Michigan, Feldtmann Ridge Trail

Location: Isle Royale National Park
State: Michigan
Best Season: Year Round
Length: 19 miles
Difficulty: Moderate

Trail Information:

The Isle Royale National Park has 165 miles of trails crisscrossing the island and no roads, so hiking is the only means of transportation on the island. The ferry stops at the north and south ends of the island making it possible to hike the island one-way from end to end and catch the ferry.

Isle Royale, accessible only by water is well worth the trip

There are vast numbers of moose, and wildlife is plentiful on every aspect of the park. You will also find a plethora of wildflowers, remarkable sunsets that are alive with the eerie call of the loons on the surrounding waters.

You will be in lowland areas with wetlands, lakes with good moose viewing, a ridge with magnificent vistas, a bay on Lake Superior and, via the Island Mine Trail, up to the Greenstone Ridge. It is a good first time trip for people with backpacking experience.

These trails are among the best the midwest has to offer and should certainly be on your list of things to do when you visit Michigan.

The trail leaves Windigo along the shore of Washington Harbor. When immediately leaving from the dock heading west, the trail reaches a fork. You want to stay on the trail near the harbor. The other fork leads to the ranger station and the Windigo Nature trail. The trail follows Washington Harbor until it cuts south away from the harbor just after Beaver Island.

It then begins an ascent of around 100 feet up a hill. It continues a moderate ascent with flat areas between the hills until it reachs a ridge it follows for awhile. From this ridge, looking south, you can see some wetland areas, Grace Creek and Lake Superior in the distance.

It tends to be windy up here but, if the weather is nice, it’s a great place to plan lunch or at least a stop. This completes the hardest part of this section. From here the trail heads down to lowland areas towards Grace Creek.

Grace Creek is a footbridge and the flow through the creek depends on the time of season you go but, is a dependable source of water if needed. Once past Grace Creek the trail passes through some small hills until it almost levels out and becomes quite straight heading almost due west. At this point, you are approaching Grace Harbor. In the springtime, it and Lake Superior are easily seen as you approach it. In the fall, I could not see either.

Once past Grace Harbor the trail turns inland and you pass through some wetland areas. In the spring, this is a definite source of water. In the fall, it is questionable.

Once through the wetlands, the trail turns due east and follows along an old beach line. In the springtime, from here, you can see Lake Superior.


The island is on the north side of Lake Superior is accessed by float plane or by ferry from Grand Portage, MN or Copper Harbor, MI.

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