A Beautiful Home in the
Central Upper Peninsula of MI
Alger and Schoolcraft Counties have over 300 miles of marked, groomed trails that allow snowmobilers to travel some of the most pristine and beautiful areas nature has to offer anywhere in the world. On these trails, a rider can travel freely throughout both counties visiting lakes, streams, falls and forests. The trail system reaches from Shingleton to Grand Marais, Seney, Deerton, Chatham, Manistique, Munising and Rapid River.
In addition to one of the best trail systems available anywhere, the area has over 500 rooms available for tourists and numerous facilities of their riding and personal convenience. There are numerous bars, restaurants and lodging facilities located on the trail system.
Some outdoor enthusiasts enjoy the deeper silence found along the cross-country ski trails which lead through hills and valleys, forests and meadows. Skiers may choose between well-groomed, lighted city trails or trails through thick pines draped with heavy snowfall, a forest of pine, spruce and balsam laced with snow garlands and excellent grooming equipment. There are trails to waterfalls, ice caves and scenic lookouts. Designated trails are well marked with directional signs and levels of expertise from novice to expert, with rest areas along the way. Or choose a trail system with a warm-up cabin where one can rest as a cup of steaming hot chocolate warms the heart and hands.
Hiking & Biking
Hundreds of thousands of acres of State and Federal managed lands have hundreds of miles of groomed marked hiking and biking trails.
Most of the waterfalls in this area are the result of water running over a shelf or cliffs of limey sandstone called the Munising Formation. This formation extends from Tahquamenon Falls some 75 miles east of the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, to Laughing Whitefish Falls, about 30 miles west of the Lakeshore. The Munising formation is also called the Northern Michigan escarpment.
Popular waterfalls include:
Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore- www.nps.gov/piro
- Munising Falls
- Miners Falls
- Bridalveil Falls
- Mosquito Falls
- Chapel Falls
- Spray Falls
- Sable Falls
Other Area Waterfalls-
- Rudy M. Olson Memorial Falls
- Alger Falls
- Scott Falls
- Wagner Falls
- Laughing Whitefish Falls
Boating is the best way to capture the glory of the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. There are public boat launches for Lake Superior, Lake Michigan and many of the inland lakes. There are boat rentals available for the whole or half day excursions and there are guided tours of the area. There are also guided fishing guides for whole or half day opportunities.
Canoeing and Kayaking can be wonderful non-motorized ways to explore the many riverways and lakes found in the Upper Peninsula. Kayaks and Canoes can be rented for half day, whole day and multi day excursions through the Seney National Wildlife Refuge and in Lake Superior along the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.
With literally hundreds of campsite located in the area, there is a wide variety of camping opportunities in both Alger and Schoolcraft counties, from primitive back country camping to full service hookups for modern campers. Camping is offered in the National and State Parks, Municipal Parks and Private Campgrounds.
Fishing on the Great Lakes and Inland Lakes
Fish Lake Superior for Whitefish, Lake Trout, King Salmon, Coho Salmon, Steelhead or fish Little Bay de Noc in Lake Michigan for Walleye. Try guided fishing trips to wilderness inland lakes and streams for a variety of fish common to the far north and cooler waters such as Brook Trout, rainbow Trout, Small Mouth Bass, Northern Pike, Muskie, Walleye and pan fish. It is common to see Loons, Eagles, Beaver, Deer, Moose and the occasional Timber Wolf while on a fishing adventure. Great Ice Fishing is available on many inland Lakes as well as Lake Superior and Lake Michigan.
Go to www.michigan.gov/DNR for species, seasons, licensing information.
The Upper Peninsula offers a wide variety of hunting and trapping opportunities for:
- White Tailed Deer
- Black Bear
- Wild Turkey
- American Woodcock
- Bobwhite Quail
- Ring-necked Pheasant
- Ruffed Grouse
- Ducks and Mergansers
- Coots and Moorhens
- Common Snipe and Rails
- Canada Geese and Other Geese
- Beaver and River Otter
- Fishers and Martens
- Grey and Red Fox
- Muskrats and Mink
- Rabbit and Varying Hare
Go to www.Michigan.gov/DNR for species, seasons and licensing information.
Dog Sledding in the Upper Peninsula
As you stand on the runners of the dog sled, looking in amazement at the very excited dogs that are about to pull you down the trail, you begin to wonder, “Just what have I gotten myself into?” There are many opportunities to hire a guide and try mushing yourself. Some offer only rides in the sled where a musher drives the team and others allow you to ride the runners on a “trail sled”, a second sled attached to the team behind the first sled. There are half day, full day and the more extensive multi-day trips. On these trips many outfitters will supply most or all of the specialized winter equipment you will need. Some of the countries bust sled dog races take place in the Upper Peninsula. This opportunity allows you to be a spectator up close for the Start and Finish Line experiences.
Hiawatha National Forest
When you first enter the Hiawatha National, look around. At first glance, you’ll see a forest with abundant wildlife, miles of rivers and streams and dozens on waterfalls. You’ll see a forest that touches the scenic shorelines and beaches of three Great Lakes and is home of six historic lighthouses. You’ll see historical structures, archaeological sites and prehistoric Native American artifacts that are a window to our past, being preserved for our future. Hiawatha National Forest offers the following recreational activities:
- Cross Country Skiing
- ATV/ORV Trails
- Berry Picking
Go to for details www.fs.usda.gov/hiawatha
Grand Island Recreation Area
- Bus tour
- Cemetery Tour
Go to for details www.fs.usda.gov/hiawatha
Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
The 70,000 acre park follows the south shore of the Lake Superior for 42 miles where Mineral-stained sandstone cliffs rise dramatically from Lake Superior near Munising to give way to wind sculpted dunes near Grand Marais. The awe inspiring cliffs are shaped by wind, ice and pounding waves. The cliffs are colored in shades of brown, tan, and green by iron, manganese, limonite and copper in the water. As the water trickles down the rocks or mountainous waves slam into the cliffs with a vicious suddenness, the sandstone Pictured Rocks are formed and changed. Some of the popular formations include: Miner’s Castle, Battleship Row, Indian Head, Lover’s Leap, the Color Caves, Rainbow Cave and Chapel Rock. The formations are best seen by boat however, some may be seen by land via trails and scenic overlooks. Other recreational activities include:
- Light Station Tour
- Bird watching
Go to www.nps.gov/piro for details.
