Fiborn Quarry: An Upper Peninsula “Ghost Town” and Karst Preserve
Tucked away in the woods near Trout Lake Township in Mackinac County are the remains of what was once a thriving limestone quarry and town. Dues to its secluded location, this area is not frequently visited and that helps keep the remaining structures from completely withering away. The Michigan Karst Conservancy now protects this ghost town and its surroundings as a karst preserve and keeps it open to the public provided the rules on the sign above are followed. In addition to the buildings that remain, there are hiking trails that lead to caves, sinks and springs. With written permission it is possible to explore the Hendrie Water Cave here; it is the longest know cave in Michigan at 1,500 feet.
The walk to the quarry begins at the parking area next to he sign at the top of this post. From there it between a quarter mile and half mile hike in on a well-worn two-track before the first structure appears. On the left, a large building will come in to view – that was once where railroad cars were stored.
On the opposite side of the two-track is a much different structure – this is where ore was loaded onto freight cars to be shipped out from the quarry.
Behind the ore-car loader is the powerhouse, although not much of this structure remains. There is lots of room to explore the inside and outside of these structures with caution as they provide a glimpse into how big of an operation once took place here.
There’s plenty to see here, though getting here isn’t the easiest thing as there aren’t many signs or markings to point you in the right direction. From the intersection of M-123 and Trout Lake Rd. head west on Trout Lake Rd. for a little more than five miles. After crossing a small creek there will be an unmarked road to the north, this is Fiborn Quarry Rd. Follow it to the parking area, it will be easy to tell if you’re on the right road or not within a mile.