Hessel, Mackinac County
Hiking Trails | Snowshoeing Trails | Nordic (XC) Skiing
The Birge Preserve includes an impressive complex of cedar wetlands, hardwoods, a small lake, and more than 6,400 feet of frontage on Mismer Bay. The northern Lake Huron shoreline is some of the most biologically productive habitat in Michigan. A short trail to Loon Lake provides opportunities to see beaver, bald eagle, osprey, and many other mammals and birds. Abundant native wildflowers including orchids, lady slippers, gentian, asters, marsh marigold, Indian paintbrush, and iris can be found throughout the property.
There are three parking areas and three different trails. The northerly parking area provides access to a 2-mile long trail which traces a historic road bed and then ventures into the forest. This is often groomed in the winter by a local volunteer. Further to the south, a quarter mile trail and boardwalk leads to the Loon Lake viewing platform. The Mertaugh Addition parking area is on the Lake Huron side, and has a bench overlooking Mismer Bay. And a third trail to Search Bay is available from the most southerly parking.