It’s been said, the ORV trails on Drummond Island are some of the most scenic and rugged trails the State of Michigan has to offer an off-road enthusiast. With over 117 miles of trail laid out in a closed loop system, Drummond’s DNR sponsored, ORV trails/routes provide a wide range of riding opportunities. ORV/OHV riders will discover many island trails that run along stone ridges carved out by Lake Huron and the last ice age.
Photo by M. Olmstead
Or discover a boreal forest growing around glacial rock deposits and listen to the shale rock from ancient beaches now found deep in the island’s interior, clatter underneath their tires. At times, they’ll be lucky enough to see a hawk or eagle riding the thermals over an area the islander’s refer to as the “Knobs”. The “Knobs” are large, open, wind swept meadows with varying changes in elevation. (At times, rather sharply). OHV riders will quickly learn the terrain on Drummond will frequently command their full attention, be it the next obstacle in front of them or another hidden feature of the island’s landscape un-folding around them.
“Unique” is also a word often heard when someone describes Drummond’s trails. If challenging trails set deep into a boreal forest, can be considered a treasure, then Drummond Island is Michigan’s mother lode. Surrounded by the waters of Lake Huron, in a true wilderness setting, the riding experience is un-paralleled by any other place in Michigan. With abundant wild life, lush vegetation and sweeping vistas; the trails on Drummond are truly special.
However, they’re not suited for every style of riding, because of the various stone and rock formations, the ride at times will be demanding. 4x4’s do best here, more than one chain and sprocket has been replaced due to an untimely encounter with one of Drummond’s “hard heads”, so beware. Much of the trail system is side x side friendly, between the ORV routes (72 inches wide) and select ORV trails (50 inches wide) side x sides have ample trail to explore.
Photo by M. Olstead
Early in the spring of 2008, Yamaha Motor Corporation sent two representatives to Drummond Island to explore and ride the island’s trails. When they were finished, one of the members of the Drummond Island Off-Road Club asked Pat Biolsi, a professional corporate rider, his opinion of the trails; he grinned as he said: “It was a really great ride, you guys have a little bit of everything here”. Coming from a man who has ridden all over the USA and parts of the world for Yamaha Motors... those words should be considered a solid compliment and a terrific summary.
Later that same fall, Drummond Island was fortunate to receive the Yamaha OHV Access Initiative Grant. As some of you may know, the grant is provided by Yamaha to promote safe, responsible and sustainable OHV riding. Yamaha Motors saw what kind of trail system the Island has to offer and felt it was worthy enough to contribute help and lend its support. Yamaha’s grant, coupled with the support also provided by the Sault Tribe of Chippewa Indians and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, has enabled the Drummond Island Off-Road Club (DIORC) to create a legal, safe and unique OHV trail system in the middle of Lake Huron for the riding public to experience and enjoy. All the DIORC asks of those who come here to ride, is that you stay on the marked trails, stay off the shoreline and out of the water, obey the State’s ORV laws and help us protect the Island’s environment for the next rider.
Things to know..
While riding on Drummond Island : it is illegal to--
Operate an ORV on any wet lands, to include lakes, shorelines, swamps, bogs, marshes (wet or dry), streams or rivers, or ride on Great Lakes shoreline or beaches.
Operate an ORV off the marked trail. (Consult the DNR ORV handbook for further information)
Operate an ORV on private property, posted or not posted, unless you have permission from the land owner.
Operate an ORV on any State Highway. (M-134)
Operate an ORV under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Operate an ORV without a helmet.
Operate an ORV with a passenger on a one up machine.
Operate an ORV on a closed snowmobile trail or ski trail.
All Drummond Township and Chippewa County roads are open to ORV traffic.
ORV Speed limits are 25 mph on all county roads unless posted lower.
You must ride single file on the far right side of the road.
Consult the DNR ORV handbook for detailed information and all State of Michigan ORV regulations.
