Gratiot River North


82 acres of north woods and 500 feet of isolated shoreline to welcome you after a two mile hike from the Trailhead. Contiguous with Gratiot River County Park.

Come lose yourself. You’ll find yourself.


Shortly after Gratiot River County Park was established in 2001, the owners of the 4,989’ of shoreline to north launched plans to develop 24 lakefront homes, with access via a bridge across the Gratiot River right through the middle of the new Park.  In 2003, the NWC borrowed $1.7 million (the loan was secured by the land and stocks, bonds, and other assets and notes pledged by NWC members) and purchased the land from the developers with the intention of holding the property for up to three years, until a conservation buyer could be found.

In 2005, Keweenaw County was awarded a Trust Fund Grant to add the bulk of the GRN parcel to the existing County Park (the remaining 82 acres is NWC Gratiot River North). The NWC wrote and administered the grant on behalf of the County and donated the 25% match ($677,00) by selling the Park Addition for 75% of its low state-appraised value. Most unfortunately, the grant funds were not delivered to the County until 2009 (four  years instead of the typical 6-9 months).  The “extra” 3 years of interest on the interim ownership loan and the low state-appraised value made this project go into the red, so the NWC now has an unanticipated sizable mortgage (also including SMP debt).  Despite the delay and extra cost, this project was well worth it.  Together we protected nearly a mile of wild, scenic, biologically diverse shoreline for the enjoyment of this and future generations, and together we will pay it off over time.

Don’t miss the story of “In the Moment,” a 4’x8’ master oil painted at GRN by renowned artist and NWC Board member Robert L Pence. Robert donated all the prints of this master work to the NWC to benefit GRN. Canvas Giclee prints are available in two sizes, 24x52 (250 s/n) and 41x90 (5 nearly full-size artist proofs).

To view the images below, double click on any photo or play slideshow. Directions to GRN at bottom of page.

Hiking Directions:  Park at the Gratiot River North Trailhead.  Walk in on the main two-track about a quarter mile, then bear left at the “Y” in the road (the right fork leads into Dore Woods).  Stay on the main drag for another 3/4 mile or so, where the road enters GRN.  Do not go left, it is private property (note the Please Respect Our Neighbors sign).  About 200 feet after entering GRN, the road swings right/east for about 1/4 mile (don’t go left, it leads to private property), then heads north and goes another 3/4 mile to the lake.  There is a winding footpath to the lake on the left about 200’ before the beaver pond (see map).  For a more direct path to the lake, cross the beaver pond and then make your way through the trees from the clearing on the road.  YES, we need help to lay out, clear, sign, and maintain trails! Remember, the property east and south of GRN is private.  Please stay on NWC/County property, and please stay on the trail easement as you enter and leave GRN.

Driving Directions:  Drive down to Lake Superior on Gratiot River Road, a graded county road, to Gratiot River County Park and then walk up the beach to GRN. From the mouth of the Gratiot River, there are about 2,000’ to the south and 6,489’ to the north of public access shoreline.  Beachcombers delight: everything north/east of the river is for non-motorized use.  See also the large map on the Trailhead page.

HOURS AND RULES  Open every day during daylight hours.  No fee.  Fires, camping, hunting, trapping, and motor vehicles are prohibited.  Horses welcome.

Printable GRN map and directions