21.1 mi∞ ft∞ ft

The Lakeshore Trail's lesser-known relative, the Grand Island Loop, is equally astonishing with all kinds of natural beauties and is a popular destination for a broad spectrum of visitors, from beginners to experienced backpackers.  The 21.2-mile loop encircles the island, meandering through lush forests, numerous beaches, and spectacular sea cliffs. Take your time at each of the overlooks and take in the views of the Pictured Rocks and nearby islands. Lake Superior is clearly a jewel of the trail - its sparkling waters and sunsets are both soothing and inspiring. At some point, or multiple points, you should reward yourself with a swim in its cool waters.

The island has an amazing amusing history.  It was first settled by the Chippewa (or Ojibwe) Tribe over 4,000 years ago!  The tribe hunted, fished, and produced maple syrup on the island.  In the 1650’s, French voyagers started visiting the island to trade with the Tribe.  In 1846, at the invitation of Chief Omonomonee, European settlers began inhabiting the island. Unfortunately, a war with the neighboring Sioux forced the Chippewa to return to the mainland to support the rest of their tribe.  Eventually, in 1990, the Hiawatha National Forest Service acquired the island and has significantly improved campsites and maintained historic buildings and trails.

The island is perfect for wildlife viewing, being home to rabbits, white-tailed deer, chipmunks, and cranes. Black bears can also be sighted. The fishing is excellent here too! Echo Lake, the island’s sole lake, boasts rock bass, pike, and perch, while trout and salmon swim in Trout Bay. The trail is well-maintained, easy to follow, and is perfect for everyone. The grade is gentle, and the level of difficulty ranges from easy to moderate.

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