Hunts' Guide to The Upper Peninsula

Sugar Island

Sugar maples dominate the forest of this 15-mile-long island in the St. Mary's River. They made it a favorite Indian sugaring spot for many hundreds of years. Many Ojibwa lived here in recent times. The Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians bases its tribal membership on being able to trace ancestry to that Sugar Island band. Cottages and small fishing resorts dominate the island today.
When the sugar maples turn red and yellow in fall color season, a drive around the island is a spectacular experience. There's a café and ice cream shop at the ferry and a bar with food two miles up the hill on 1 1/2 Mile Rd. A small township park is on the North Shore Road. Get a map at the Sault Chamber of Commerce on Bus. I-75 or call 800-MI-SAULT). There's no perimeter road except along the north shore and part of the west shore, so you have to seek out the waterfront places. Both downbound and upbound shipping lanes are along the west shore, by the Michigan mainland. (Years ago low water levels caused the upbound lane to be moved from the Canadian side.)

Sugar Island and the St. Mary's River are important migration flyways for many migrating birds. The island is considered a birding hot spot for seeing migratory snowy and great gray owls. The Little Traverse Conservancy has acquired four preserves on Sugar Island, mostly shoreline wetlands of significance to many kinds of wildlife - mammals and fish as well as birds. Visit and see "nature preserves" for a map and description of these areas. The conservancy states that the habitat of its new preserve on the island's south end is ideal for species including the spruce grouse and black terns (listed as of special concern in Michigan), sedge wren, and long-eared owl. For preserving expanses of natural habitat, it's a plus that the preserve is near large parcels of land owned by the University of Michigan Biological Station, land that was once Governor Chase Osborn's summer home.

For a vacation experience by the woods and water that's close to town, consider investigating Sugar Island resorts, especially if you like to fish or boat. They're open from sometime in May through sometime in October. Resorts are on the east shore, on Lake George, some 6 to 10 miles across. Boats are often included with accommodations. We have arranged the resorts from north to south: Hay Point Hideaway (906-632-6928), Mountain View Resort (906-635-0573), ; also boat rentals, tackle shop), and at the island's southeast tip with a good view of upbound shipping, and Island View Resort 906-632-7976).

Return to Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan

Soo Locks Park & Visitor Center. This is the place to get really close-up views of giant freighters, plus see some interesting exhibits ... more

Portage Avenue shops and beyond. Shops of note in the central part of town ... more

Soo Brewing Company. Serious ale brewer will fill you growler for $8 ... more

Soo Locks Boat Tour. This 2-hour excursion provides a dramatic look at the big locks, the quaint Canadian locks, and the Twin Soo's waterfronts. ... more

River of History Museum. Life-size dioramas bring to life scenes from Sault Ste. Marie's long history and prehistory. ... more

Riverfront walk along Water Street and Brady Park. See upbound boats waiting at the locks at beautiful Brady Park, site of the 19th c. fort. See interesting historic monuments from Sault Ste. Marie's aspiring years, including idiosyncratic Chase Osborn, the only U.P. governor. ... more

Bingham Avenue historic buildings. An avenue of grand 19th-century buildings, from a time when locals saw a grander future for the city than actually unfolded ... more

Tower of History. An oustanding view of the area from a 21-story tower. ... more

St. Mary's Pro-cathedral. This 1880s cathedral has a wonderful interior, with richly colored stained glass and striking wall accents ... more

Water Street Historic Block. Three of the earliest and most significant houses in Upper Peninsula history ... more

George Kemp Downtown Marina . A nice picnic area at a beautiful marina ... more

Museum Ship Valley Camp . A 1917 Great Lakes steamship is the vehicle for an interesting maritime museum ... more

St. Mary's River Lighthouse Cruise. A 4-hour journey past landmarks like the lighthouse at the entrance to the St. Marys River ... more

Edison Sault Power Plant & Alford Park. This 1902 quarter-mile-long landmark never attracted the industries it was built to serve, but still generates electricity ... more

Mission Point, Aune Osborn Park & Sugar Island Ferry. It's been called the #1 place anywhere to see Great Lakes freighters in motion ... more

Sugar Island. Once a favorite Chippewa sugaring spot, the island still has many maples and still is a popular stop for migrating birds ... more

New Fort Brady/Lake Superior State University. Begun in 1893 as an Army fort and barracks for 20,000 troops, this overlook now is the site of 3,300-student Lake Superior State University ... more

International Bridge. Connecting the 5,000-mile Trans-Canada Highway with 2,000-mile I-75 to Florida, this 1962 bridge does much more than connect the two Soos ... more

Sault Ste. Marie Wi-fi Hotspots. Bayliss Public Library has public computers. 541 Library Drive. Take last US exit on I-75, turn right on Easterday, turn left at traffic light onto Ashland St. to Library Drive. Lake Superior State University campus is a wi-fi hotspot. 650 W. Easterday. ... more

Our new interactive map to U.P. motels that offer exceptionally low rates. See also our useful detailed maps to U.P. TOWNS. These custom-made maps locate landmarks and attractions.
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Michigan's Upper Peninsula - Hunts' Guide to the U.P.

Michigan's Upper Peninsula - Hunts' Guide to the U.P.
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