Friday, May 3, 2013

‘Singing sand,’ beautiful views await on trail

Campground off off Quarry Bay Trail on
Presque Isle Point.
A popular summer destination, Stockton Island in Apostle Island National Lakeshore boasts 14 miles of maintained day hiking trails that head along beautiful bays, through majestic pines, and across a “singing” beach.

To reach the island, you’ll have to charter a boat or sail your own. There’s a dock at Presque Isle Point near the Stockton Island Visitor Center.

From there, you can take three different trails around Presque Isle Point:
g Anderson Point Trail – Going south of the dock is a 1.4-mile forested trail that parallels the point’s rocky shoreline. It ends at Julian Bay beach, where you’ll want to take off your shoes as the sand “sings” when walked upon. In the distance to the southwest is Madeline Island and to the southeast is Michigan Island. To make it a loop, take the Julian Bay Trail back to the docks for a 1.8-mile walk.
g Julian Bay Trail – Going northeast from the dock, the 0.4 mile-trail heads to Julian Bay beach. Pick up a trail booklet at the Presque Isle to learn about the variety of plant communities you’ll pass. At the beach, take the Anderson Point Trail back to the dock for a 1.8-mile hike or head back on the Julian Bay Trail for a 0.8-mile round trip.
g Quarry Bay Trail – Going north of the dock, the 3.6-mile trail passes a campground overlooking Presque Isle Bay. It ends at another campground on Quarry Bay. At 7.2-miles round trip, children taking the trail should be older teenagers or if young will need to be carried.

The Quarry Bay Trail can be extended by hiking a couple of trails that branch off it. Those trails include:
g Tombolo Trail – About 0.6 miles from the dock, turn onto the Tombolo, which offers towering pines, expansive bogs, and an impressive beach, where it joins the Julian Bay Trail. Combining the Quay Bay Trail segment, the Tombolo, and the Julian Bay trails makes for a 3.8-mile round trip. Warning: At the beach, a lagoon outlet sometimes will require you to cross water.
g Trout Point Trail – About 1.6 miles from the dock, this trail heads northeast for 4.7 miles. It passes through a thick forest, ending at an old logging camp clearing and campground on Trout Point. In the distance, looking directly east from the point, is Manitou Island and going clockwise Ironwood Island, Cat Island and Outer Island. At 12.6-miles round trip from the dock, this trail usually is only done by those camping at Trout Point.
g Quarry Trail – Where the Quarry Bay Trail ends at the bay, this 1.5-mile path continues along the shore to an abandoned quarry. The Ashland Brownstone Company ran the quarry during the 1890s. Combined with the Quarry Bay Trail, a walk to the quarry is 10.6-miles round trip from the dock, so it’s usually only done by those camping on Quarry Bay.

Be aware that bears inhabit Stockton Island, so you’ll want to take precautions with your food. Also, bring insect repellent, especially if taking trails that head near bogs.

Read more about day hiking Northwest Wisconsin in my Headin’ to the Cabin guidebooks.