Nestled between both Lake Michigan and Huron and bustling with scenic views – St. Ignace is your Upper Peninsula getaway to find serenity in nature. Fall is the time to take time out of your busy lifestyle to relax and unwind. With thousands of acres of forest including wildlife and glorious fall foliage, St. Ignace is the perfect getaway to indulge in nature and even find some hidden gems. Here are 7 ways to find serenity in the nature of St. Ignace.
1. Grab Your Boots – Go for a Hike
Photo Credit: @thanphamphotos
St. Ignace offers many ways to get active while indulging in the splendid nature that awaits you in the Upper Peninsula. The Hiawatha National Forest offers two hiking areas that fits all skill levels. The North County Scenic Trail (East Zone) runs 4,600 miles from New York to North Dakota. It spans across the Upper Peninsula: starting at the Mackinac Bridge and Straits State Park, passing through the Hiawatha National Forest, and then going north of the Whitefish Bay. This trail is mostly comprised of foot traffic through the remote parts of the forest making for the ultimate hiking experience. Check out the Link to this Trail Map.
The second group of trails is in the St. Ignace Ranger District sits on the lower east side of the forest and includes six different day hiking trips. The Sand Dunes Trail is a 2.1-mile trail is a small loop on the west side of St. Ignace. Although this is a short route, it provides an ample amount of scenic views in a forest setting. A full list of all day hiking trails located in this district can be found here. What are you waiting for? Lace up those hiking boots and hit the trails.
2. Hit the Bike Trails
Photo Credit: @suziekinns
Another way to enjoy the great outdoors while also getting some physical activity is to hop on your bike and ride. St. Ignace has several bike loops throughout the area running from ten to forty miles! One route, the Bay de Noc/Grand Island Trail in the Hiawatha National Forest, runs parallel to the Whitefish River. This route follows a Chippewa Indian portage that was used to carry canoes and supplies between Lake Michigan and Superior. It contains plenty of twists and turns through different types of trees and grassy areas. So, grab that mountain bike and get cycling!
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Photo Credit: @madelinehasacamera
If you didn’t know already, St. Ignace is the ultimate spot for prime bird sightings of a variety of breeds. As most birds tend to migrate south to warmer weather to the colder months – St. Ignace is a hot migratory stopping point. North Huron Birding Trail offers 6 spots with a plethora of different breeds of birds – from the cute, plump yellow Cape May Warbler to the majestic Bald Eagle. Not only does this trail offer the sights and sounds of these unique birds, but also exquisite views of nature. You can see the Ultimate Birding Guide here and what kinds of birds you’ll encounter!
Settled between two Great Lakes, various inland bodies of water, makes St. Ignace the perfect place to get lost in the rivers or lakes and catch that trophy-worth fish. From Charter Fishing to Shore fishing – the spots of St. Ignace have you covered. Before you hit the waters, be sure to purchase your fishing license and check out the fishing seasons. Here is the full list of the top places to fish.
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5. Reconnect with Nature in the Hiawatha National Forest
Photo Credit: @ryan_thomas_photos
One of the must-visit spots in the Upper Peninsula is the Hiawatha National Forest that runs from shore to shore. This forest is planted between three of the Great Lakes: Superior, Huron, and Michigan - which is where it’s nickname “The Great Lakes National Park” comes from. Within the forest, the Whitefish Bay Scenic Byway is the perfect place to submerge yourself into nature and a must-see for visitors.
The forest is filled with many unique attractions to explore and discover. Most popular destinations are the six lighthouses that call the forest home. Round Island Lighthouse and Point Iroquois Lighthouse (this one is currently closed but visitors can still use the boardwalk and search the grounds) are two that line the shores of St. Ignace. This majestic forest is full of water, trails, and campgrounds. There is even some great winter trails too!
In late summer to early autumn, it’s worth checking out the Monarch Migration.
6. Get Up Close and Personal with Your Favorite Animals
Photo Credit: @shantel_marie95
Fuel your inner animal lover by getting up close and personal with your favorite animals! Oswald’s Bear Ranch is the largest bear ranch in the U.S.! See 29 rescued black bears and other animals. You can even pet and take a snap shot with a bear cub! Want to see more variety of animals? GarLyn Zoo Wildlife Park is the place to visit! See a wide range of animals like tigers, otter, hyenas, and more!
7. Camp Under the Stars [and by the water]
There is no better way to become one with nature than to sleep in it. Dive into nature at any one of the five campgrounds that St. Ignace offer. Each campground offers its own unique outdoor stay experience. One thing that each of these camp sites doesn’t lack in are extraordinary views of the waters that surround the area, the Mackinac Bridge, and the Hiawatha National Forest. For the full guide to the campgrounds of St. Ignace, visit here.
Anytime is the best time to visit St. Ignace. However, fall is the prime time to explore the glorious colors that autumn brings. That’s why the Upper Peninsula has been named the Best Destination for Fall Foliage by USAToday! With fall comes hunting season, so be sure to also check out the top reasons to hunt in St. Ignace.
During your stay be sure to wear your masks in public as courtesy to you and other visitors’ health. A friendly reminder to regularly wash your hands and if you’re sick – stay home! Feel free to request a visitor guide, sign-up for our newsletter, and book your stay today!