Grand Island Trails

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Trail Type:

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Trail Distance:

43 Miles with many loops ranging from 7 miles to 23 miles long.

Grand Island is located in Lake Superior, about one-half mile from the mainland community of Munising, Michigan. Munising is about 43 miles from Marquette and 55 miles from Manistique. The island’s scenic natural beauty and interesting history make it an attractive place for camping and other outdoor activities.

Hiking & Mountain Biking Hiking and mountain biking trails provide wonderful opportunities for day trips and give access via unsurfaced trails to some of the island’s most spectacular scenery.

If you are traveling to and from the island on the passenger ferry, it is important to keep the ferry schedule in mind as you plan your time on the island. There are trips daily, so plan on spending at least 3 hours on the island. Consider your level of fitness and your pace as you make route choices. For instance, a family planning a full day of biking on the island can take a leisurely pace and travel up the southwest shore road, cut across the island to Trout Bay Overlook, travel down to Trout Bay Day Use for a picnic meal and beach walk, and finish the day biking down along Murray Bay to Williams Landing. On the other hand, reasonably fit individuals can mountain bike the 23-mile perimeter trail around the main island in a full day, with time for brief stops and some exploration. Whether hiking or bicycling, the key is to know your pace and keep track of the time.

NOTE: The bridge across North Light Creek at the far north end of the island is washing out and is not safe to cross.

Currently, hiking-only trails have not been designated, however the Thumb’s travel ways are reserved for hiking-only use. In addition, there are many hiking/biking opportunities along the island’s perimeter as well as its interior, providing a relatively secluded setting for hikers seeking a measure of solitude.

Most of the hiking/mountain biking opportunities, though not officially designated, lie on old roadbeds, cross a variety of terrain and provide shoreline view. Bicycling off roads and trails is not allowed. Please respect private property signs.

Where Can I Travel? Roads and trails on the island are currently maintained to low standards and some are in hazardous condition due to washouts, fallen trees, etc. At this time, hikers and mountain bikers are allowed to use all open roads and trails, but be aware that you must share some of the roads with vehicle traffic. All visitors must use care.

Refer to the attached map which shows routes available for motor vehicle travel. Use of motor vehicles off these routes is prohibited. Be aware that you may encounter island residents using vehicles year-round to access their homes. During the times when vehicle travel is allowed, access to Grand Island may be possible via the Forest Service tug and barge. For more information, see Getting to the Island & Island Tours.

Leave No Trace Techniques In addition to following the campsite rules mentioned above, there are other practices that can help you reduce your impact on Grand Island’s resources. Visitors should follow the “pack-it-in/pack-it-out” method, everything you carry onto the island you should carry off with you, including garbage. Firewood should be gathered ONLY from down material–never cut standing trees, (dead or alive), and avoid peeling bark, carving into trees, building “furniture” or leaving other signs of your visit. And always try to leave sites cleaner than you found them.

Bears If you are both observant and lucky you may be able to see a black bear during your visit. These are wild animals and are NOT to be harassed or fed. Once bears become accustomed to human food, they become a nuisance and a threat to your safety. Hang food packs at least 10 feet off the ground and 4 feet away from tree trunks. Never keep food in or near your tent. Bear poles are provided at most campsites.

Drinking Water Drinking water is available at the hand pump at Murray Bay. If traveling elsewhere on the island, bring water with you or filter/boil/treat surface water. Keep soaps and detergents out of lakes and streams. Wash dishes and clothes in a pot and dispose of the waste water in a hole at least 100 feet from the nearest water supply. Bathe in a similar manner.

Restrooms Public toilets are located at Williams Landing, Trout Bay and Murray Bay. In other areas of the island, dig a small 6-inch deep hole, at least 100 feet from the nearest water source, and cover after use. Please bury or pack out your toilet paper.

Bugs The mosquitoes and black flies can be very bad from Mid-May to mid-July. Be sure to bring plenty of insect repellant and even a head net during those months.

Safety Summer water temperature of Lake Superior remains steady at 46-48 degrees, even in shallow bays. Prolonged exposure to these temperatures can lead to hypothermia. Conditions on Lake Superior change very rapidly and boaters are advised to monitor channel 16 on a ship-to-shore radio or listen to a NOAA weather radio. All visitors should be prepared to spend at least one extra day on the island and leave a travel plan with someone on shore.

Avoid climbing on or standing along the sandstone cliffs. The stone is very fragile and may not support your weight. Grand Island is closed to rock climbing, rappelling and portable generators. Also, keep in mind that domestic animals must be kept on a leash, except while being used for hunting.

Visitors can get to the island via passenger ferry or private watercraft. The ferry departs from Grand Island Landing on the mainland, located on M-28, about 3 to 4 miles west of the Munising’s blinking light. Look for the Grand Island NRA signs.

Accessible toilets are available at Powell Point, Williams Landing, Murray Bay and Trout Bay.

For those campers who choose to travel to the island in private watercraft, several options are available. The dock at Williams Landing is available for loading and unloading only, but not for unattended watercraft, as it must be kept open for public transportation ferries. At Williams Landing, boats may be pulled ashore except where signs prohibit doing so. Motorboats often moor in the island’s bays. Personal water craft (Jet skis) are not allowed on the island.

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