Sunday, December 13, 2015

Visit historic lighthouse on Raspberry Island

Raspberry Island Lighthouse, location of two trailheads
on Raspberry Island in Apostle Islands National Lakeshore.
Located in the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, small Raspberry Island boasts two small trails that run along the shore with both beginning at a lighthouse.

The dock is on the island’s southwest corner. From the dock looking south is the mainland with the land curving from Raspberry Bay in the southeast to Point Detour in the southwest. Looking directly west, you should be able to spot York Island in the distance.

At the boathouse, take the staircase up the cliffside to the blufftop where the Raspberry Island Lighthouse complex sits. At 43 feet tall, the lighthouse juts like a chimney from the keeper’s red-roofed white house. It was first lit in 1863 and then automated almost a century later in 1957. Restored just a few years ago to look as it did in the 1920s, the lighthouse is open to tours.

From the lighthouse, Sandspit Trail runs 0.75 miles one way (1.5 miles round trip) from the lighthouse to a sandbar on the island’s east side. As heading toward your destination, the mainland appears on the south with Oak Island to the east.

At the sandspit, several islands appear on the horizon. The four closest ones, going clockwise from north to southeast, are Bear, Otter, Manitou and Oak.

West Bay Trail runs a mile (2-miles round trip) from the lighthouse to the island’s northern tip. Raspberry Island’s keepers used the trail to check the beacon of the Sand Island lighthouse beginning in 1921, when it was automated.

Along the way, you’ll pass West Bay with a view of York Island and the much larger Sand Island behind it. To the northeast is Bear Island.

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