While we know our visitors come from near and far to take in our breathtaking leaves this time of year, there is another type of tourist who enjoys a different thrill entirely. These adrenaline junkies visit the Upper Peninsula in hopes of witnessing rumors firsthand. Lurking in the woods at night, palms sweating, heartbeat racing. They jump at the sound of a tree rustling in the whistling wind or a branch breaking in the distance. Maybe you’re one of these visitors. Searching for ghosts deep in our forests? We can’t confirm whether these remnant spirits are waiting for you, but we can send you their way on these Upper Peninsula creepy hikes.
Nonesuch Mine Trail
This spooky hike takes you through the ruins of an abandoned mining town in the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park. The eerie Nonesuch Mine Trail can be accessed via South Boundary Road off M-107. An out-and-back path, the trail extends for just over a mile round trip with mostly level terrain.
Don’t be fooled by its location in a popular state park though. The Mine Trail meanders through the ghost town remains of a former copper mining town that called this space home, Nonesuch. After opening and closing 5 times in its 45 years in operation, it shuttered for good. As you traipse through, find the remnants of the mine itself and the town that housed its workers. Sure these are just bricks buried in moss and other growth, but who’s to say the buildings are the only things left behind? Decide for yourself in the silence.
Seul Choix Pointe Lighthouse
Anyone can travel to Gulliver and tour the Seul Choix Pointe Lighthouse, but when you go, you may encounter the ghost of its former keeper Captain Joseph Wille Townsend. To reach the lighthouse, from U.S. Highway 2 in Gulliver, head south on County Road 432 (Gulliver Point Inland Road). Turn right onto the gravel County Road 431. The lighthouse is four miles from there.
If you take a tour and catch a whiff of what smells like smoke, it could be argued the old keeper is watching over your tour. Townsend was the keeper from 1902-1910. He died upstairs in the bedroom. In his time living, he was forbidden by his wife to smoke his cigars — so he does it in his afterlife. Townsend has also been said to move silverware around and climb the lighthouse steps. He is forever at work.
Some argue that the spirit is not his at all, however. Rather, it is a fisherman or sailor who lost their life in the nearby waters. The lighthouse is placed atop a limestone shoal that runs 100 yards into the lake. One sight of the breaking waves and angry foam prove just how dangerous this shoal was to passing ships. But it was the only harbor for miles in this segment of Lake Michigan. Take a hike through the .3 miles of lakeside trails surrounding the lighthouse. But beware, spirits may be searching for you as much as you are for them.
The Old Catholic Cemetery
What happens when hundreds of bodies are removed from one cemetery and placed elsewhere? Some get left behind. At least that’s the case with the Old Catholic Cemetery in West Marquette. When Catholic settlers first made their way to Marquette, the cemetery was established near the intersection of County Road 553 and Pioneer Road. The tombstones dated as early as the mid-1850s. Women who died during childbirth were buried here, as well as many children who died before they were 4 years old. But in the early 1900s, the cemetery moved to Holy Cross Catholic Cemeteries on Wright Street. But not all of the bodies on record were found at the old site.
The remains of a Catholic cemetery are no more than a sign, path and small cross that meets the eye. Stick around at nightfall. Local neighbors say the spirits who remain cause commotion, shouting and sobbing — hoping to find the family members who were taken from them.
Haunted Trail at Sawmill Creek in Paradise
Creepy hikes shouldn’t be limited to the older thrill seekers! We have something perfect for the family with young children who are enthusiastic about the spooky vibes the Halloween season brings: Sawmill Creek Township Park’s Haunted Trail. The haunted trail is decorated for visitors the second weekend of October on Friday and Saturday from 7-10 p.m. Ghouls, goblins, and gremlins dance among the pumpkins, pines, and pitchforks. Admission is $8. Souvenirs, snacks and beverages are available on sight for additional costs. Have a spookin’ good time!
Paulding Mystery Light
For some night time activity, drive four miles south of Paulding to Robbins Pond Road. Keep going straight to the barrier, turn off your car lights and wait for the mysterious light to appear on the horizon. Decide for yourself if it is real or imagined, ghosts or not? The deafening silence and pitch dark around you may make you second guess your theories.
Mackinac Island Trail Lore
Many visitors to the Upper Peninsula also spend time in Mackinac Island, a destination that is car-less and partially operating as it would have in the 1800s. Its charm means several people make a return trip in their lifetime. But, they aren’t the only ones. Legend has it, some spirits may be lingering in their after life, too. Lore includes ghosts of soldiers at Fort Mackinac and Fort Holmes who are on watch still, a lovelorn student from Mackinac College and a young girl named Lucy who frequents Anne’s Tablet on the Crows Nest Trail and Pine Cottage. Not to mention, several soldiers, residents and Native Americans have been buried across the island over centuries. Some of them are said to linger around their graves. Be respectful of the burial sites. If you choose to explore the island at night, you and your friends may meet Mackinac history in a way you never have before.
Fayette Historic State Park
Our last stop on the Garden Peninsula promises similar spooks to Mackinac Island. Fayette Historic State Park is a well-preserved ghost town in Garden. Once a bustling industrial community that manufactured charcoal pig iron from 1867 to 1891, Fayette remaining museum village features 20 structures including the furnace complex, charcoal kilns, machine shop, office, hotel, town hall, company store, superintendent's house and employees' homes. Each year, paranormal investigators put on a show to connect with the location’s past. But you can hike the five miles of hiking trails if you’d like to listen for these old souls, too.
Plan your paranormal hikes soon!
If creeps and crawls are your idea of a good time, then grab your flashlights and hiking boots soon. Book your stay, and head to the U.P. to investigate these haunts for yourself. If you come out on the other side, report your findings back to us.