2021 Trip: Big Island Lake Wilderness Canoeing

July 10th-July 24th, Age 14-17

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Somewhere in the UP, along the small dirt roads that crisscross the forests north of Escanaba, lies a piece of the sublime. This area is one

of the Forest Service’s best kept secrets. One would be hard pressed to find much information on the Big Island Lake Wilderness Area online, and that is by design.

We found out about Big Island Lake was by chance. We were looking for a location for an extended canoeing trip, when a participant from the first ever Crystalaire Adventure tagged us on Instagram. Her photo from that July 2005 trip lit a spark, and after much sleuthing we had 

a new trip on the calendar. We returned to Big Island lake in the summer of 2019 for the first time in fourteen years.

Walking onto Big Island Lake from the trailhead, one understands why they are so keen on keeping this haven pristine; fields of lilies greet the intrepid canoer, blooming in the cool of the night and folding back during the heat of the day.  With twelve small lakes interconnected with trails to haul gear between, there is no shortage of wilderness to explore. Herons and Loons call these lakes home, during the summer you might even be lucky enough to catch them teaching their young how to fly.  The lakes have plenty of trout, perch and bass for those inclined to fish. Plus, you have them almost entirely to yourself. Rare is the moment when one would run into fellow naturalists among the pine and birch. 

So come, heed the call of the Lakes, discover their individual charms and quirks, find that part of yourself that is hidden up here in the water.  It is waiting for you.


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