Fisherman's Island State Park - South Shore, Charlevoix County (8-06-09) - dwhike
Looking north from my starting point at Whiskey Creek...

Very, very few people ever hear of Fisherman's Island State Park let alone stop by for a visit. Located south of the busy tourist town of Charlevoix the park houses no fudge shops which likely keeps it out of the spotlight with local visitors. As seldom visited as the developed northern end of the park is, the south end is simply ignored. Take myself, for example. I consider myself to be quite well-versed in the trails of northern Michigan. I've lived in the area for the better part of 20 years. Yet I never realized there was access to the southern part of the park until a few years ago and just realized recently that there are actual trails located there!

The southern half of Fisherman's Island State Park contains, in my estimation, the longest stretch of undeveloped shoreline between Wilderness State Park and Sleeping Bear Dunes...somewhere along the order of 3-4 miles! This might not sound like much but consider that 100' of lake frontage regularly sells for upwards of $1,000,000 in these parts and you start to realize what a treasure this is! The problem with enjoying this treasure is getting there. Once you find the south entrance north of Norwood Beach, the trail-road quickly becomes rough enough that only those with a HIGH CLEARANCE four-wheel-drive should attempt it. I set out during a particularly dry period and still had to contend with numerous, large mud pits along the way. The road abruptly dead-ends about two miles in at Whiskey Creek. From there I simply followed the shoreline north for a couple miles and then used the well-worn path just inland from the shore for the return. I spent the better part of three hours out there and saw nary a soul. Oh, and for you Petoskey stone lovers, you might be interested in what I found along the way...

Hike Length: 2.0 miles                  Hike Duration: 1:30

Trailhead Temp: 73'F                    Trail Traffic: None!

Min. Elevation: 575'                      Max. Elevation: 600'

Total Vertical Gain: 30'                 Avg. Elevation Gain / Mile:  15'

Directions to Trailhead:

-Head west on Norwood Road off US-31 about 8 miles south of Charlevoix or 3 miles north of Atwood.

-Follow Norwood Road 2 miles into the community of Norwood.

-Turn right on Lake Street and follow it 0.3 miles to its end and Lake Shore Drive goes right.

-Follow Lake Shore Drive north to where it ends at Whiskey Creek (NOTE: the last 2 miles of this road should not be attempted with anything other than a HIGH CLEARANCE 4-WHEEL DRIVE!)