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Crow Lake & Big Knob Pathways

Trail Details

County
Mackinac
Regions
Eastern Upper Peninsula
Latitude
N 46° 03' 55.08"
Longitude
W 085° 35' 12.48"
Distance
0.5 miles to 2.5 miles
Trail Type
Foot path
Terrain
Forest dunes, wetlands, Crow Lake
Difficulty
Easy
Nearest City or Town
Nawbinway
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A “Big Knob” to climb, an assortment of trails to hike, and one of the most beautiful beaches along Lake Michigan. What more could a kid want in a campground? As for the parents, the best part of Big Knob recreation area in Lake Superior State Forest is the lack of crowds. There are three trails accessible from the state forest campground with the shortest trail being the 0.25-mile climb (0.5-mile round trip) to Big Knob, a high point on a forested sand dune. The posted trailhead is 2.5 miles north of the campground, right across the parking area from Crow Lake Pathway, the longest trail at 2.5 miles.
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Description
A “Big Knob” to climb, an assortment of trails to hike, and one of the most beautiful beaches along Lake Michigan. What more could a kid want in a campground? As for the parents, the best part of Big Knob recreation area in Lake Superior State Forest is the lack of crowds.

Maybe the facility fills up during the Fourth of July weekend, but the rest of the summer you can usually count on getting a site in the rustic campground. Arrive during the middle of the week or at the end of August to obtain a site just inside the towering pines along the Lake Michigan shoreline, where your tent will be only a few steps from the golden sand and light blue waters of Lake Michigan.

There are three trails accessible from the state forest campground with the shortest trail being the 0.25-mile climb (0.5-mile round trip) to Big Knob, a high point on a forested sand dune. The posted trailhead is 2.5 miles north of the campground (3.5 miles south of US-2 along Big Knob Road), right across the parking area from Crow Lake Pathway, the longest trail at 2.5 miles. Right at the campground is Marsh Lake Pathway, a 1.5-mile loop past a series of ponds and wetlands.
Amenities & Services
Camping
Difficulty - Easy
Dog Friendly
Trail Guide

Big Knob Pathway is basically a steady, but not overly exerting, climb to the viewing point, where there is a bench and a U.S. Geological Survey marker. Along the way are three sets of log stairways and a view of a small pond to the north. The trail ends at the top of Big Knob where you are greeted with a panorama of Knob Lake below and the marshland that surrounds it. It’s an excellent view, especially in spring and early fall when large flocks of Canada geese often use the lake as a staging area. You see them and hear them, and often the honking greets you before you even begin the hike.

Crow Lake Trail has three trailheads, including the first right across from Big Knob. It’s a 2.5-mile loop to walk the trail to Big Knob Road and then another half mile stroll to your vehicle. From the first trailhead, you begin with a steady climb to the top of a sand dune ridge and then follow the gently rolling contour of its crest. Within 0.3 mile you come to the posted junction with the second trailhead and then at Mile 0.7 a good view of Crow Lake.

After passing above the lake, the trail gently descends from the ridge and passes through open areas that feature an impressive growth of ferns. But if it’s August, examine the ground along the trail as this is blueberry country. At 1.3 miles, the trail passes the largest of several marsh areas.

You climb up and over a low dune ridge and then emerge at a rather interesting area. To the right are the small jack pine  of a former clear-cut, to the left a preserved stand of old white pines, some so large two people couldn’t connect their hands around them.

You reach an old logging road at at Mile 2.1 and follow it back to Big Knob Road. It’s a 0.5-mile walk up the road to the first trailhead.

Facilities

Big Knob Campground has a single loop of 23 rustic sites located in a stand of mature pines just off a beautiful Lake Michigan shoreline. Seven of the sites face Lake Michigan and have short paths leading through the trees right to the beach. For the most part the sites are best suited for tents and small trailers but a few will accommodate recreation vehicles up to 40 feet in length.  Facilities include tables, fire rings and vault toilets.

For day visitors, the campground has a small picnic area with a separate parking lot and a few tables.

Hours & Fees

Camping is $15 per night and reservations are not accepted.

Directions

Big Knob Recreation Area is 50 miles west of the Mackinac Bridge on US-2 and south 6 miles on Big Knob Road. The area is posted along US-2 as Big Knob State Forest Campground.

Information

For more information call the Newberry DNR Field Office at (906) 293-5131.

 


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