The Lake Bailey Sanctuary encompasses over 400 acres of rugged highlands along the peninsula’s rocky spine in the shadow of neighboring Mt. Baldy. The sanctuary includes a remarkably diverse collection of landscapes and forest types from moss draped cedar swamps to spacious high canopied oak forests. Traversing this eclectic collection is a two mile long trail that crawls its way up several hundred feet of elevation to a remote scenic vista that not only overlooks the Keweenaw’s wild interior but also serves as a great spot from which to watch the annual spring raptor migration.
That rugged and narrow trail starts off innocently enough, strolling through the fairyland like setting of a moss covered cedar swamp littered with a tangle of fallen trees before starting its long and relentless ascent up the Keweenaw’s rugged spine. As it climbs, the forest tangles further and the trail becomes decidedly more rocky. From time to time the forest opens up to provide scenic glimpses out towards Lake Superior and the occasional refreshing breeze. After finally reaching the top of the bluff, the trail suddenly opens up to a rather spacious deciduous forest blanketed with a thick layer of auburn leaves. Here the trail is wide and level, making a rather gentle trek out to the edge of a rocky bluff overlooking the Silver River valley below. After its scenic layover, the trail loops back around on itself before heading back down the steep hillside.
NOTES: While the first and last legs of the trail is relatively calm and easy going, the second leg is far more difficult thanks to a steep and rugged 400 foot climb up to the top of the bluff. Loose rocks and exposed roots can be found all along the route, but are exceptionally problematic along the trail’s steeper portions. During wet seasons the lower sections of the trail can be quite damp if not flooded entirely. A decent amount of parking is provided at the trailhead.
DIRECTIONS: From Eagle Harbor, follow east along M26 for about 4 miles, a half mile past the Lake Bailey boat launch. The parking area will be on the right side, just off the road. The trailhead will be marked by a sign at the west end of the parking area.