The Les Cheneaux Islands
The Northern Shore of Lake Huron was designated a “Last Great Place” by The Nature Conservancy, a global leader in natural lands conservation.
So it is no wonder that Aldo Leopold spent his summers in the Les Cheneaux region. The area is at the very heart of this “natural wonder of the world.”
Discover the outdoor world in the Les Cheneaux area at the following locations:
Accessible only by boat with the most comfortable access to the Aldo Leopold Preserve through Leopold Landing at Duck Bay. Trail signs are found for a roughly 1.25-mile trail loop close to Duck Bay, but you can go further up the island and preserve on old two tracks. Trails are not regularly maintained, and in many places, you will go through dense conifer forests with seasonally wet regions.
The large amounts of publicly accessible land and the impressive diversity of bird species who utilize Les Cheneaux Islands and the Eastern Upper Peninsula, make this area one of the most enjoyable birding trails in Michigan.
Les Cheneaux's 36 islands is one segment of the Lake Huron North Shore Water Trail that stretches from St. Ignace to DeTour Village. This area provides many sheltered channels and bays, marinas, nature preserves, camping, shopping, guides services, and dining, all within walking distance from the marinas.
Committed to improving, maintaining, and helping others enjoy the local trails, this volunteer group coordinates trail workdays and fun hikes throughout the year. Their website includes an interactive Google map with details about most local non-motorized trails and a sign up for notifications about upcoming events.
Les Cheneaux Islands Local Trails
One purpose of the Aldo Leopold Festival is to familiarize everyone with the many beautiful trails and preserves in the Les Cheneaux Area. The preserves with advanced courses are listed here. Please feel free to visit them at any time of the year. Your welcome packet includes a brochure entitled Trails and Nature Preserves – Les Cheneaux Region, which provides additional details and directions.
ALDO LEOPOLD NATURE PRESERVE
A 1,683-acre preserve on Marquette Island with 3.8 miles of Lake Huron shoreline and a Clark Township Landing access site located in Duck Bay.
BIRGE/MERTAUGH/NYE NATURE PRESERVE
This 528-acre complex features beautiful wildflowers, excellent migratory bird habitat, 1.5 miles of Lake Huron shoreline, and a 2.2-mile trail and scenic Loon Lake.
CARL A. GERSTACKER NATURE PRESERVE
A 1,615-acre preserve features 2.7 miles of hiking trails to Big and Little Trout Lakes, five miles of Lake Huron shoreline, and two small islands.
CRANBERRY LAKE TRAIL
A trail network includes an eight-mile multi-use trail that meanders through state forest lands and scenic Cranberry Lake.
SEARCH BAY NATURE PRESERVE
A 25-acre preserve includes 4,000 feet of Lake Huron shoreline adjoining the Hiawatha National Forest with several trails and camping options.
JOHN TREFRY TRAIL
A two-track road extends about a mile north of M-134 into maple woods and a mixed conifer swamp.
WILLIAM B. DERBY NATURE PRESERVE
This 200-acre preserve includes a three-mile figure-eight trail loop that meanders through rock gardens, forest, and the rugged Lake Huron shoreline.
JOHN ARTHUR WOOLLAM PRESERVE
A 186-acre preserve, including 4,300 feet of Lake Huron shoreline and 1.8 miles of trail leading to the Narnia Trail, is considered by many to be one of the most beautiful scenic trails in the area.