One of Michigan’s seldom-heard-of islands is the cluster of Huron Islands, just three miles offshore Lake Superior from Marquette County. They are part of the Huron National Wildlife Refuge – a fortress also called the Huron Islands Wilderness.

This refuge was created in 1905 by President Theodore Roosevelt, intended as a bird sanctuary for nesting gulls and others including bald eagles. Of the eight small islands contained here, only Lighthouse Island is available to visitors. In fact, locating all eight islands may not be simple, depending how high the water is. Some historians believe these islands were formed by a mountain range that got mostly flooded. Four of these little islands have trees, brush, and other vegetation, while the other four are nothing but solid rock.

Back in 1860, a cargo ship called The Arctic ran aground and was beached on the furthest east of these small islands. The ship was carrying livestock which ended up being left and marooned on the island, bringing about its name, “Cattle Island.” Thanks to the incident that stranded the cattle, a lighthouse was constructed in 1868 on what is now known as Lighthouse Island.

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Scuba divers can have a field day here, as there are plenty of submerged shipwrecks to explore.

Another cool thing about the islands: there are areas that have plenty of bare granite that have deep grooves caused by slow-moving and melting glaciers, still very visible.

To get there, you need a boat – or someone who has one that can take you there...and take toilet paper...there are no visitor accommodations. This means no bathrooms, no trash receptacles, no businesses, homes...nothing except the lighthouse and its outbuildings. Keep in mind, if/when you pay a visit to the Huron Islands, you are looking at the same trails and same wilderness as those old lighthouse keepers and the survivors of shipwrecks from the 1800s.

The Huron Islands: Lake Superior, Michigan


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