The Great Lakes boast an abundance of majestic islands—over 32,000 actually—many of which see consistent visits from both local and traveling outdoorsmen. They come seeking a more remote experience in one of the country’s most beautiful regions. While each island is an adventure, there are a select few that have earned a special place in the hearts of hikers.
Michipicoten Island, Lake Superior
Pronounced “Mish-i-pe-cotton,” this island can be found in the northeastern part of Lake Superior. First-time visitors always marvel at the island’s constantly changing appearance, which it owes to the shifts in fog cover. It can appear near or far, depending on the fog, and some days it can even appear as one island or three. Outdoorsmen love Michipicoten because it’s remote and uninhabited. It’s also popular among kayakers, who can embark upon week-long guided sea kayak trips and take in the island’s breathtaking scenery and rare wildlife.
Madeleine Island, Lake Superior
Located on the Wisconsin side of Lake Superior, Madeline Island is the largest in the Apostle Islands group, and is home to just over 200 residents. Madeleine offers outdoorsmen a plethora of natural beauty, such as beaches, hiking, biking, fishing, and sailing. The island is also home to several underwater caves and cliff face hollows, which can be explored via kayak or canoe, making it a popular destination for kayakers.
Wolfe Island, Lake Ontario
Located at the entrance to the Saint Lawrence River in Lake Ontario, Wolfe Island is the largest of the Great Lakes’ Thousand Islands. The island is home to the Sandy Bay Management Area, a vast protected environmental area where no motor vehicles are allowed, making it ideal for those seeking a quiet hike. The island also features sand dunes and wetlands, where hikers into photography or bird watching can discover hidden treasures around every corner.
North and South Manitou Islands, Lake Michigan
Accessible only by a ferry, the Manitou islands are found in Lake Michigan, just off the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Aside from attractions like historical tours, shipwrecks, ancient cedar trees, and a lighthouse overlooking the lake, the islands offer several hiking trails that guide outdoorsmen along scenic routes, and also feature designated camping areas for those staying overnight.