The Island Loop Route In Michigan

Here is everything you need to know about the The Island Loop Route:

  • Trail System: National Recreation Trail
  • State: Michigan
  • Length: 10.2 miles.
  • Type: Biking
  • Surface: paved
  • Managed By: St. Clair County Parks and Recreation Commission
  • Permit Required?: Yes
  • Website: Info not available.

The Island Loop Route is a historic trail located in St. Clair County, Michigan, USA. This scenic route is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts, offering a unique blend of natural beauty and historical significance. The history of the Island Loop Route dates back to the early 19th century when the area was first settled by European pioneers.

The route takes its name from the islands that dot the St. Clair River, which were formed by the retreat of glaciers thousands of years ago. These islands played a crucial role in the region’s history, serving as strategic locations for trade and transportation. Native American tribes, such as the Ojibwa and the Potawatomi, utilized the river and its islands for fishing and travel long before European settlers arrived.

During the 19th century, the St. Clair River became a vital waterway for the burgeoning lumber and shipping industries. The Island Loop Route was an essential part of this transportation network, connecting various settlements and facilitating the movement of goods and people. Steamboats and schooners plied the river, carrying timber, agricultural products, and passengers between the islands and mainland communities.

As the lumber industry declined in the late 19th century, the Island Loop Route transitioned into a recreational area. The islands and surrounding waterways became popular destinations for boating, fishing, and picnicking. Today, the route offers visitors a chance to explore the region’s rich history, with several historical markers and interpretive signs along the way, providing insights into the area’s past.

In conclusion, the Island Loop Route in St. Clair County, Michigan, is a historic trail that showcases the region’s fascinating history. From its origins as a vital transportation route during the lumber and shipping era to its transformation into a recreational area, the route offers visitors a glimpse into the past. The islands and the St. Clair River continue to be cherished for their natural beauty and historical significance, attracting visitors from near and far.

While On The Trail

Access Points

1. Port Huron Trailhead: This is the starting point of the Island Loop Route, located in Port Huron, Michigan. It offers parking facilities and access to the trail.

2. Blue Water River Walk: This access point is located along the St. Clair River in Port Huron. It provides a scenic view of the river and connects to the Island Loop Route.

3. Lighthouse Beach: Situated near the Fort Gratiot Lighthouse, this access point offers parking and beach access. It is a popular spot for picnicking and enjoying the waterfront.

4. Fort Gratiot County Park: This park provides parking, restrooms, and picnic areas. It is a great place to take a break and enjoy the natural surroundings.

5. Bakers Field Park: Located in Marysville, this access point offers parking and connects to the trail. It is a small park with open green spaces.

6. Chrysler Beach: Situated in Marysville, this access point provides parking and beach access. It is a popular spot for swimming and sunbathing.

7. Desmond Landing: Located in Port Huron, this access point offers parking and connects to the trail. It is a historic site with a replica of a 19th-century Great Lakes schooner.

8. Vantage Point: Situated in downtown Port Huron, this access point provides parking, restrooms, and a visitor center. It offers a panoramic view of the St. Clair River and the Blue Water Bridge.

9. Pine Grove Park: This park is located in Port Huron and offers parking, picnic areas, and restrooms. It is a popular spot for outdoor activities and hosts various events throughout the year.

10. Port Huron State Game Area: Situated on the outskirts of Port Huron, this access point provides parking and connects to the trail. It is a natural area with diverse wildlife and vegetation.

These are some of the major access points or trailheads along the Island Loop Route. There may be additional smaller access points or parking areas along the trail as well.

Transportation Available

1. Island Loop Shuttle – Shuttle service that provides transportation along the Island Loop Route.
2. Taxi Services – Local taxi companies offering convenient transportation options.
3. Bike Rentals – Rental services for bicycles, allowing you to explore the Island Loop Route on two wheels.
4. Car Rentals – Various car rental agencies providing vehicles for your transportation needs.
5. Public Bus – Local bus service with stops near the Island Loop Route, offering affordable transportation.
6. Ride-Sharing Services – Popular ride-sharing platforms like Uber and Lyft available for convenient travel.
7. Water Taxi – Water-based transportation service for a unique experience along the Island Loop Route.
8. Pedicabs – Pedal-powered rickshaws offering a fun and eco-friendly way to get around the area.
9. Scooter Rentals – Rental services for scooters, providing a convenient and efficient mode of transportation.
10. Walking – The Island Loop Route is easily accessible by foot, allowing you to enjoy a leisurely stroll.


