January 14, 2018

Exploring Pictured Rocks: Au Sable Lightstation

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

Buried within the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is a picturesque lighthouse known as Au Sable Lightstation. This 144-year-old active lighthouse provides visitors with beautiful views of Lake Superior and a history of the area.

Built in 1874 on Au Sable Point, this lighthouse was intended to not only eliminate a “dark spot” in the 80 mile stretch between Granite Island and Whitefish Point but also help ships navigate the Au Sable Point Reef.

In the 1890s, the brick oil and fog signal builders were added to the grounds, and in 1909 the original keeper’s house, a single story dwelling attached to the 87-foot tall tower, was converted into a two-story house, accommodating two assistant keepers and their families. The keeper and their family became residents of a second keeper’s house that was built the same year.

Begin the hike at the Hurricane River Campground parking lot, approximately 12 miles east of Grand Marias. From here, follow the Lakeshore/North Country Trail. It is a 3-mile round trip, easy hike. Along the way, exposed shipwreck, marked by signs on the main trail, line the beach. Pets and bicycles are not permitted.

Keep in mind when you visit that June is Mosquito season and July is Black Fly season. Wear long sleeves and pants in these months to protect yourself from painful bites. Repellent works for mosquitoes but not so much for Black Flies.

The lighthouse tower is open for tours during the summer from 11 a.m. to 4:40 p.m. at a cost of $3 for those who are 6 and older. They required that visitors pay the exact amount as no change will be provided. More details can be found on the Au Sable Light Station website.

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