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Isle Royale NP: Hatchet Lake Trail

Trail Details

County
Houghton
Regions
Western Upper Peninsula
Latitude
N 48° 02' 2.76"
Longitude
W 088° 50' 7.08"
Distance
2.6 miles
Trail Type
Foot path
Terrain
Greenstone and Minong Ridges
Difficulty
Moderate
Nearest City or Town
Houghton
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The 2.6-mile Hatchet Lake Trail connects the Greenstone Ridge with the Minong Ridge and is used by many hikers out of Windigo who want to walk only a portion of the rugged Minong Ridge Trail. It is also the side trail to reach Hatchet Lake Campground for backpackers following along the Greenstone Ridge.
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Description
The 2.6-mile Hatchet Lake Trail connects the Greenstone Ridge with the Minong Ridge and is used by many hikers out of Windigo who want to walk only a portion of the rugged Minong Ridge Trail. It is also the side trail to reach Hatchet Lake Campground for backpackers following along the Greenstone Ridge.

From the Greenstone Ridge Hatchet Lake Trail descends sharply to its namesake lake, reaching it in 0.3 miles and the campground in a half mile. From the junction to the campground the trail heads east and then north for a relatively moderate hike until it climbs the Minong Ridge at its north end.

From here you can hike to either Todd Harbor (1.4 miles) or Little Todd Harbor (5.3 miles) for the night. Before embarking for Little Todd Harbor, keep in mind that the Minong Ridge is a rugged trail where there is little water available.
Amenities & Services
Camping
Difficulty - Moderate
Foot Path
Trail Guide

The Hatchet Lake Trail is covered in detailed with maps in Isle Royale National Park: Foot Trails & Water Routes by Jim DuFresne. To order the 184-page guide to the Greenstone Ridge Trail and the rest of the wilderness island, Click Here.

Isle Royale Cover

Facilities

Hatchet Lake Campground is 0.5 mile from the junction of the Greenstone Ridge Trail. It's reached by first following the spur to Minong Ridge Trail and then heading west along the lake at a posted junction. The individual and groups sites are on a wooded hillside above the lake's south shore and have pit toilets.

Shower tokens, a clean towel, and a bar of soap can be purchased at the camp store at Rock Harbor or Windigo. Some backpackers like to book a room for their final night at Rock Harbor, either at the lodge or in one of the housekeeping units that can be shared by six people and feature small kitchenettes. For reservations, contact the park concessionaire, Forever Resorts (866-644-2003 or 906-337-4993 in summer; www.isleroyaleresort.com).

Hours & Fees

Isle Royale National Park opens April 16 and closes on Nov. 1 to all visitors for the winter.  The park has an entrance fee of $7 per person per day or an annual pass for $60. You can pay the entrance fee once you arrive at the park or in advance at pay.gov  and avoid congestion and long waits on the island. All park visitors who plan to camp overnight at campgrounds or cross-country sites are required to obtain a camping permit. This permit can be obtained free of charge at the visitor center at Windigo or Rock Harbor when you arrive or onboard Ranger III on the way to the Island.

Directions

To return to Rock Harbor from Windigo after hiking the Greenstone Ridge Trail many backpackers book passage on the Voyageur II. After arriving at Windigo from Minnesota, the ferry circumnavigates the island clockwise and overnights at Rock Harbor Lodge. The following day, it continues with possible stops at Daisy Farm, Chippewa Harbor Campground, Malone Bay Campground, and Windigo before returning to Grand Portage. The trip not only gets you back to Rock Harbor but provides a view of Isle Royale not seen from the crest of the Greenstone Ridge.

Information

For more information on the Voyageur II contact the Grand Portage – Isle Royale Transportation Line (651-653-5872, 888-746-2305; www.isleroyaleboats.com).


Geo-referenced maps from MichiganTrailMaps.com range from $1.99 to $2.99 each.

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