The amenities available at The Island Loop Route may include:

1. Restrooms: There may be restroom facilities along the route for visitors to use.

2. Parking: There may be designated parking areas or lots available for visitors to park their vehicles.

3. Camping sites: Depending on the location, there may be designated camping sites or areas where visitors can set up tents or park RVs for overnight stays.

4. Picnic areas: There may be designated picnic areas along the route where visitors can enjoy outdoor meals and gatherings.

5. Trails: The route may have well-maintained trails for walking, hiking, or biking.

6. Scenic viewpoints: There may be designated spots along the route that offer scenic views of the surrounding landscape or attractions.

7. Interpretive signs: There may be informational signs or boards along the route that provide details about the history, flora, fauna, or other interesting aspects of the area.

8. Water access: Depending on the route, there may be access points to rivers, lakes, or other bodies of water for activities like fishing, boating, or swimming.

9. Wildlife viewing: The route may offer opportunities for visitors to observe and appreciate local wildlife in their natural habitats.

10. Visitor centers or information kiosks: There may be visitor centers or information kiosks along the route where visitors can obtain maps, brochures, or other helpful information about the area.

Please note that the availability of these amenities may vary depending on the specific location and management of The Island Loop Route. It is recommended to check with local authorities or visitor centers for the most up-to-date information.

Nearby Services

1. Hotel Port Huron – Conveniently located near the Island Loop Route, offering comfortable lodging options.
2. Fairfield Inn & Suites Port Huron – Modern hotel with amenities, close to the Island Loop Route.
3. Hampton Inn Port Huron – Comfortable accommodations with easy access to the Island Loop Route.
4. Quality Inn & Suites Port Huron – Affordable lodging option near the Island Loop Route.
5. Super 8 by Wyndham Marysville/Port Huron Area – Budget-friendly hotel located near the Island Loop Route.
6. Port Huron KOA Holiday – Campground offering RV and tent sites near the Island Loop Route.
7. Freighters Eatery & Taproom – Waterfront restaurant serving American cuisine, located near the Island Loop Route.
8. Vintage Tavern – Cozy eatery offering American fare, conveniently situated near the Island Loop Route.
9. Fuel Woodfire Grill – Casual restaurant specializing in wood-fired pizzas and other dishes, close to the Island Loop Route.
10. Port Huron Hospital – Local hospital providing emergency medical services near the Island Loop Route.

The Island Loop Route Difficulty Notes

The Island Loop Route is a moderately challenging trail that offers a diverse and scenic experience for hikers and bikers. With a total distance of approximately 16 miles, the route takes you through a variety of terrains, including paved paths, gravel roads, and some sections with moderate elevation changes. While the trail is generally well-maintained and suitable for most skill levels, there are a few sections that may pose a challenge for beginners or those with limited experience. These include some steep inclines and descents, as well as occasional rocky or uneven surfaces. However, with proper preparation and pacing, the Island Loop Route can be enjoyed by individuals of varying fitness levels, providing a rewarding adventure amidst the beautiful landscapes of the area.

Features And Attractions

The Island Loop Route is a scenic driving route located in St. Clair County, Michigan. Along this route, you can find several scenic views, historical sites, natural landmarks, and more. Here are some notable attractions along the Island Loop Route:

1. Blue Water Bridge: This iconic bridge connects Port Huron, Michigan, to Sarnia, Ontario, Canada. It offers stunning views of the St. Clair River and the Great Lakes.

2. Fort Gratiot Lighthouse: Located in Port Huron, this historic lighthouse is the oldest operating lighthouse in Michigan. Visitors can climb to the top for panoramic views of Lake Huron and the surrounding area.

3. Pine Grove Park: Situated along the St. Clair River, this park offers beautiful waterfront views, picnic areas, walking trails, and a playground. It’s a great spot to relax and enjoy the scenery.

