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Places We Protect

Echo Lake Nature Preserve

Michigan

View of Echo Lake Preserve in Michigan's Upper Peninsula near Marquette.
Echo Lake Preserve View of Echo Lake Preserve in Michigan's Upper Peninsula near Marquette. © Dick Huey

Echo Lake Nature Preserve is home to dramatic granite cliff-top views, waters teeming with life and a variety of wildlife.

Overview

Description

Located just a few miles outside of Marquette, the 480-acre Echo Lake Nature Preserve includes high bluffs of exposed granite bedrock, a mixed deciduous and conifer forest, wetlands, creeks, three high rock ponds and Echo Lake itself. Harlow Creek flows from its headwaters at Echo Lake, takes in water from Harlow Lake and empties into Lake Superior.

As you walk along the trails of Echo Lake Preserve, you could encounter dramatic granite cliff-top views, calm waters teeming with life beneath the surface and a variety of wildlife including moose, gray wolf, river otter, spotted and spotted blue salamanders, and neotropical migratory birds. Vistas from the highest areas of exposed bedrock on the south side of Harlow Lake include Hogsback Mountain, Little Presque Isle, and Lake Superior.

Access

OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

Highlights

Hiking, snowshoeing, birdwatching, carry-in boating, and catch-and-release fishing

Size

480 acres

Explore our work in this region

Photos from Echo Lake Nature Preserve

Tag your preserve visits on Instagram with #TNCMichigan to have your photos featured here!

A forest of trees in the autumn and rocky cliffs surround a dark body of water.
A bedrock outcropping is blanketed in snow and ice. Trees dot the landscape.
A bright blue sky reflected in a lake surrounded by greenery.
Dramatic cliffs covered in a dense forest.

Plan Your Visit

  • When to Visit

    Echo Lake offers activities year round, from snowshoeing in the winter to hiking and canoeing in the summer. Early May and late July through October are the best times to visit this preserve to take advantage of Upper Michigan’s beauty while avoiding biting insects.

    Please note that Echo Lake is not accessible via vehicle in the winter months.

  • What to Bring

    Come prepared with head netting and insect repellant to guard against mosquitoes, black flies, and other insects during the midsummer months. Hiking boots are recommended for walking the rocks and shoreline of this preserve.

  • Trail Info

    You can take an out-and-back journey to the peninula overlook, about a 1 hour walk round trip. Or for steeper hiking, head to the other overlook where you'll find stunning views of the surrounding forestland and Lake Superior. This option takes about 1 and a half hours to walk round trip.

    Trail Map

  • Permitted Activities
    • Foot access for hiking, snowshoeing, skiing, etc.
    • Bird-watching
    • Educational studies
    • Catch-and-release fishing is authorized but only with the use of artificial lures or flies; live bait may not be used
    • Kayaks and canoes are permitted on waters of the preserve including Echo Lake. Vessels must be carried from the parking lot.
  • Prohibited Activities
    • No rock climbing and rappelling
    • No motorized and non-motorized vehicles, including but not limited to automobiles, off-road vehicles (ORVs), all terrain vehicles (ATVs), motorcycles, snowmobiles, amphibious vehicles, and bicycles. All visitors must park at the gate and walk in.
    • No pets
    • No trapping
    • No motorized watercraft including diesel, gasoline or electric powered watercraft or sailboats and sailing.
    • No removal of trees, plants or animals (alive or dead)
    • No removal of rocks, water or other non-organic materials
    • No geocaching
    • No transportation, handling, dumping, or disposal of liquid, solid, natural or man-made waste, refuse, or debris
    • No camping, bonfires, fireworks or other fires
    • No sound or sounds artificially generated, regardless of decibel level
    • Hunting of white-tailed deer (or any other species) is currently not allowed at Echo Lake Nature Preserve as deer do not appear to be posing a threat to our conservation targets.
  • Accessibility

    In accordance with the Department of Justice’s amended regulation implementing Title III of the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regarding "Other Power‐Driven Mobility Devices,” The Nature Conservancy has completed an assessment of our Echo Lake Nature Preserve. While some types of OPDMDs can be accommodated, there are necessary restrictions on their use. Please contact the UP Office at 906-225-0399 or upmichigan@tnc.org with any questions regarding these policies.

    • Groups or individuals must contact the UP office to arrange entry and escort. Access will be limited to daylight hours and at the availability of Conservancy staff.
    • Access into the preserve will be based on the size of the power driven mobility device.
    • OPDMD’s no larger than a standard passenger car, truck or SUV (and no wider than 80 inches from outer wheel to outer wheel) are allowed access on the gravel two-track road for 0.4 miles to the Conservancy branding sign at the base of hill that leads to Echo Lake and viewpoint.
    • Small OPDMD’s may access the gravel road an additional 200 feet up the small hill to the viewpoint at the discretion of Conservancy staff if the OPDMD is deemed small enough to safely ascend and descend this narrow, rocky steep road section and turn around, avoiding damage to sensitive environments and if the rider requests to do so.
  • Questions?

    Have questions about the preserve? Contact Shaun Howard, TNC protected lands project manager in Michigan.

Lake surrounded by autumn trees and lichen covered rock
Echo Lake Because the surrounding area has limited human development, it provides a relatively large, unbroken landscape for wildlife. © Ellie Scholtz/TNC

Background

The Nature Conservancy would like to thank the J. A. Woollam Foundation for its generous gift to the residents of Michigan. Now, this undeveloped inland lake area with its sweeping views of Lake Superior, unique woodlands and critical habitat will be protected in perpetuity for both humans and wildlife.

TNC has worked closely with its conservation partners in the area, including the Michigan Nature Association, the Upper Peninsula Land Conservancy and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) to ensure that existing high-quality protected areas in the region such as this are preserved alongside large working landscapes and compatible use areas. The preserve is adjacent forest lands protected by a conservation easement through the Northern Great Lakes Forest Project an innovative working lands approach to conservation.

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Explore Via Audio Tour

Our guided audio tours include stories, fun facts, historical notes and natural sounds to help deepen your connection to the world. You can access the tour from the comfort of your home, or onsite as you hike.

Th Echo Lake Preserve tour takes you on an out-and-back journey to the peninsula overlook, about a 1 hour walk round trip. Or, you can add in some steeper hiking to an overlook with stunning views of the surrounding forestland and Lake Superior. This view is particularly spectacular in the “leaf-off” periods—spring, winter and late fall. This option takes about 1 and a half hours to walk round trip.

Experience the Wild of Echo Lake (1:02:54) Can't make it in person? Tour the preserve virtually via this Echo Lake webinar or try our audio tour.

Keep Exploring

From shifting sand dunes to granite bald mountains, explore over 35 preserves and reserves spread across the state of Michigan.

Find More Places We Protect

The Nature Conservancy owns nearly 1,500 preserves covering more than 2.5 million acres across all 50 states. These lands protect wildlife and natural systems, serve as living laboratories for innovative science and connect people to the natural world.

See the Complete Map

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