Big Ravine Trail Distance: 1.8-2.45 miles Trail Difficulty: Moderate to Difficult Owned/managed by the Town & City of Bayfield Map
In September 2014, Bayfield Regional Conservancy expanded its protection of Bayfield's Big Ravine by 40 acres at the top of the Big Ravine. Thank you very much to Donald Olson and Evan Nelson (and his late wife Betty (Olson) Nelson (sellers) and WI DNR Knowles Nelson Stewardship Program and Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Funding through US Fish and Wildlife Service's Joint Venture Habitat Restoration and Protection Program (funders) for helping to make this possible.
In 2016, BRC will convey these 40 acres to the Town of Bayfield with a conservation easement on the property to protect it forever. A draft management plan has been created for the property. BRC also hopes to work with private landowners on the eastern side of the ravine to provide trail access. To date, BRC has worked in collaboration with the City of Bayfield and Town of Bayfield to protect almost 200 acres of habitats in the Big Ravine. We invite you to explore the Big Ravine and enjoy a number of scenic overlooks along the way!
Adjacent to the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore and the City of Bayfield, the Big Ravine forest is of extreme ecological importance, particularly to migratory birds. The primary focus of acquiring 40 acres at the top of the ravine is to further protect un-fragmented woodland habitat. Including both ravine and upland areas, the forests consist of mixed hardwood and conifer species such as oak, maple, birch, poplar, cedar, hemlock and pines as well as rarer plants like Canada yew. The Big Ravine Forest is home to deer, coyote, fox, snowshoe hare, bats, and many species of resident and migratory birds including woodpeckers, grouse and numerous songbirds. It’s a great stopping point for migratory birds in May and June. Through an established hiking trail along much of its western side, the Big Ravine is a favorite for local residents to hike, snowshoe, cross country ski, hunt, and trap, affording scenic overlooks and serving as an outdoor classroom for students of the adjacent Bayfield School.
Directions: From downtown Bayfield, follow 4th St. uphill to the Bayfield School. Turn left on Sweeny and park at the baseball field. The trail begins behind the outfield fence (on your right). There is also access off of Martin Rd. Geocache GC5ZP7J —N 46° 49.063, W 090° 49.422