Tag Archives: Great Lakes

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore: Miner’s Beach, Miner’s Falls and the Famous Castle Rock

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is an amazing free public park located in Michgan’s Upper Peninsula on the Lake Superior shores. Every place we went we drove and hiked for free! Each area of the park we visted had plenty of parking, bathrooms (most with running water), and even drinking fountains. Many of the parks that sat along the lakeshore had picnic tables, fire pits and also small charcoal grills. We could have easily set up a small picnic for the day and grilled out at the beach as opposed to paying to eat at that restaurant. (I should have read the reviews.)

When we were in Munising, we stopped at this little kitschy joint to have a bite to eat called the Dogpatch. From the outside it looked a little cutesy, but I thought it had potential. Inside was a bored unfriendly waitress and an equally lackluster serve yourself soup and salad bar. The salad fixings were appropriately fresh though. The sandwich menu descriptions required more imagination to write than concocting the actual ingredients for the sandwich. Either way, it was a satisfactory simple meal. Nothing to write home about.

We continued on M-58 until we reached Miners Castle Road. There we turned in and stopped to take a picture at the parks enterence. It’s something that typical tourists do and we can’t resist when we’re out and about. 🙂

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore Michigan
Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore Michigan

 

First place we went was to the very end of the road where the actual famed Castle Rock point juts out over Lake Superior. The different colors blue and green of the fresh lakewater and the layers of different minerals that make up the browns in the cliffs are amazing.

Castle Rock Pictured Rocks Lake Superior Michigan
Castle Rock Pictured Rocks Lake Superior Michigan

From the peaks of Castle Rock, we could actually see the creamy off white sands of Miner’s Beach. After exploring the trails near Castle Rock we drove down to Miner’s Beach on the road – If we had more time, we could have hiked the trail down. The beach sand is soft and creamy, yellowish white. It has pretty big grains and the edges of the water in some areas are covered in fine ground colorful little stones. Reds, whites, black, blue, pink and even green can be found in the small gems long the watershed.

After spending enough time realizing that Lake Superior is just a bit too icey cold for me to swim in these days. We got back in the car and drove over to the Miner’s Falls. There’s about a 1/2 mile hike into the woods to get to the falls. The hike is nice and marked by several identifiers that match a map of the area showing local fauna and flora. Once we got to the falls, the mosquitos had the better of us. We only took a couple photos and hightailed it back out to the trailhead and our car.

Cold Lake Superior Unsalted
Cold Lake Superior Unsalted
Miner's Falls Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore Michigan
Miner's Falls Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore Michigan

Later in this Pure Michigan inspired blog series I’ll talk about the hike along the beach between Hurricaine River and the Au Sable Lighthouse.

Off to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula

I’m feeling pretty spoiled these days. When I grew up in Michigan my favorite time of year was summer. Specifically, June, July, August and even September.  When I was a child, we would spend any warm, sunny days at the lake, camping, hanging around outside or enjoying a nice hike. There are plenty of State Parks and beautiful beaches all across our state.  The end all be all warm weather activity is swimming. I liken myself to a fish and require a great deal of interaction with water for sustainability. I actually prefer the fresh, unsalted water… but as you may have already noted in previous posts, I will swim in almost anything.

Ever since I started the cruise ship job, we have been missing out a bit on the whole summer party action at home. Not complaining about all of the wonderful locations we have been visiting. I just miss summertime in Michigan.  This year, we had two different weddings in our families in June. We requested vacation during the summer to attend. Now, we are so excited to have the summer at home in Michigan.

First we made plans and picked some key destinations. It helps that my family, friends or relatives are located on each of the Great Lakes. We knew it would be so nice to be on the water. I was particularly excited because one wedding took us to Cleveland sitting on Lake Erie and the other took place in Marquette on Lake Superior.

One of my families absolute favorite places to spend time in the summer is the Upper Peninsula. It’s pretty sparce, but breath-takingly beautiful.  Jake read somewhere that the UP holds 1/3 of Michigan’s population, which is around 10MM so they have about 300K residents. Trust me, they have way more trees than people… Similar to the problem the folks in New Zealand have with their sheep.

Royal Oak to Marquette Michigan
Royal Oak to Marquette Michigan

We spent Friday in the car driving the 8+ hour drive from Royal Oak (near Detroit) all the way North on I-75, across the Mackinac Bridge, over West and North again to finally arrive at our destination of Marquette, Michigan on the Southern shores of Lake Superior.

I remember camping in the Porcupine Mountains, near Pictured Rocks, somewhere on the Two-Heart River and also off the very Eastern tip of the UP coast. Each place holds some natural wonder, a beautiful sandy or rocky beach, cliffs overlooking vast expanses of clear blue water. Since we were heading up to Marquette, I decided we should spend an extra day or so jaunting around to some of the old family haunts. I know it would make my Great Grandma Paul proud to see me visiting my roots and getting in touch with my inner ten year old.

Summer in Michigan

Join Jake Tobias, Melissa Behring and a host of friends as they travel around Michigan in June. They go on a pontoon boat through the Inland Waterway, from Indian River to Mullet Lake, Cheyboygan, Petoskey, and Charlevoix. They go over the Mackinac Bridge, bike Mackinac Island, Harbor Springs, eat Polish cuisine at Legs Inn, Cross Village, Goodheart. They attack the Upper Peninsula, Marquette, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Lake Superior, Lake Michigan, Lake Huron, Miners Beach, Castle Rock, the Au Sable Light House, Tahquamenon Falls, Paradis and Newberry. Plus they cruise Woodward from Downtown Detroit, Comerica Park, the Hard Rock Cafe Detroit, Cliff Bells, to Gusoline Alley, the Royal Oak Brewery and so much more.

 

Indian River Inland Waterway Michigan
Indian River Inland Waterway Michigan
Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw Museum
Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw Museum
Lake Superior
Lake Superior