The Bay de Noc/Grand Island Trail parallels the Whitefish River, starting from 1/2 to 2 miles east of the river. The trail follows the approximate location of an ancient Chippewa Indian portage route used to carry canoes and supplies between Lake Superior and Lake Michigan. Following the river bluff for a considerable distance, it offers hikers, bikers and horse riders many extended views to the west across the Whitefish River Valley.
The southern 1/4 of the trail winds along through jack pine, red pine, and aspen timber, interspersed with grassy openings. The terrain is fairly level, broken only by an occasional stream crossing. As the trail stretches northward through the maple, paper birch, and beech forest, the user encounters the typical glacial terrain characterized by short rounded hills scattered in random fashion. These hilly stretches are occasionally separated by one to five mile stretches of flat land supporting a pine and aspen forest.
ALERT (Partial Closure and Reroute): Effective immediately (9/2018), the Bay de Noc – Grand Island Trail is closed between the Little Gully Bridge and Big Gully Bridge. Both bridges are currently unsafe and will remain closed until repairs can be implemented. We have posted a 0.85 mile reroute using Forest Roads 2652 and 2010 to access County Road 509. For additional information, please contact the Rapid River Ranger District Office at 906-474-6442.
Length: 40 Miles
Type: Riding, Hiking, Biking
Terrain: Hills, woods, rivers
Camping: Yes! There are three large assembly areas for horses and hikers which consist of parking lot, tethering area, water well, and vault toilets. One such area is located at the south trail head, one at the Alger-Delta County Line and one along the north side of Highway M-94. These areas are also suitable for camping. The middle assembly area is better suited for camping than the others because of its large space and quiet location off of County Road 509. While water is available at the parking areas, it is suggested that you carry a drinking water supply with you. In order to be safe, all drinking water should be boiled or disinfected with Halazone.
The Bay de Noc/Grand Island Trail begins from a point 2 1/2 miles east of the town of Rapid River and one mile north of US Highway 2 and extends northward for approximately 40 miles terminating at its intersection with State Highway 94 at Ackerman Lake. The three main trail heads are:
Access A: South Trailhead: From Rapid River drive 2 miles east on US-2 to County Road 509. Turn left (southeast) on CR 509 and drive 0.6 mile, turn left (north) and continue 1 mile on CR 509 to the trailhead on the left. Parking lot is on the west side of the road. Trail goes north 22 miles to Access B.
Access B: Middle Trailhead: From Rapid River drive 2 miles east on US-2 to County Road 509. Turn left (southeast) on CR 509 and drive 0.6 mile, turn left (north) and continue 14.5 miles on CR509 to the trailhead on the right. Parking lot is on the east side of the road. Trail goes north 18 miles to Access C.
Access C: North Trailhead: From the intersection of M-28 and M-94 just south of Munising drive 9 miles southwest on M-94 to the trailhead on the north side of M-94. Parking lot is on north side of road opposite Ackerman Lake.
Horse riders be aware that hikers also use the trail. Be cautious when approaching others. Camping permits are not required; however, competitive events such as group races require a permit in advance. In order to protect the lakes or streams from contamination, please tether your horse at least 100 feet from the water’s edge. At campsites, make sure temporary hitch rails are dismantled manure piles are scattered to aid decomposition, discourage flies, and as a courtesy to others.