4. Thomas Edison Depot Museum: Housed in the historic Fort Gratiot Depot, this museum showcases the early life and inventions of Thomas Edison, who grew up in Port Huron.

5. Huron Lady II River Cruise: Take a scenic boat tour on the St. Clair River aboard the Huron Lady II. Enjoy breathtaking views of the Blue Water Bridge, passing ships, and the natural beauty of the area.

6. Port Huron Museum: This museum features exhibits on local history, including maritime heritage, Native American culture, and the industrial development of the region.

7. Lighthouse Park: Located in downtown Port Huron, this park offers a picturesque view of the Blue Water Bridge, the St. Clair River, and passing ships. It’s a popular spot for picnicking and fishing.

8. Algonac State Park: Situated along the St. Clair River, this state park offers hiking trails, camping facilities, and a beautiful beach. It’s a great place to enjoy nature and relax by the water.

9. St. Clair Flats State Wildlife Area: This expansive wildlife area is known for its diverse bird population and offers opportunities for birdwatching, fishing, and boating.

10. Marine City: This charming town along the route is known for its well-preserved historic buildings, antique shops, and scenic riverfront views.

These are just a few of the many attractions and landmarks you can explore along the Island Loop Route. Each offers its own unique beauty and historical significance, making it a memorable journey for visitors.

Usage Guidelines

1. Pets are allowed on the Island Loop Route, but they must be kept on a leash at all times.
2. Clean up after your pet and dispose of waste properly.
3. Respect the natural environment and wildlife along the route. Do not disturb or feed any animals.
4. The Island Loop Route is open year-round, but certain sections may have seasonal restrictions or closures. Check for any updates or closures before planning your trip.
5. Bicycles are allowed on the route, but riders must follow all traffic laws and yield to pedestrians.
6. Camping or overnight stays are not permitted along the Island Loop Route.
7. Fires and barbecues are not allowed along the route, except in designated areas.
8. Littering is strictly prohibited. Please carry out any trash and dispose of it in designated bins.
9. Swimming or water activities are allowed in designated areas only. Follow any posted rules or guidelines for water safety.
10. Respect other users of the route and maintain a safe and courteous behavior at all times.

Seasonal Information

The Island Loop Route, located in St. Clair County, Michigan, offers a scenic and diverse experience for outdoor enthusiasts. The best times of the year to visit this route largely depend on personal preferences and the activities you wish to engage in. However, the spring and fall seasons are particularly popular due to the mild temperatures and vibrant foliage.

In the spring, the Island Loop Route comes alive with blooming flowers and budding trees. This is an ideal time for nature lovers and birdwatchers, as migratory birds return to the area, filling the air with their melodious songs. The moderate temperatures make it perfect for hiking, biking, or even kayaking along the St. Clair River. Additionally, the route is less crowded during this time, allowing visitors to fully immerse themselves in the tranquility of the surroundings.

During the fall, the Island Loop Route transforms into a breathtaking display of colors as the leaves change to vibrant hues of red, orange, and gold. This is a great time for photographers and those seeking a picturesque experience. The cooler temperatures make it comfortable for outdoor activities such as hiking or biking, and the crisp air adds to the overall charm of the route.

It’s important to note that some sections of the Island Loop Route may have seasonal closures. For instance, the boardwalk at the Blue Water River Walk may be closed during the winter months due to icy conditions. However, the majority of the route remains accessible year-round, with only occasional closures for maintenance or special events. It’s always a good idea to check for any updates or closures before planning your visit to ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience.


