Destination: Devil's Island

June, 2023  |  Devil's Island | Apostle Islands National Lakeshore | Lake Superior Wisconsin

An Early Summer Overnighter on Devil's Island

A late start is better than not going at all, I reminded myself as I backed The Compromise out of her slip. It was 7:30pm, and I was leaving the Bayfield Marina with only slightly more than an hour of daylight remaining.

Older and perhaps a bit wiser, I had opted to wait out the line of thunderstorms that popped up across northern Wisconsin that evening. But now I was underway. Outbound up the West Channel.

My destination: Devil’s Island.

the rising moon lights the sandstone cliffs on devil's island

Moonlight peeks through a line of silhouetted trees perched atop an imposing sandstone cliff on east landing. It was fate that they should spring to life here, in a place where only mere inches of topsoil exist with which to put down roots. It is fate then too that the inevitable process of natural erosion will see The Lake claim them one by one.


It has become a tradition of sorts, I suppose, each time I’m on Devil’s Island. A now compulsory midnight hike across the island to the north end, where the cliffs and sea caves and lighthouse live. The edge of the universe, or so it seems on nights like this when moonlight paints all with its melancholy silver hue. When the endless blue of Lake Superior is ever so subtly transformed into an ethereal canvas of silver-grey, timeless and shimmering under the night sky.

the rugged sandstone cliffs on devil's island gently lit by the rising moon on an early summer night
The heavy shroud of darkness is pulled back under the rising moon, revealing a scene that is only vaguely familiar. In this moonlit dreamscape, soft contours, restrained light, and hushed murmurs in the sea caves below belies the rugged, broken truth that daylight will reveal.


It is a tradition worth keeping, I think.

An obligation on the mainland necessitated an early departure from Devil’s Island the next morning. She had an unwelcome parting gift in store for me – a NE breeze, 41f, and pea soup fog.

Yay, I guess?

Full disclosure and disclaimer: The Devil's Island campground and what little remains of the docks are closed due to storm damage with no timeline for repair. With the right wind, I'm able to anchor on the single bit of sand that remains in the harbor and then sleep onboard.

Questions about any and all things Apostle Islands? DM me on Instagram.


Posted in Trip Reports, Scenic.

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