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Horseshoe Bay



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Horseshoe Bay Trails

Kayak Horseshoe Bay

Horseshoe Bay Wilderness Area is located a few miles north of Mackinac Bridge and the tourist town of St. Ignace. The area contains seven miles of Great Lakes frontage on Horseshoe and St. Martins Bays, in northern Lake Huron. A sandy beach is found along the southern third of the area. The northern two-thirds vary from marshy to rocky, depending on the character of the adjacent land. It is a perfect place to explore by kayak. This area was once prime fishing and hunting grounds for Native Americans. It is home to a large variety of wildlife, including beaver, black bear, coyote, deer, eagles, osprey, otter and mink.

Horseshoe Bay is a broad embayment of Lake Huron that lies north of St. Ignace and the Straits of Mackinac. The U.S. Forest Service administers much of the land along this bay, and their Foley Creek Forest Campground is a scenic place to sample the area’s wildlife. The campground is nestled among large white pine trees, providing an attractive appearance. A hiking trail on the site connects the campground with a sandy beach on Lake Huron. This campground is generally open from the end of May through the beginning of September. Call ahead for details.

Wildlife Viewing

This scenic, wooded camping area is home to white-tailed deer, raccoons, red squirrels, and many forest bird species. Local residents commonly use the campground roads for walking and outdoor exercising. Because of this regular "foot traffic," deer have become accustomed to people and are often easy to observe up close.

The one-mile hiking trail begins at the north end of the campground and winds through a northern white cedar swamp on its way to a sandy beach on Lake Huron. This trail is wood-chipped and dry, offering a unique opportunity to walk "in" a typical northern white cedar swamp habitat, (normally full of deadfalls and thick vegetation), and experience its moist and cool microclimate, and see and hear the songbirds that live there. Bald eagles are sometimes seen perching in the tall white pines that face the shore. Waterfowl and great blue herons are common on Horseshoe Bay and on the small ponds adjacent to the hiking trail. The trail provides foot access to the 3,787-acre Horseshoe Bay Wilderness.

Portions of this area are open to public hunting. Contact the Michigan Department of Natural Resources for affected seasons and locations.


From St. Ignace, travel north on I-75 about 7 miles to the M-123 exit. Turn right (south) onto Mackinac Trail Road and continue about 1.5 miles to the entrance to foley Creek Campground on the left side of the road.

View/Download map of Horseshoe Bay

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