Munising Range Lights, Lake Superior
The Grand Island East Channel Lighthouse gets a lot of attention from guests on Pictured Rocks Boat Cruises, Glass Bottom Shipwreck Tours, and the Riptide Ride, but the Munising Range Lights that replaced the light in 1908 are worth checking out as well. These still-functioning beacons are often overlooked by visitors to Munising, but are incredibly easy to visit thanks to their location alongside M-28.
The Munising Front Range Light is 58 feet tall and it is a white steel conical tower. The top of the lantern room is painted red. This light can be seen at the corner of M-28 and Hemlock St. A few other buildings remain here, including an oil house and the keeper’s dwelling (now in use by the National Park Service).
The Front Range Light is very similar in design to the Grand Island Rear Range Light, which can be found five miles to the west in Christmas. There is parking available behind this lighthouse, by the American Legion.
The Munising Rear Range Light sits on a hill at the southern end of Hemlock St., three blocks away from the Front Range Light. This tower is also a steel conical tower that is white with a red roof, though it is only 33 feet tall. There is on-street parking available here, but be respectful as this light is next to a few private residences.
Mariners are able to use the range lights as a guide, when they line them up from the water they are able to follow the safe navigation channel into the harbor. The range lights exhibit a red light that can be seen for miles. At the time these lights were put into service, Munising Bay was a popular harbor of refuge during storms for ships traveling between Marquette and Sault Ste. Marie. Munising doesn’t see large freighters very often anymore, but plenty of private boats as well as all of the Pictured Rocks Cruise boats keep things very busy during the summer.
Attractions within ten miles of the Munising Range Lights include the Grand Island Range Lights and Santa’s Workshop in Christmas, Scott Falls, Wagner Falls, Alger Falls, Munising Falls, Horseshoe Falls, Memorial Falls, Tannery Falls and the Munising Tourist Park Campground.