Fisherman's Island State Park
Two things to know before visiting Fisherman's Island State Park; Michigan's state stone is not really a stone and Fisherman's Island isn’t really an island.
Petoskey stones, Michigan’s state stone, are actually petrified coral, leftover fragments of the many coral reefs that existed in the warm-water seas from Charlevoix to Alpena some 300 million years ago. Today beachcombing for the fossil with its honeycomb-like pattern is one of the favorite summer activities in Michigan and few places are popular among Petoskey hunters as Fisherman's Island State Park. The 2,678-acre park just southwest of Charlevoix features five miles of unspoiled Lake Michigan shoreline and a park road that provides easy access to most of it.
The road ends at the park’s day-use area where from the beach there is a view of Fisherman’s Island. Only it’s not an island anymore due to the lower lake levels in recent years. Now you can hike out to the islet, to search for Petoskey Stones if you want, and never have to worry about getting your feet wet. The state park also features 81 rustic campsites, including a dozen overlooking Lake Michigan and 3.5 miles of designated trails.
The lightly-used trails form a pair of inter-connecting semi-loops through the undeveloped interior of the park. Away from the shoreline, the park's terrain is made up of rolling "old dunes" covered with secondary growth maple, birch and aspen forest and broken up by bogs of cedar and black spruce. The upper portion of the system is often referred to as North Campground Loop and is open to mountain biking. The lower South Campground Loop is closed to off-road cycling. Together, along with a connector between them, the loops form a 3.2-mile hike from the day-use area to a trailhead along Bell’s Bay Road just east of the park entrance. Hiking back to your vehicle along the Park Road makes for a very scenic return and a 6-mile trek, the one described below.
The most scenic section of the trail is South Campground Loop. From the day-use area trailhead to South Campground is 1.1 miles or 2.1 miles with a return along the park road. The North Campground Loop with the Park Road segment is a 2-mile hike.
|Difficulty - Easy|