Remember, keep it legal, keep it between the trees or on the road and keep it safe.
The Steps at Marble Head
Photo by M. Olmstead
Leading into Marble Head, these rock shelves guard the approach to the over look viewing the False Detour Channel and Cockburn Island, ON., Canada and are well known by off-road enthusiasts all over Michigan.
Glen Cove Beach by Betty Bailey
Glen Cove Beach is located on the eastern end of Drummond Island. From the Visitor’s Center at the Four Corners proceed east on Johnswood Road (approximately 6.5 miles) to the left hand turn onto Kreetan Road. When Kreetan Road intersects with Turkey Ranch Road make a sharp right onto Glen Cove Road (sometimes referred to as Sheep Ranch Road). Johnswood Road is paved and the Kreetan/Glen Clove Road is hard packed gravel, you can make this trip in a 2 wheel passenger car, a bicycle, or an ATV. From Johnswood Road/Kreetan Road/Glen Cove Road continue six miles and make a left hand turn to the Glen Cove Beach parking lot. Here you will find a large farm gate denying access to the beach by motorized vehicles. No mater, the view opens up to a large half-moon shaped cove, with sand beaches on the left and right and small “hard heads” on the rest of the one mile arc. It’s easy walking the entire distance and the kids enjoy looking for the pretty colored stones.
Since this is state property, camping is allowed with the proper DNR Camp Registration Card. This can be picked up at the Drummond Island Visitor’s Center or your local DNR office (they are free, but required).Tent camping is permitted on the beach and you may also build a campfire; be sure to extinguish the fire if you leave your campsite. The floor of the swimming beach is sandy and extends out quite a distance; however, keep an alert eye on your children, as there are no lifeguards. See how many birds, butterflies or animals you find.
The sandy beach is great for launching your kayak or canoe for the cove is fairly sheltered from the wind. Intermediate kayakers would enjoy the 2.5 mile paddle from the Glen Cove Beach south to Pilot Harbor. Pilot Harbor is protected from the wind and since it is also state land, camping is permitted with the proper DNR Camp Registration Card.
The Glen Cove parking lot is a good place to leave your car if you are planning to hike the well marked trail to the MARBLE HEAD VIEWPOINT (six miles round trip). At the viewpoint you are 150 feet above the water on an outcropping of limestone looking into Lake Huron and two miles over to the Canadian island of Cockburn (pronounced Coburn).
Photo by J. Gibbons
By Betty Bailey
If you like to hike, mountain bike, or go ATVing, take a trip to Shale Beach. Located on the eastern shore 1.5 miles from the interchange at Marble Head Viewpoint, the beach is very wide and about 2 miles in length. The beach has a rolling hills feeling, like sand dunes made up of small pure white rounded shale stones. From the beach you have a great view across the water to the Canadian island of Cockburn. Swimming is very dangerous here- the floor of the lake immediately drops off to 60 feet, then quickly drops another 125 feet. No matter, walk the beach, take a picnic, enjoy the scenery and views and skip a few of the stones
To get to Shale Beach from Four Corners, go east on Johnswood Road (approx. 6.5 miles), left on Kreetan Road, right on Glen Cove Road to the parking lot at Glen Cove Beach (approx. 6 miles). Leave your car here- hike or mountain bike to Shale Beach.
If you are utilizing an ATV, you can cover the entire distance from Four Corners without parking at the Glen Cove Beach.
The Meadows Trail
Here you’ll find rolling meadows, in the summer they’re filled with wild flowers. Stay on the trail.Hidden just under the grass are huge rocks dropped by melting glaciers.
Plan for a good day's ride if you choose this trail. It contains numerous challenges but it's worth the effort, it's been said this trail has it all.
The Tight Twisty's
This is a tight, winding, difficult trail that runs down along and over rock ridges on a heavily wooded slope.
Fourth Lake Overlook
A scenic view of Fourth Lake and surrounding area.