Visit the Unique and Breathtaking Fossil Ledges on Drummond Island
Some places in Michigan are so beautiful that they are hard to capture in photographs or descriptions. Seeing these places in person is the only way to truly experience their magic, and today we will do our best to describe what awaits visitors to the Fossil Ledges on Drummond Island. The ledges were one of the 26 things we profiled in our “Drummond Island A to Z Guide.” Getting to the Fossil Ledges takes quite a bit of work and likely a high-clearance vehicle, but those who make it there have an unspoiled Lake Huron shoreline that has the remains of a saltwater coral bed.
I had the chance to visit Drummond Island for a week-long vacation in September. Our first day trip excursion was out to the Fossil Ledges. Fortunate enough to have a pair of Jeeps and an experienced tour guide, we made our way north of the “Four Corners,” past the Maxton Plains, and through muddy and rutted back roads to get to the shoreline. The Fossil Ledges are made up of sedimentary rock (dolomite) rich with fossils left over from a saltwater coral bed.
Due to its location and the difficulty getting there, the Fossil Ledges won’t be busy and there’s a chance you could have the whole place to yourself. A stroll along the shoreline will reveal some of the fossils (shown above) that make this such an appealing place.
As you stare out into Lake Huron, you can see the “steps” that these ledges form out into the water. There is a pretty big drop off (60+ feet) so it is important to be careful if you go wading/walking along the ledges. When we visited, water levels were high enough to prevent much exploration. This would also be a great place for a kayak trip, as the view from the water would allow for better perspective (sounds like I’ve got my next visit planned, right?).
There is a good chance of seeing wildlife on your drive out (bears, deer, birds) and while we didn’t see any large mammals we were surprised to see some snakes hanging out on the ledges. This is where we remind you not to disturb wildlife, take nothing but pictures, leave no waste behind etc. There have been instance of visitors using hammers to chip fossils out of the rock, and we would like to see this site preserved for everyone to enjoy so please, don’t be a part of behavior like that!
As mentioned above, to get to the Fossil Ledges you will want an ATV or high-clearance vehicle. Drummond Island Tourism Association provides some basic directions online, but it is best to check in with them before heading out to make sure you are aware of current road conditions. “From the Four Corners go north on Townline Road, turn right onto Maxton Road, travel 8 miles to the Interpretive Signs for the Maxton Plains. At the 3 Interpretive Signs turn right onto Colton Bay Road (3.2 miles-the road was good to this junction). At this point bear left and go past Scott’s Camp (on your right), again bear left at the Raynolds Bay Road (at 4.1 miles on your odometer). After Raynolds Bay Road and the swamp take the first right hand turn (6.0 miles on your odometer) onto a seldom used two track to the cobblestone parking area (.1 miles). Park your bike or car and walk toward the beach (about 35 feet). You have arrived . We assure you the trip from the Interpretive Signs to the Ledges will take 45 minutes. The mileage from Four Corners to the Ledges is 15 miles.” Keep in mind these roads are not marked with signs, and there is a lot of private property surrounding the road on the drive to Fossil Ledges.