The Bay de Noc/Grand Island Trail is a 39+ mile trail that parallels the Whitefish River, starting from 1/2 to 2 miles east of the river. The trail follows the approximate location of an ancient Chippewa Indian portage route used to carry canoes and supplies between Lake Superior and Lake Michigan. Following the river bluff for a considerable distance, it offers hikers, bikers and horse riders many extended views to the west across the Whitefish River Valley.
The southern 1/4 of the trail winds along through jack pine, red pine, and aspen timber, interspersed with grassy openings. The terrain is fairly level, broken only by an occasional stream crossing. As the trail stretches northward through the maple, paper birch, and beech forest, the user encounters the typical glacial terrain characterized by short rounded hills scattered in random fashion. These hilly stretches are occasionally separated by one to five mile stretches of flat land supporting a pine and aspen forest.
The Bay de Noc / Grand Island Trail has been used as the bulk of a logical, 50+ mile trail route linking Lake Michigan to Lake Superior. Roy Kranz and Mark Kowalczyk did this route in 21.5 hours. Kranz wrote a detailed trip report: https://sites.google.com/a/roykranz.com/www/lake2lake
This is the Variation called "Lake to Lake" on this webpage. The main route - Bay de Noc - is the 39+ mile portion.
- Updated by Andy Averill
Rob Beranek, Gabe Johnson, and I (Erik Johnson) will be attempting this FKT Friday, May 17 2019 at 6:30 AM departing from the south end of the trail (Rapid River Michigan). The attempt will be supported by Jim Johnson, Sophia Johnson, Barry Johnson, and Steve Beranek. The gpx file we will be following is via garmin connect at https://connect.garmin.com/modern/course/24240784. We will also use Garmin LiveTracking. If anyone is interested in joining us please let us know.
Hi Erik, how'd this attempt work out?
I'm going to be running a Lake to Lake route this Saturday (6/27/2020) hoping to set an FKT for the Lake to Lake route and establish more of an official route from Superior to Michigan using a combination or roads and the Bay de Noc trail. Since I'll complete the Bay de Noc as part of my run, I'll also attempt an FKT of the standard trail only route. The entire run will be supported. (Andy Averill)
I may attempt the 39+mile point to point from north to south on Friday, December 3rd, 2021, unsupported. Weather and snow depth at the beginning being the main reasons I might call it off. I have the gpx from this site loaded into Gaia. Planning to record on Strava and Apple Watch as a backup. I hope to leave early and have it done by nightfall. I’ve got someone picking me up at the southern trailhead, so if I’m too far behind schedule with no cell service, I figure I’ll cut to the Rapid River Truck Trail to finish and wait till next fall.