Up until the late 1950’s, Summit Peak in the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park was thought to be the tallest peak in Michigan. Back then, it was known as ” the peak one mile south of Mirror Lake”. Thinking it was the highest point in Michigan at 1958 feet above sea level, the name ‘State Summit’ was decided upon. It was discovered shortly after that Mt. Curwood, 100 miles to the east, was 20 feet taller. At that point, the name ‘State Summit’ was changed to Summit Peak. It was then discovered in 1982 that Mt. Curwood’s neighbor, Mt. Arvon, was 11 inches taller. Granted, these two peaks are in some fairly remote wilderness, but it is still remarkable that those numbers were not officially surveyed until the year we were married! With that being said, neither Mt. Curwood or Mt. Arvon has any sort of structure at the top of them. Summit Peak has a 40 foot tower, which puts an observer at the top of Michigan! The only people possibly getting above that point are radio tower workers. 🙂
After exploring the Presque Isle River on Tuesday, we decide to check out Summit Peak on our way back to camp.
The trail to the top of Summit Peak begins at a paved parking area at the end of Summit Peak Road. It is a fairly easy 1/2 mile climb through an old growth hardwood forest to the top via a gravel pathway, wooden boardwalk and stairs.
Two thirds of the way up, we came to the Lake Superior Overlook.
To offer some perspective, this photo is looking northwest. Lake of the Clouds and the Escarpment Overlook are hidden by the ridge a few miles away. Lake Superior can be seen in the distance.
Heading back into the woods, we came to this sign.
1958…hey, that’s the year we were born! 🙂
After climbing quite a few stairs, the tower came into view.
With the tower being 40 feet high, the climber’s eye level ends up to be higher than 2000 feet above sea level.
What a view! If you pull in the horizon on the above panorama, you can see Wisconsin’s Apostle Islands in the distance.
Back towards the east are the Huron Mountains. Somewhere out there are Mt. Curwood and Mt. Arvon.
Below us, we could see a preview of what is coming soon.
It won’t be long before the entire area is ablaze with fall colors!
On the way back down, Diana spotted this beauty.
This is Indian Pipe, known also as Corpse Plant of Ghost Plant. It lacks chlorophyll, therefore it has no color to it. With the forest being old growth, the floor was fairly wide open and easy to see across. That made it easy for us to not only see wildflowers, but to also keep an eye out for bears!
We also spotted this Downy Woodpecker working away on a tree.
So while Summit Peak may not officially be the highest peak in Michigan, it’s tower does offer the highest mountaintop vista available in the state. Make sure to take the time to check it out if you are in the area!