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The forested two mile hiking trail at Monocle Lake Campground passes over a nice wetland boardwalk, runs along scenic Monocle Lake, and gives access to a high bluff overlook of Lake Superior and the Canadian shoreline several miles across the St. Marys River. The first 1,100 feet of the trail (which includes the wetland boardwalk) is fully accessible. The trail to the bluff overlook is steep and challenging.
The wetland boardwalk portion of the trail runs right along a beaver dam. These industrious animals actually used the boardwalk as part of their dam structure during its construction. Water levels in the wetland may fluctuate from year to year as the beaver colony comes and goes. Look for a beaver lodge in the wetland. The underwater entrances to these large stick and mud houses allow beavers to enter and leave with little exposure to predators. Waterfowl and great blue herons also may be seen using this wetland area in years when the beaver have helped keep the water levels up. Osprey frequently nest in the Monocle Lake area. Watch for ospreys (also called fish hawks) catching fish in the open water areas. The Iroquis Point Lighthouse is nearby on the Lake Superior shore. It is maintained by the Hiawatha National Forest (open May 15 to October 15) and has modern barrier free restrooms. Iroquis Point offers public access to the shoreline for wildlife viewing – a place to look for migrating birds that are following the coastline.
Portions of this area are open to public hunting. Contact the Michigan Department of Natural Resources for affected seasons and locations.
From Brimley, take Lakeshore Drive north about 6 miles to Monocle Lake Recreation Area on the left side of the road.
Ownership: U.S. Forest Service, Sault Ste. Marie Ranger District, (906) 635-5311
Size: 2 linear miles
Closest Town: Brimley
Monocle Lake is populated with walleye, smallmouth bass, pike and perch. Two man-made reefs lie just off the eastern shore next to the campground, where anglers typically have good luck.
Swimming and boating are popular activities in the area. Visitors also enjoy hiking the 14.5-mile Monocle Lake Trail. Two miles of the trail have interpretive displays, and the first 1100 feet of the trail are along an elevated, accessible boardwalk. Additional trails are found in the surrounding area.
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