#MITrailsWeek: Little Bay de Noc Recreation Area

Little Bay de Noc Bayshore Trail hemlock cathedralFor a person seeking a recreation destination far off the usual path, the Little Bay de Noc Recreation Area, part of the U.S. Forest Service’s Hiawatha National Forest, might be a great choice. In a largely unpopulated area located  5.5 miles from the nearest highway, few people are there by accident.

First, there’s the Bayshore Trail, which follows the shoreline of Little Bay de Noc. I followed the section from the boat launch at the north end of the recreation area through the campground. Dog owners should note that leashes are required at all times. Another notable feature is the “Hemlock Cathedral,” a stand of enormous hemlock trees that tower over the campground. A longer hike can be achieved following the White Pines Trail, but my favorite part of this campground and recreation is the Maywood History Trail, which winds through the grounds that were once occupied by the Maywood Hotel.

Little Bay de Noc Bayshore Trail markerThe Maywood Hotel was built in 1904 and became a destination for visitors from Chicago, and regular service was provided by a steamboat from Gladstone, located on the opposite shore. A series of signs along the trail tells the story of the Maywood Hotel’s establishment, flourish, and eventual decline (few traces of the hotel remain today). One particular sign notes proprietor “Cap” Fisher’s remarkable passion for pancakes. To Mr. Fisher, in 1928, is attributed the claim “Pancakes are the foundation of the day’s work, and their goodness or badness determines to a considerable degree what the day’s accomplishments will be.”

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