Description - Located in the northwestern region of the Hiawatha National Forest, the Munising Ranger District includes the towns of Munising, Wetmore, and Au Train. Along with the hundreds of natural inland fishing waters, the area rests on the shores of Lake Superior with famed destinations such as Munising Bay, Trout Bay, and Murray Bay. Munising Ranger District is home to one of the Forest's largest lakes, AuTrain Lake. It is also home to Grand Island Recreation Area where trailblazers find beauty and serenity year-round. The Rocks River Canyon Wilderness Area is an enticement and challenge for backcountry travelers. Pictures Rocks National Lakeshore is aptly named. Visitor centers, trails, campsites, and even picnic grounds make for a picturesque and memorable visit. Natural beauty abounds throughout the Ranger District amid the northern hardwood forests, the secluded bogs, the meandering rivers and most notable the numerous waterfalls. We've described 10 of those waterfalls that are within easy reach. Flora and fauna within Munising Ranger District is ranked among the most plentiful in the state of Michigan.
Copyright: USDA Forest Service
East Channel Lighthouse on Grand Island
- The Munising Ranger District offers a variety of opportunities for the outdoor enthusiast. Camping within Munising Ranger District falls on five moderately developed campgrounds. Recreational vehicles are accommodated; sites offer water and restroom facilities. Camping season begins mid-May and ends the first of October. Primitive camping can be found throughout the District located near streams, secluded lakes, and dense forests. Divers exploring the shipwrecks of the Alger Underwater Preserve, frequently camp at Bay Furnace.
The Munising Ranger District of the Hiawatha National Forest has many spots for great fishing. Well-known fishing streams include the Au Train River, Buck Bay Creek, Indian River, Little Indian River, Rock River, North Brand and Middle Branch Stutts Creek that are famed for brook trout, brown trout, rainbow trout, steelhead, and coho salmon. Easy shoreline fishing can be found at Au Train, Pete's, and Kimble lakes. Species found in the region's inland waters include yellow perch, small and largemouth bass, crappie, northern pike, and walleye.
Sandy swimming beaches are maintained for the enjoyment of visitors, however, there is no lifeguard protection on the National Forest. Boating opportunities range from small car-top launches to full-size concrete ramps. Picnic grounds typically include tables, grills, drinking water and toilet facilities.
Miles of paddling opportunities exist with the better-known being Indian River, Au Train River and Big Island Lake Canoe Trail. Hikers are given endless choices from short interpretive trails such as Au Train Songbird Trail to connections with the long-distance North Country Trail, which today travels 1,700 miles over 7 states but will eventually extend 4,000 miles. With winter arriving early and leaving late in northern Michigan, cross-country skiing and snowmobiling are natural off-season enjoyments. This region of the state receives an annual snowfall in excess of 160 inches; therefore, designated trails are well-marked for your pleasure and safety.
Other outdoor activities in the Munising Ranger District include water-skiing and tubing, sea kayaking, berry picking, nature study, auto touring, boat cruises, and hunting. The District includes 6 groomed and marked snowmobile trails that run a total distance of 55 miles. All road and trails on the Forest are open to snowmobiling unless otherwise posted.
Recreation - Munising Ranger District welcomes camping, diving, hiking, mountain biking, canoeing, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, auto touring, boating, picnicking, fishing, watching wildlife and viewing scenery.
Climate - This area of the national forest normally experiences mild summers with average temperatures around 70 degrees F (21 degrees C). Winter temperatures average 14 degrees F (-10 degrees C). Rain and snowmelt in the region can reach up to 160 inches annually. Travelers should be aware that significant amounts of snow could fall within a relatively short period of time resulting in hazardous road conditions.
The Munising Ranger District includes much of eastern Alger County and a segment of western Schoolcraft County. Properties include Lake Superior's Grand Island and Au Train Island. Major access roads are State Routes H03, H13, M-28, and M-94.