1. Wheelchair Accessible Pathways: The Island Loop Route features wide and smooth pathways that are accessible for wheelchair users, ensuring easy navigation throughout the route.
2. Accessible Restrooms: ADA-compliant restrooms are available along the route, providing wheelchair-accessible facilities for visitors.
3. Accessible Parking: Designated accessible parking spaces are provided near the starting points of the Island Loop Route, allowing convenient access for individuals with disabilities.
4. Accessible Picnic Areas: The route offers accessible picnic areas equipped with tables and benches that are designed to accommodate wheelchair users.
5. Accessible Viewing Areas: Scenic viewpoints along the Island Loop Route are designed to be accessible, providing wheelchair users with the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful surroundings.
6. Accessible Informational Signage: Throughout the route, there are ADA-compliant informational signs that are easily readable and accessible for individuals with disabilities.
7. Accessible Water Fountains: Wheelchair-accessible water fountains are available along the route, ensuring that visitors can stay hydrated during their journey.
8. Accessible Recreational Activities: The Island Loop Route offers various accessible recreational activities, such as fishing piers and accessible boat launches, allowing individuals with disabilities to engage in outdoor pursuits.
9. Accessible Seating Areas: Along the route, there are designated seating areas that are accessible for wheelchair users, providing opportunities for rest and relaxation.
10. Accessible Transportation Options: The Island Loop Route is easily accessible by various modes of transportation, including accessible public transportation and wheelchair-accessible taxis, ensuring that individuals with disabilities can reach the route conveniently.

Safety Information

When visiting The Island Loop Route, it is important to keep the following safety information in mind:

1. Stay hydrated: Carry enough water with you, especially during hot weather, to prevent dehydration. The route can be long, and it is essential to stay hydrated to avoid heat-related illnesses.

2. Dress appropriately: Wear comfortable clothing and appropriate footwear for walking or cycling. Consider wearing a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen to protect yourself from the sun’s harmful rays.

3. Be aware of your surroundings: Stay alert and aware of your surroundings at all times. Look out for other cyclists, pedestrians, and vehicles sharing the route. Be cautious when crossing roads or intersections.

4. Follow traffic rules: The Island Loop Route may intersect with roads or crosswalks. Obey traffic signals, stop signs, and yield to vehicles when necessary. Use hand signals to indicate your intentions to other road users.

5. Stay on designated paths: Stick to the designated paths and trails of The Island Loop Route. Venturing off the designated route may lead to unsafe areas or private property.

6. Carry identification and emergency contact information: Always carry identification and have emergency contact information readily available. In case of an accident or emergency, this information will be crucial for first responders.

7. Use proper lighting: If you plan to use The Island Loop Route during low-light conditions or at night, ensure your bicycle has proper lighting. Use front and rear lights to increase visibility and make yourself easily seen by others.

8. Be prepared for emergencies: Carry a basic first aid kit, a cell phone, and any necessary medications with you. Familiarize yourself with the route and know the locations of nearby emergency services or medical facilities.

9. Stay on the right side: When cycling or walking, stay on the right side of the path, allowing faster cyclists or pedestrians to pass on the left. This helps maintain a smooth flow of traffic and prevents accidents.

10. Respect wildlife and nature: The Island Loop Route may pass through natural areas or parks. Respect the wildlife, plants, and natural environment by not littering, staying on designated paths, and avoiding disturbing the ecosystem.

Remember, safety is paramount when visiting The Island Loop Route. By following these guidelines, you can have an enjoyable and safe experience while exploring the route.

Conservation Notes

The Island Loop Route is a popular recreational trail located in St. Clair County, Michigan. In terms of conservation status, this trail is considered to be well-preserved and protected. The route traverses through a diverse range of ecosystems, including wetlands, forests, and riverfront areas, which are crucial habitats for various plant and animal species.

Efforts have been made to maintain the ecological integrity of the Island Loop Route. Conservation organizations and local authorities have implemented measures to minimize human impact on the trail and its surrounding environment. These include regular monitoring of the trail’s condition, removal of invasive species, and the implementation of erosion control measures to protect the fragile riverbanks.

Additionally, educational programs and initiatives have been introduced to raise awareness about the importance of conservation along the Island Loop Route. These programs aim to educate visitors about the significance of preserving the natural habitats and wildlife found within the trail’s vicinity. By promoting responsible outdoor practices, such as staying on designated paths and respecting wildlife, conservation efforts are further supported.

Overall, the conservation status of the Island Loop Route is commendable, with ongoing efforts to protect and preserve the natural environment. By maintaining the ecological integrity of the trail, it ensures that future generations can continue to enjoy the beauty and biodiversity of this unique recreational area.

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