Walk with dinosaurs, sail through a Great Lakes storm, paddle in a kayak, or snowshoe the backcountry. Whatever the season, there are always things to see and do in the Sanctuary of the Great Lakes.
Outdoor adventure at it’s best! Unlike laser tag, participants divide into teams and conduct military-style “missions”…it’s like playing a real live video game! Mission Director briefs each mission’s objectives, conditions of victory and basic strategy hints. Game lasts approximately 3 hours and includes five to eight missions. Chose from several distinct settings or private booking in setting of your choice. Great activity for a group of friends, organizational activity, family reunion, birthday party, or company team building. Are you ready for the challenge? Visit our web site or call.
Alpena Community College offers a forty acre, eighteen-hole, disc golf course that is free and open to the public. Lumberjack Meadows is located on Woodward Avenue, approximately one-half mile northeast of the railroad tracks and soccer fields. Discs are available for purchase at Direct Skate Shop, 835 W. Chisholm Street in Alpena.
Maple Ridge Township Park
End of LaComb Road in Maple Ridge Township, approx. 15 minutes northwest of the city of Alpena
45 rustic forested acres along a branch of Thunder Bay River. Enjoy a picnic in the pavilion, hike the foot trails over the steel frame bridge, fish, bird watch, or just relax and listen to the small river rapids.
- Picnic area
- Swing set
This park offers a nature preserve atmosphere with grass field for activities like kite flying. The park features grass ball diamond, volleyball courts, sandy swimming beach, and picnic areas. Perfect for family outings, a game of kick-ball, nature watching, and active recreation. Many shore birds can be spotted along the Lake Huron waterline.
Middle Island Light Station is located in Lake Huron, halfway between Thunder Bay Island and Presque Isle. There are seven buildings on the island, including a light tower, Keepers Quarters, an Oil House, Tool Garage, a Fog Horn building and two brick privies. The conical brick tower stands 77 feet tall. The Lighthouse is white with an orange band in the middle. It’s light is 78 feet above low water and can be seen for 17 miles.
Mystery Valley Sinkhole
GPS: 45.21225, -83.73243
Mystery Valley is a unit of the Thunder Bay Karst Preserve, along with Stevens Twins Sinks and Bruski Sink. The 76-acre Mystery Valley Karst Preserve and Nature Sanctuary is located in Presque Isle County just a few miles north of the Thunder Bay Karst Preserve. It contains one of the largest karst “collapse valleys” in the Great Lakes region, several dramatic earth cracks and a lake that rises and falls, and sometimes disappears! Visitors to the preserve can follow two self-guided trails: Earthcrack Trail and Valley Trail. Earthcrack Trail passes a series of cracks, including two that converge into one that’s several hundred feet long and nearly 15 feet deep. Following the Valley Trail, visitors can see fossils of marine invertebrates such as brachiopods, bryzoa and crinoids that lived some 350 million to 400 million years ago. Unlike a valley carved by a river, Mystery Valley was formed by the collapse of the surface into a labyrinth of subterranean chambers created by the water erosion of rock below. Mystery Valley is 1.5 miles long, 500 yards wide at its widest point and about 150 deep, making it one of the largest known collapse valleys in the Great Lakes region.
More information is available at the Alpena Visitor Welcome Center located at 420 N. Second Ave., Alpena, Mi
Negwegon State Park
GPS: 44.865832, -83.327580
Distance from Alpena: 20 miles South of Alpena on US-23. US-23 S. to Black River Rd. Follow Black River Rd East 1.5 miles, turn North on Sand Hill Rd. and go 2.5 miles, turn East at Negwegon State Park sign and go 1.5 miles to the day use parking area.
On-site facilities: Vault toilet, back-country camping, artesian well. At Negwegon you can transport yourself back in time and hike through the wilds of Michigan, just as rugged and pristine as when the first settlers arrived in Northeast Michigan. Mysterious, remote and undeveloped, Negwegon State Park is a hidden treasure with 10 miles of hiking trails and one of the most beautiful beaches on Lake Huron.
The NEST is a Michigan-DNR multi-use rail-trail that runs 70 miles from Alpena to Cheboygan. The trail has a 10′ wide packed crushed limestone surface and is open to non-motorized users year-round, and snowmobiles from Dec. 1 – March 31. The trail goes through stunningly beautiful Northeastern Michigan fields and forest, crosses a number of water features, and connects to several small villages and points of historical interest. Being a rail trail, the terrain is flat and easily manageable for all levels. The trail head is located on Woodward Ave., in Alpena, just past Northern Lights Arena, and adjacent to the soccer fields. Bathrooms are available at the trailhead.
