Fisherman's Island State Park - South Shore, Charlevoix County (8-06-09) - dwhike
Lake Michigan Beach Walk

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...


Trailhead GPS Coordinates:  45.248191, -85.380824


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'