is available. Van transportation between Minneapolis or Duluth and Little Sand Bay is typically not available. Detailed meeting place directions will be sent to you when you are confirmed for the trip. Call us at 612-676-9400 if you have questions.