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Places We Protect

Helmut & Candis Stern Preserve at Mt. Baldy

Michigan

A bald, rocky hilltop with views of forested hills and a lake in the distance.
Summit of Mt. Baldy View from top of the Helmut and Candis Stern Preserve at Mt. Baldy. © Jason Whalen/Big Foot Media

Mt. Baldy is the largest and least disturbed of only a handful of balds remaining in the Keweenaw Peninsula.

Overview

Description

Northern bald communities are extremely rare in Michigan and only occur around the Keweenaw from Isle Royale to Gogebic County. Mt. Baldy is unique because it harbors a variety of plant life at its peak, where treeless openings result in rare plant species scattered amongst wind-contorted white cedar and juniper. It also accommodates an amazing array of bird species that pass over the site during their annual migration.

Preserve Views

For sightseeing: take Brockway Mountain Drive between Eagle Harbor and Copper Harbor; there is a little turn-off on the side of the road, right next to a preserve sign that offers a spectacular view of Mt. Baldy. To experience a spectacular view of Lake Bailey and the summit of Mt. Baldy, drive on M-26 between Eagle Harbor and Copper Harbor.

Access

OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

Highlights

Stunning mountaintop views of Lake Superior, rare northern bald communities, and an amazing array of bird species

Explore our work in Michigan

In Memory of Nicole Bloom

In 2006, TNC dedicated the main ridge trail as a memorial to Nicole Bloom. Nicole was a Michigan Tech student who was active in many environmental issues but sadly died in a mountain climbing accident the summer after she graduated.

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.

The hike through Helmut & Candis Stern Preserve at Mt. Baldy is one of the most strenuous on any of The Nature Conservancy’s preserves in Michigan. About six-and-a-half miles round trip, it will take you to the very top of Mt. Baldy and back, so allow at least three hours for your visit. Along the way, you'll hear interesting facts and things to look out for on “Lookout Mountain.”

Spotlight on Nature (3:52) Check out our audio tours to explore the Helmut & Candis Stern Preserve at Mt. Baldy virtually.

Plan Your Visit

  • When to Visit

    The preserve is open year round. However, late summer and early fall are the best times to visit to avoid the irritation of the biting insects that come out in the early summer.

  • What to Bring

    Hiking boots are recommended for walking the trails and shoreline of this preserve. Insect repellant and full coverage clothing/bug nets are recommended in the early summer months to protect against biting insects.

  • Trail Info

    Please park in the established parking lot. From here, hike 1.6 miles to the preserve boundary. It is another 1.4 miles to the top of Mt. Baldy. The hike up Mt. Baldy is a steady, uphill 3-mile climb. It can take 2 hours to reach the summit, but the views of Lake Superior and the Keweenaw Peninsula are well worth it!  

    Because of the thin soils, which cause shallow rooting and harsh conditions, vegetation can be extremely slow to recover or reestablish following excessive trampling. Please stay on the trail.

  • Permitted Activities
    • Foot access for hiking, snowshoeing, bird watching, etc.
    • Educational studies, photography, journaling 
    • Hunting (with TNC-issued permit and Michigan hunting license) 
  • Prohibited Activities
    • No motorized and non-motorized vehicles, including bicycles
    • No pets
    • No building of new trails
    • No geocaching (see list of TNC-approved geocache sites) 
    • No removal of trees, plants or animals (alive or dead)
    • No removal of rocks, water or other non-organic materials
    • No camping, bonfires, fireworks or other fires
    • No littering
  • Hunting

    The Nature Conservancy allows hunting for white-tail deer on this preserve to reduce threats too many deer pose to our conservation targets. All hunters are required to receive a permit from TNC as well as a Michigan deer hunting license. Additionally, hunters must report any deer taken from the preserve.

  • Questions?

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

The view of a forest, bright blue lake, and cloudy sky.
Mt Baldy, Michigan Helmut and Candis Stern Preserve at Mt. Baldy © Jason Whalen/Big Foot Media

Background

Towering 730 feet above Lake Superior in northern Keweenaw County near Eagle Harbor and Lake Bailey, the mountain offers spectacular panoramic views of Lake Superior and the Keweenaw Peninsula.

With a watchful eye and binoculars, you may spot local inhabitants such the black bear, snowshoe hare, peregrine falcon, ruffed grouse, golden-crowned kinglet, black-throated green warbler and yellow-rumped warbler.

Keep Exploring

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

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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

Make a Lasting Impact

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