A small waterfall cascades into a gorgeous lagoon on Stockton Island. PC: National Park Service
While known for having the largest concentration of lighthouses in North America and incredible sea caves, the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore is also famous for its scenic hiking trails. The 21 islands offer adventures for people of all skills levels and Stockton Island is no different. It’s home to about 14 miles of scenic trails with lagoons, carnivorous plants, a beach with “singing sands”, dunes, a brownstone quarry site, and more. Read on for 5 incredible Stockton Island hiking trails:
How to Get to Stockton Island Hiking Trails?
Stockton Island map, from the National Park Service.
As the largest of “the Apostles,” Stockton Island has miles of scenic trails where adventures can explore incredible lagoons, beaches, bogs, sand dunes, and brownstone quarry sites.
Apostle Islands Cruises offer the best way to see the archipelago.
The best, easiest — and one of the only — ways to get to Stockton Island is Apostle Islands Cruises‘ shuttle for hikers. It’s for those wishing to explore Stockton for a day, lasting approximately 4.5 hours, with roughly 2 hours allotted to explore the island. One you arrive, you’ll discover several stunning beaches where sand sparkles and wildlife thrives.
1. The Beach with “Singing Sands”: Julian Bay Trail
Pink Lady’s Slippers, on the Julian Bay Trail.
During the summer, the beach are abundant in wildflowers and provides an excellent opportunity to witness their natural beauty. This Stockton Island hiking trail is also home to a variety of wildflowers, including buttercups, daisies, and wild strawberries.
2. Panoramic Views & Wildlife: Anderson Point Trail
Anderson Point Trail is about a 1.5-mile loop trail that winds through the forest around the rocky shoreline between Julian Bay beach and the Presque Isle dock. This trail takes you to a rocky point that offers breathtaking panoramic views of Lake Superior. As you hike, keep a lookout for local fauna, including loons, deer, and eagles.
There are also a number of interesting features along the path, including a natural arch, a sea cave, and a crevasse.
3. A Sandy Isthmus: The Tombolo Trail
The Tombolo Trail spans a distance of around 3 miles and takes hikers to a unique geological formation called a tombolo. This sandbar links Stockton Island and Bear Island together. Apart from providing access to this unique formation, the trail is also an excellent choice for those who wish to explore different habitats. While hiking along the trail, one can traverse through forests, bogs, and beaches.
4. Abandoned Industry: The Quarry Bay Trail
The Quarry Bay Trail is a 1.6-mile trek that takes you to an abandoned quarry that was previously utilized for extracting brownstone. Nowadays, the quarry is a favored destination for birdwatchers and rock climbers alike. Upon following this trail, you will find yourself at Quarry Bay, a peaceful and picturesque bay that is renowned for its natural splendor. Visitors can take a quick 0.4-mile walk along the Quarry Trail to reach a viewing platform that boasts sweeping vistas of the quarry and Lake Superior.
5. Logging Camp & Fishing: Stockton Island’s Trout Point Hiking Trail
Stockton Island’s Trout Point Trail is the lengthiest of all trails on the island, measuring 6.3 miles. It’s a difficult hike that guides you through a range of terrains, such as forests, bogs, and beaches. The trail also takes you past a historical logging camp. As you traverse the trail, be on the lookout for trout in the inland lakes that the trail goes by. These lakes are well-known for fishing.
Other Stockton Island Hiking Trails
A sunset on Quarry Beach, Stockton Island. PC: National Park Service
In addition to these five trails, there are a number of other shorter trails on Stockton Island, including the Savannah Trail, the Bog Trail, and the Cliffside Trail. These trails offer a variety of different hiking experiences, so there is something for everyone on Stockton Island.