St. Helena Island Nature Preserve

All dogs must be on a leash!

And please clean up after your pooches while using the trails. Learn More


266 acres


2.84 miles along Lake Michigan.

Land Description

When crossing the Mackinac Bridge, looking west, the largest island that's visible (~7 miles away) is St. Helena. Little Traverse Conservancy owns the entire island except for the lighthouse and the three acres owned by the Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association (GLLKA). In The Michigan Botanist, Ed Voss reported that he had documented 332 vascular plant species on the island. There is a tiny sandy beach here, with most of the shore gravelly.

Trail Description

A rough trail connects the lighthouse to the old village site on the north side of the island; this trail is sometimes impassable due to poison ivy. The beach trail, established in 2010, leads along the south side of the island and follows an old ridge running parallel to the shore.


Access limited to boat travel. Nearest boat ramps are St. Ignace, Point La Barbe, and Mackinaw City. Anchor a boat or land a kayak at the sheltered bay near the old village site on the island's north side. GLLKA offers a variety of ways to get to the island: or (231) 436-5580

Printable Trail Map

Check out the plants and animals found at this preserve using the iNaturalist guide below. Help us document more with and


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