Ashland Harbor is the commercial hub of the Chequamegon Bay region, and it offers modern convenience with historic charm for visitors. Ashland Harbor has several popular beaches and is a stop on the Lake Superior Waterfront Trail. It is home to Copper Falls State Park, and Ashland Harbor is a great place to stay when visiting the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore.
Ashland Harbor has a humid continental climate with warm to hot summers and sometimes severely cold winters. Being near Lake Superior, Ashland Harbor sometimes experiences lake effect snow or rain. Temperatures in Ashland Harbor range from an average high of about 20°C (68°F) in July and August to an average low of less than -12°C (10°F) in January. Precipitation ranges from a low of less than 2.5 centimeters (one inch) in February to a high of 10.8 centimeters (4.25 inches) in July. Humidity levels in Ashland Harbor range from about 75% in April and May to about 88% in August and September. Snow comes to Ashland Harbor from early October through mid-May, peaking in January at 45.7 centimeters (18 inches).
Ashland Harbor's Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center is one of northern Wisconsin's best tourist attractions. Open every day throughout the year, the center offers a five-story observation tower and deck and a boardwalk nature trail. Visitors to this Ashland Harbor center will get a look at an 18th-Century fur trading post and hear songs of fur traders as they paddle a fur-laden 35-foot birch bark canoe across Lake Superior. Displays at the center illustrate human cultures in the Northern Great Lakes region from the Ice Age to modern times. This Ashland Harbor attraction has an objects theater offering stories of the native people and immigrants who trapped, fished, logged, farmed, and mined the country. An art gallery offers changing exhibits related to art, science, culture, and history. The center is open from 9am until 5pm daily.
Apostle Islands National Lakeshore covers over 28 hectares in the 21 Apostle Islands. Visitors to this Ashland Harbor attraction come to see natural habitats, old-growth forests, sandstone sea caves, and historic lighthouses. Boaters will find public docking facilities on many of the islands. Lake Superior offers great fishing for trout and salmon. Campers can choose from civilized sites with water, toilets, and food lockers and primitive campsites with tent pads and fire rings. Camping is available on 18 of the 21 islands, and reservations and permits can be obtained from the National Park Service. Hunting of game like grouse, black bear, and white-tail deer is allowed on some of the islands during some periods. Scuba divers can visit shipwrecks and interesting rock formations.
There are more lighthouses in the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore than in any other national park in the United States. One of the most popular is Sand Island Lighthouse, one of the first to be automated. Boats tour Raspberry Island from June to August, and Park Service volunteers provide information and support to visitors to the renovated lighthouse.
Ashland Harbor's Copper Falls State Park is a 1.2-hectare park with several waterfalls on the Bad River and Tylers Forks. Historically, old Copper Culture Indians and Europeans mined copper in the area. The North Country National Scenic Trail runs through this Ashland Harbor park. The park has two camping areas in secluded areas with 24 sites that have electrical hook-ups. One of the site is accessible for people with disabilities, and four sites are secluded walk-in areas. There are showers next to the south campground, and there is a dump station in the south camp area. Showers and the dump station are closed during the winter. There is also a group camp for up to 40 people. The park also has an accessible rustic cabin with electricity, lighting, a picnic table, and a fire ring. A flush toilet building is located about 61 meters (200 feet) from the cabin.
Visitors to this Ashland Harbor park will enjoy hiking on over 27 kilometers (17 miles) of trails that overlook the waterfalls. There are two one-way trails for mountain bikes that are used for skiing in the winter. The park has a 300-foot sand beach at Loon Lake open for swimming without a lifeguard. The Look Lake location also has a small launch for kayaks, canoes, and car-top boats. (Only electric motors are allowed on the lake.) Copper Falls has five acres open for picnicking with tables, grills, a concession stand, and a play area. Fisherman will find rainbow, brook, and brown trout at the Bad and Tyler Forks rivers and panfish, largemouth bass, and northern pike at Look Lake. During the hunting season, hunting and trapping are allowed in the park's open areas by permit.
During the winter, the Copper Falls State Park at Ashland Harbor has 22 kilometers (13.7 miles) of ski trail and 10.5 kilometers (6.5 miles) of skate ski trail. The trails will satisfy all levels of skiers, and they are groomed regularly. Two multi-use trails, the Red Granite Falls Trail and the Water Falls Winter Trail, are open year-round. Off-trail snowshoeing and winter hiking are allowed everywhere except the groomed ski trails.
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