Echo Lake Nature Preserve

Echo Lake consists of largely unmodified natural systems: forested uplands and riparian areas.

Open to the Public


Things To Do

This land will be open for foot access and activities such as hiking, snowshoeing, bird watching, carry-in boating, and catch and release fishing. View All

Plan Your Visit

Located in Marquette County in the Upper Peninsula View All

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 The biologically rich and varied habitats of the 480-acre Echo Lake Nature Preserve include intact, diverse and old forests, dramatic granite bald mountains or bedrock outcroppings, wetlands, creeks, three high rock ponds and Echo Lake. A landscape of dramatic contours of exposed bedrock with high bluffs frames the western shore of the approximately 20-acre headwater lake. The woods surrounding Echo Lake is a mixed deciduous and conifer forest that includes some large trees on rock out¬croppings. Harlow Creek flows from its headwaters at Echo Lake, takes in water from Harlow Lake and empties into Lake Superior. Vistas from the highest areas of exposed bedrock on the south side include Hogsback Mountain, Little Presque Isle, and Lake Superior. 

Why the Conservancy Selected This Site

  • Relatively undisturbed natural land within the headwaters of the Harlow Creek watershed, which has a Class A water quality ranking. Protection of the property in its undeveloped and open space condition helps to ensure the quality and quantity of water resources for the region.
  • Echo Lake, the primary water source of Harlow Creek, is a 20-acre natural lake surrounded by a landscape of dramatic relief with high bluffs of exposed bedrock. The site also provides watershed protection for several high elevation glacial lakes.
  • Large areas, comprising roughly 25 percent of the property, of relatively tree-less open granite balds or outcroppings dominated by a stunted white pine/red oak forest community type could contain several state-rare plant species including: pine-drops, purple cliff-brake, dwarf bilberry, narrow-leaved gentian, and big-leaf sandwort.
  • Premiere upland habitat for a variety of nesting neotropical migrants (alder flycatcher, oven bird, black-throated blue and green warbler, and magnolia warbler).
  • Significant stands of relatively mature northern hardwood/eastern hemlock forest types with little or no timber cutting for the past 50 years. A rare stand of very large and dense eastern hemlock offers crucial “thermal cover” for large mammals in harsh Upper Peninsula winters.

What the Conservancy Has Done/Is Doing
The Michigan Nature Association concurrently holds a Conservation Easement over the property which was donated to the Association by the J.A. Woollam Foundation prior to the land gift to the Conservancy. Conservation Easements can play an important role in providing an extra level of conservation protection to existing Nature Preserves.

The Conservancy has worked closely with its conservation partners in the area, including Upper Peninsula Land Conservancy and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) to protect both key parcels and large working landscapes. The preserve is adjacent to the Northern Great Lakes Forest working conservation easement (#5) and MDNR land. The goal is to create a compatible use core around existing high quality protected areas such as the Little Garlic Wilderness owned and managed by the MDNR. 

Echo Lake Nature Preserve has a full time outreach intern every summer so we can offer several unique hikes and outings on the preserve. Please see our Events and Field Trips page to find out more.

Echo Lake offers activities year round, from snow-shoeing 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. 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. 

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.

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 hunting or 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

Plan Your Visit
Please see "Preserve Visitation Guidelines."
Download a PDF version of this webpage for printing.

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.

From Marquette, Michigan:

  • Take County Road 550 north toward Big Bay.
  • Approximately 7.5 miles from Marquette, head west on a two track road. The east property boundary is approximately 1.5 miles from County Road 550.
  • Visitors must park at the gate and continue on foot to the lake



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