South Manitou Island | Additional Information
Holiday Book & Map Sale!
Tis the season … to scramble around looking for last minute stocking stuffers. We’re here to help. MichiganTrailMaps.com is having its first holiday sale. Throughout December if you order a book, we’ll throw in one of our new trail maps, a $4.95 value!
Order any book from our e-shop — maybe Isle Royale National Park: Foot Trails & Water Routes, Backpacking In Michigan or 12 Classic Trout Streams in Michigan for that fly fishing friend of yours — and make sure you fill in the "Autograph Book For" section with who you want author Jim DuFresne to dedicate it to or what to write.
Then fill in the “Name of Free Trail Map” box to let us know which map to send you. It could be Jordan River Pathway, Manistee River Trail & North Country Trail or our newest that just arrived from the printer, South Manitou Island. You’ll receive a personalized Christmas gift for somebody and a detailed map for next summer's adventure. All at a very affordable price. Ho, ho, ho!
South Manitou Island
Produced with the National Park Service, our South Manitou Island map is the most detailed and accurate available. The large format map measures 11 by 17 inches, is printed on durable card stock and is coated to be water resistant. Includes all trail posts, distance markers, historic buildings, ruins and shipwrecks. Best of all, when folded it fits in your back pocket or the side pouch of your pack.
Part of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, South Manitou Island is located 18 miles west of Leland and is the southernmost island of a Lake Michigan archipelago that stretches northeast to the Straits of Mackinac and includes North Manitou Island and Beaver Island.
South Manitou’s most impressive features are the perched dunes along its west side that rise more than 400 feet above Lake Michigan and the lighthouse, boathouses and other historic buildings of a former U.S. Lifesaving Station. Scattered inland are old farmhouses, barns, a schoolhouse and other remains of the island’s agricultural past while just offshore are several shipwrecks.
The 5,260-acre island is also laced with 20 miles of trails and primitive roads that provide day hikers and campers access to various historic sites and natural features, including a stand of old growth white cedars, as well as three walk-in campgrounds.
South Manitou is reached is via a ferry from Leland and during the summer is a tropical-like paradise with crescent-shaped beaches, calm, turquoise water and a slow, idyllic pace to it. There is no food service or stores on the island and campers must arrive fully equipped with food, rain gear, sun protection, tents and other equipment they require.
South Manitou is home to two shipwrecks that can be viewed without strapping on a scuba tank. The Francisco Morazan is a 246-foot freighter that sank during a storm on Nov. 23,1960. A third of it is above water and easily viewed from the shore. Even more popular is the Three Brothers. The 162-foot wooden streamer ran aground in 1911 near the South Manitou Lighthouse and now lies on the steep slope just 30 yards offshore. Because her bow is in fairly shallow water, it has become Michigan’s top snorkeling attraction.
Ferry service to South Manitou Island is through Manitou Island Transit and is offered May through October. The best place for information is the Philip Hart Visitor Center (231-326-5134; www.nps.gov/slbe) in Empire.