Horseshoe Harbor (Mary MacDonald Preserve), Copper Harbor
Some places in Michigan are so beautiful that it’s hard to fully describe them in words. The Mary MacDonald Preserve at Horseshoe Harbor is one of those places, but we will do our best to show you some pictures and try and describe what you’ll find there when you visit. Horseshoe Harbor is located a few miles east of Copper Harbor, and its remote location is part of why it such a special place. The preserve dates back to 1982 and helps guarantee that this rugged yet stunning landscape is kept pristine for future generations.
Getting to Horseshoe Harbor takes a little bit of work. From Copper Harbor you head east past where the pavement ends, then follow Mandan Rd for about a mile (dirt road in good shape). From this point you will see a sign and a road to the left, turn here and follow High Rock Bay Rd. for another mile to a parking area near the trailhead. The trail itself is less than a half mile, with rocky uneven terrain. After it winds its way through the forest it leads you to Lake Superior, where a breathtaking view of the rocky shoreline awaits.
Horseshoe Harbor gets its name from the large bedrock ridge that creates barriers on either side of a rocky beach. There is no formal hiking trail, but is easy enough to find your way along the shoreline. Few plants are able to survive in the cooler climate here, but you’ll find balsam fir, white cedar, white spruce and white birch in the forest. Falcons, warblers, grouse, eagles, and hawks are some of the bird species that make their home here. While it seems like this would be the perfect place to spend a day, keep in mind that in the summer months the black flies can be a lot to deal with here.
It is definitely our recommendation that you’ll want hiking boats or good shoes here for the short trek to the lake. Pants and a long sleeve shirt would be somewhat helpful in keeping the flies at bay. There’s a lot to see and take in here, and we hope the photos below do this place some justice:
For more travel ideas in the area near the Mary MacDonald Preserve at Horseshoe Harbor: the Keweenaw Rocket Range can be reached by traveling a few more miles on Mandan Rd. (most cars won’t make it). In Copper Harbor we love Fort Wilkins Historic State Park, Manganese Falls, the Copper Harbor Lighthouse, and Estivant Pines Nature Sanctuary. Be sure to check out our guide to the Copper Country Scenic Byway for even more ideas for family fun in the Keweenaw!