Fayette State Historic Park
Fayette Historic State Park houses a Historic Townsite, a representation of a once bustling industrial community. The Townsite features a self guided tour of Other activities include:
- Cross Country Skiing
About Schoolcraft County
Schoolcraft County is located in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. As of the 2010 census the population was 8,485. The county seat is Manistique, which lies along the northern shore of Lake Michigan. The county is named in honor of Henry Schoolcraft, who explored the area with the expedition of Lewis Cass. The county is largely rural and forested, with much of the western portion of the county located within Hiawatha National Forest.
The natural resources that attracted the area’s early settlers continue to form the foundation of Schoolcraft County’s diverse economy. Local, state and federal government agencies employ the greatest number of workers in the county, accounting for about 23 percent of the workforce. Service-related businesses employ just slightly less. Retail trade is the number three employer, providing about 20 percent of the jobs in the county. Manufacturing, at about 10 percent, is the fourth largest employer, followed by construction, at about 7 percent. Rounding out the employment base are, respectively, finance/insurance/real estate; mining; transportation/public utilities; agriculture/forestry/fishing/other; and wholesale trade. Schoolcraft Memorial Hospital is a county owned hospital, 25 bed, critical access hospital with 24 hour physician staffed emergency room and walk-in clinic. It is located in Manistique.
The Hiawatha National Forest, Seney National Wildlife Refuge and several state parks provide an abundance of outdoor recreational opportunities in the county, and the beautiful lakes and forests are the basis of a thriving tourism industry fueling economic growth in businesses ranging from lodging and restaurants to sporting goods stores and marinas.
The county is home to two industrial parks, both of which are being developed. The county’s cable television network and fiber optic data transmission capabilities have create a new employment niche.
Many professionals and business owners have discovered that by conducting their business via the Internet and teleconferencing, the no longer need to be based in a big city. Instead, they “telecommute” to work anywhere in the world, while taking advantage of Schoolcraft County’s skilled labor force, reasonable labor costs, high quality of life and low cost of living. At the end of the day – since the information highway doesn’t have rush-hour snarls – Schoolcraft County’s newest pioneers head for the beach, volunteer in the community, or simply relax at home.
Residences are proud of their area’s rich heritage, and they keep their history alive at a number of museums and historic sites. The Bishop Baraga Mission and Indian Cemetery at Indian Lake features replicas of the early log mission and surrounding bark dwellings. Manistique is a jumping of point to visit four historic Upper Peninsula lighthouses: the Manistique East Breakwater Light, Seul Choix Point Lighthouse and Museum, Peninsula Point Lighthouse and Sand point Lighthouse and Museum.
The Schoolcraft County Historical Park, in Manistique, features a museum and a historic 200-foot-tall brick water tower which has recently been restored. The 80-year-old structure, listed on the National and State historic registries, is located near the city’s unique Siphon Bridge. The bridge is part of a concrete flume built in 1919 to channel water to the paper mill.
Fayette State Historic Park features a museum, and a ghost town of 19 structures that includes several public and commercial building, residences and the ruins of the blast furnace complex. From ghost towns to lighthouses, Schoolcraft County offers fun and education insights into the past for visitors of all ages.
Alger County Demographics
Alger County is located in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. As of the 2010 census, the population was 9,601. Its county seat is Munising. The Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is located within the county. Alger County was detached from Schoolcraft County, set off and organized in 1885. The county was named for lumber baron Russell Alexander Alger who was a Michigan Governor, U.S. Senator and U.S. Secretary of War during the William McKinley Presidential administration.
Alger County is home to Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore that receives approximately 440,000 visitors each year. Visitors enjoy hiking, visiting waterfalls and lighthouses. The Pictured Rocks, although an exceptionally scenic section of Lake Superior shoreline, offer very little shelter to storm-beset boat traffic of all kinds; over the years, some of these boats and lake freighters have been wrecked. The Alger Underwater Preserve protects the wrecks that are located within its boundaries.
Hiawatha National Forest continues up from Schoolcraft County and supports recreational tourism with additional opportunities on Grand Island Recreation Area located in Munising Bay. Historic buildings, graveyard, archeological dig and two light houses mixed along a series on non-motorized trails makes Grand Island a great choice for tourists.
Having high speed internet, fiber optic cable as far south as the 440 in Delta County and lighting fast utilities service and repair make Alger County a great working environment for the virtual operator. A short 45 minute drive to Sawyer International Airport offers quick access to travel. In 2008 Munising Memorial Hospital opened the doors to a brand new, state-of-the art, health care facility. At fifty-nine thousand square feet, the facility incorporates all aspects of patient care under one roof. MMH is fully digital with 24 hour physician staffed emergency care, Outpatient rehabilitation center and laboratory services.
- Alger County www.algercounty.com
- Schoolcraft County www.schoolcraftedc.org
- State of Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Growth www.MI.gov/dleg
- Michigan Department of Natural Resources www.mi.gov.dnr
- Hiawatha National Forest www.fs.usda.gov/Hiawatha
- Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore www.nps.gov/piro
- Seney National Wildlife Refuge www.fws.gov/midwest/seney