- Horseback riding
- Dog sled
- Cross-country ski
- Snowmobile (Dec. 1 – March 31)
The Presque Isle Light Station includes three historic buildings. The light tower, which connects to a keeper’s dwelling, was built in 1870 and is the tallest lighthouse tower accessible by the public on the Great Lakes. An unattached keeper’s residence, constructed in 1905, has been painstakingly restored and now serves as a museum. The buildings are situated on a 99-acre township park featuring a playground, picnic area, pavilion and nature trails. The park is open to the public from mid-May to mid-October. A gift shop is located in the original keeper’s quarters. Visitors, for a nominal fee, may also climb the 130 steps to the top of the tower for a breathtaking view. The buildings and grounds are open mid-May through mid-October, from 9am until 6pm, daily. The 1905 House is open from Memorial Day through Labor Day, 11am to 5pm, Tuesday through Saturday; 1pm to 5pm Sunday; closed Mondays. For more information, visit the township web site at http://www.presqueisletownship.org or call (989) 595-5419.
Northern Lights Arena is the only facility in Northeast Michigan to provides two first class, official NHL sized ice rinks within one building. Our state of the art primary rink provides seating for 1,200, an in-rink concession stand, six large, full service private locker rooms and an 1/8 mile rubberized running track.
Come experience a multitude of entertainment options, including, but not limited to; touring comedy acts, spine tingling rodeos, big circuit wrestling and womans roller derby. Spend some time visiting with high end dealers at one of our exclusive camping, trailer or boating expositions.
Northern Lights Arena is proudly the home for many local user groups, including a variety of hockey, figure skating and speed skating organizations. Please feel free to visit our Users Group Page to learn more. You just may find a great opportunity to join in and have fun!
Norway Ridge Pathway offers multiple trail loops with easy to follow trail markers. 10-miles of total trails roll through soft forgiving ridges. Take the family for a hike, or take your bike to test the single-track. The trails are groomed by Thunder Bay Trails Association. Cross-country ski trails are groomed throughout the winter.
- Bird Watching
- Horseback Riding
- Cross-country Ski (trails groomed as snowfall permits)
The nation’s first fully accessible waterfall.
Ocqueoc is the lower Peninsula’s largest waterfall and is also the nation’s first universally accessible waterfall. “Waw-waugh-waugh-que-noc” (meaning sacred waters) was the name given by Native Americans to this beautiful river that is now called Ocqueoc. This hidden gem contains the largest fallsin the Lower Peninsula, with four small rapids and a pool for splashing. Ocqueoc Falls is also the first truly universally accessible waterfall in the nation, making it an ideal destination for everyone! Hike through the six-mile Bicentennial Pathway, enjoy the picnic area, or stay overnight at the rustic Ocqueoc Falls State Forest Campground.
Watch “The Spirit of Ocquoec Falls”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-9W-e7QWacQ&feature=youtu.be
The Old Presque Isle Lighthouse is one of the oldest surviving lighthouses on the Great Lakes. Built in 1840 by Jeremiah Moors of Detroit, the harbor light operated until 1871 when the keeper transferred to a new, taller, coastal lighthouse a mile to the north. Visitors can climb the hand-hewn stone steps of the thirty feet tall tower for a panoramic view of the Lake Huron shoreline and Presque Isle Harbor. The keeper’s dwelling serves as a hands-on museum. Here, visitors can blow foghorns and examine other interesting artifacts. They can also ring the bell from the Lansing City Hall clock tower and pose for the perfect photo opportunity with head and hands in an old set of stocks. The buildings and park grounds are open to the public daily, from 9am until 6pm, mid-May through mid-October. A nominal fee is charged for tower climbs.
Unique lagoon and barrier wetland on the shore of Lake Huron’s Thunder Bay. Walk over 1/4 mile of boardwalks that will take you out into this fresh water coastal marsh. Observe a variety of wetland creatures from three separate observation decks, each providing its own special view. Depending upon the season, migrating birds, wetland animals and a variety of plant life may be seen. An educational resource library and classroom are available for individuals, families and groups. A very knowledgeable staff is available by appointment to explain and guide you on your tour. The facility is now fenced and gated due to security, but tours are available (usually within 24 hours) May 1 through October 31. Admission is $1.00 adults, children under 12 free.