Grand Island

Located in Lake Superior, about one half mile from the mainland community of Munising, Michigan.

And "grand" it is. Protecting Munising Bay, its the largest island on Lake Superior's south shore, and many feel, the most beautiful. A perfect spot for camping, mountain biking, hiking, fishing, skiing and snowmobiling.

A visit to Grand Island means a visit to a place rich in wild beauty, natural history and heritage. If you're interested in a unique day trip, a scenic mountain bike ride, or a week of camping at one of the nation's most spectacular sites, don't miss Grand Island!

Grand Island stretches north for 8 miles, from its southpoint at Williams Landing in Munising Bay to the north end at North Point. Only three miles across at its widest point, Grand lsland offers 35 miles of shoreline, encompassing over 13,500 acres of dense woodland, including several lakes. Rapid-flowing streams cut through the rugged hills, and massive 300 foot wave-cut sandstone cliffs. Beaches of fine sand, winter ice caves and historic buildings and artifacts dating back as far as 2,000 BC are just a few of its highlights.

Archeological investigations indicate that Grand Island has been inhabited for at least 3,300 years. In the 1660's, when the explorer priests arrived from France, the Ojibwa culture on Grand Island was already thriving.

Today, Grand Island is a Congressionally designated National Recreation Area (NRA). By definition, NRAS are special places whose natural features and heritage make them attractive settings for recreational pursuits. Grand Island clearly fits this description.

During the summer months, many recreation options are available. Visitors may access the island by means of a passenger ferry which travels to Grand Island's Williams Landing. The passenger ferry makes four trips daily and will ferry mountain bikes for an extra fee. The island's rough dirt roads are tailor-made for the wide tires of mountain bikes.

Trails designated for hiking and mountain biking allow visitors to select from shorter day-use routes or longer routes suitable for overnight visits. Most trails are dual use, although hiking only areas have also been designated.

At this time, camping opportunities range from random camping at undeveloped sites to primitive camping at designated sites along Murray Bay and Trout Bay. In the future, both the accessibility and variety of campsites may be expanded.

Hikers and mountain bikers are allowed to use all open roads and trails, but be aware that you must share some of the roads with vehicular traffic. All visitors must use care.

Drinking water is available at the hand pump at Murray Bay. You will probably want to bring water with you or filter/boil/treat surface water. There are toilets at Williams Bay, Trout Bay, and Murray Bay.

 

The summer water temperature of Lake Superior remains steady at 46 to 48 degrees, even in shallow bays. Prolonged exposure to these temperatures can lead to hypothermia. Conditions on Lake Superior change very rapidly and boaters are advised to monitor channel 16 on a ship-to-shore radio or listen to a NOAA weather radio. All visitors should be prepared to spend at least one extra day on the island and leave a travel plan with someone on shore.

Part of "The Thumb" is private property. Please respect the owners' privacy.

Grand Island is closed to rock climbing and rappelling as the cliffs are sandstone.

 

Getting to Grand Island

Visitors can get to the island via passenger ferry or private watercraft. The ferry departs from Grand Island Landing on the mainland, located on M-28, about 4 miles west of the blinking light. Look for the Grand Island NRA signs. For information or reservations, call 906-387-2600. Bike rentals available at the Ferry Dock.

Grand Island Ferry Service Schedule:
Friday of Memorial Day Weekend through June 30th and Labor Day through Oct. 9th
Tours at 9:00 am, 12 Noon, and 3:30 pm
July 1st-Labor Day
9:00am, 10:00am, 11:00am, 12:00 noon, 3:30pm, 4:30pm, 5:30pm, 6:30pm. (close at Noon July 4th)
Visitors may also take the ALTRAN - Grand Island 3 to 3 1/2 hour Bus Tour
Tours run from June 15 through October 5th.
Phone 906-387-4845 to make reservations for the Bus Tour.

Call the Grand Island Ferry Service at (906) 387-2600 for reservations and ticket information

* * * * * * * * *

Winter

Winter brings an awesome sight at Grand Island. Water seeping down from the top of the cliffs forms incredible ice formations and ice caves that can be seen when the ice bridge between Munising and Grand Island is safe. (Photos of Ice Caves).

Does Grand Island sound like your kind of vacation spot? As you plan your trip, the Hiawatha National Forest encourages you to request information specific to your recreational interests. Please call 906-387-2512 for current information.

For further information contact:
Hiawatha National Forest Visitor Center
Munising Ranger District
400 East Munising Avenue
Munising, Ml 49862
Phone: (906)387-3700

Map of Grand Island

 

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