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Horseshoe Bay Trail is a 6.4-mile (10.3 km) trail that enters and loops through the Horseshoe Bay Wilderness. The motor-vehicle trailhead, located just outside the wilderness, is 6 miles (9.7 km) north of St. Ignace, MI.
- 0.0 – Trailhead at Foley Creek Campground
- 1.1 – Lake Huron Shore (Trail Ends)
- 2.9 – First Point
- 3.2 – Second Point; Turnaround Point
- 6.4 – Trailhead
Only 1 mile from the parking area to Lake Huron, Horseshoe Bay Hiking Trail is a short hike suitable for carrying a daypack with picnic lunch to the beach. The beginning of the trail is located at the northern end of Foley Creek Campground, on the eastern side of the St. Ignace Ranger District. Park in either of the driveways next to the trailhead.
As you hike the trail, notice the northern white cedar lowlands. This ecosystem is typical of winter habitat used by white-tailed deer when snow is deep and temperatures are low. Watch for unique vegetation like “insect eating” pitcher plants. Morel mushrooms have also been found here.
At the lakeshore you’ll find a sandy beach at the water’s edge, but about 200 feet inland you can also find ponds typical of coastal wetlands. This habitat is preferred by great blue heron, shore birds, and many species of ducks
Probably the most attractive feature of this trail is the sandy and secluded Lake Huron beach to which it leads. This is one area where you can imagine what the early explorers might have seen as they paddled along the Lake Huron shores.
A few tips to the hiker include the following:
- Because some of the trail goes through low lying areas use of insect repellant is recommended.
- Watch for changing weather conditions which could increase hazards of hiking.
- This trail is for walking, no horses or motorized vehicles are allowed.
- Finally, please leave the trail as you would like to find it–litter free and without evidence of human presence.
This scenic, wooded camping area is home to white-tailed deer, raccoons, red squirrels, and many forest bird species. Local residents commonly use the campground roads for walking and outdoor exercising. Because of this regular “foot traffic,” deer have become accustomed to people and are often easy to observe up close.
Raccoons are common residents of many of Michigan’s natural areas. Though much smaller in size, these clever campsite raiders are closely related to bears.
The one-mile hiking trail begins at the north end of the campground and winds through a northern white cedar swamp on its way to a sandy beach on Lake Huron. This trail is wood-chipped and dry, offering a unique opportunity to walk “in” a typical northern white cedar swamp habitat, (normally full of deadfalls and thick vegetation), and experience its moist and cool microclimate, and see and hear the songbirds that live there. Bald eagles are sometimes seen perching in the tall white pines that face the shore. Waterfowl and great blue herons are common on Horseshoe Bay and on the small ponds adjacent to the hiking trail. The trail provides foot access to the 3,787-acre Horseshoe Bay Wilderness.
Portions of this area are open to public hunting. Contact the Michigan Department of Natural Resources for affected seasons and locations.
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