The Keweenaw’s largest lake lies several miles inland, nestled up against the rugged mountain range that shares its name. Both the lake and mountain sit far outside of the peninsula’s major travel routes offering a tranquil and secluded setting for the 100 acre Gratiot Lake Sanctuary. The Michigan Nature Association sanctuary sits along the southern face of a 400 foot bluff overlooking both Gratiot Lake and the lowlands bordering the peninsula’s east shore.
Traversing this rugged sanctuary is a mile-long trail which ascends through hardwood forests and over granite outcroppings on the way to a scenic overlook at the bluffs peak. The high bluff offers panoramic views of Gratiot Lake, the surrounding forest and even the blue waters of Lake Superior in the distance. Along the way to the peak, the trail offers views of the Eister Creek gorge and the cascading waterfall flowing within its narrow walls.
NOTES: This sanctuary This is a very difficult trail that rises some 400 feet in elevation to the top of the bluff. The trail is uphill for almost its entire length, at times ascending some very steep and rugged terrain. The trailhead is along a paved road. No camping, wheeled vehicles, or fires are permitted.
DIRECTIONS: From Phoenix head north along US41 for 4.2 miles until arriving at Central. Turn right onto Gratiot Lake Road and follow the road an additional 4.5 miles down the hill. After the hill turn left onto East Gratiot Road and follow it along the lake for a final mile. The trailhead sits half-hidden in the trees (but marked with a sign) on the left side of the road, just before the boat launch.
FOR MORE INFO: More information about the trail and sanctuary can be found at the Michigan Nature Association’s website.