Stunning Bay City Blue Ice Suddenly Appeared!

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We were giddy to discover the shockingly beautiful blue ice that first appeared along the shoreline at Bay City State Park in Michigan.  I grabbed my camera, warm coat and hiking boots and excitedly headed out. Of course, the shoreline was packed with people but everyone was so excited and we engaged in lots of friendly chatter. It was definitely worth the trip!

We photographed even bluer ice at Mackinaw City in 2018. The ice was shockingly gorgeous!! 

Why is the Bay City Blue Ice....Blue?

Why is the ice blue?  Let's look to science: Apparently, it’s all about a lack of air bubbles, and how our eyes perceive the ice, according to a discussion at Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, where blue ice also can form near their famous ice caves.

“Ice only appears blue when it is sufficiently consolidated so that air bubbles do not interfere with the passage of light,” Apostle Islands staff explained in 2018. “Without the scattering effect of bubbles, light can penetrate ice undisturbed. In ice, the absorption of light at the red end of the spectrum is six times greater than at the blue end. Six feet into the ice, most of the light in the red spectrum can’t be seen. A lack of reflected red wavelengths produces the color blue in the human eye.”

Bay City Blue Ice Visit Tips

Bay City State Park: 3582 State Park Dr, Bay City, MI 48706


  • There is a entry fee to enter the park unless you have a Michigan State Park sticker.  
  • Snowpants and boots with traction are a very good idea as you will need to sit and scoot on the ice to maneuver as it is extremely slippery. 
  • There are restrooms at the park.
  • Try and park away from the trucks and trailers as they need room behind their trailers to load/unload their 4-wheelers, snowmobiles and such.  Just because they are parked doesn't mean they don't need to access the rear of their trailers.  Many times they will return throughout the day to unload fish and then return to their shanties far out on the ice to resume fishing. 
  • The ice is thick but areas can be thin. Avoid going out onto the flat ice on the lake.  
  • Definitely avoid putting your feet between the voids as the ice can shift and fall on your feet.

Fishing Shanties 

Not only were we enthralled with the incredible blue ice, but we learned how the ice fisherman transported their fish between their mile-out fishing shanties and the shore...4-wheelers and snowmobiles!!  It's an incredibly cool process to watch!

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