Tidbits: Highest point in Michigan
Summitted, May 18, 2009
Time Zone: GMT -6 hours
When to go:
Drive on secondary and logging roads, then a short hike to the summit.
Hotel and Climb Reservation:
No guide, permit, or trail reservations are required.
Nothing special, but I would suggest taking a compass and extra food and water in case you get stuck on the approach roads and have to hike out.
It ain't easy...you will want to get to the town of L'Anse, Michigan. From there, turn onto Main street, which will become Skanee Road. Proceed 16 miles to Church road (on the right, next to...a church). Proceed down Church Road, which is well maintained. Church Road will become Roland Lake Road. Follow the Road to Roland Lake (about 3 miles) and make a right onto the less maintained Ravine River Road. Go about 6 miles until you come to a T intersection. Make a right. Here's where it gets tricky...these are logging roads and there are many branches that change as the area is logged. There WERE signs to the highpoint every now and then, but the best advice I can give is continue following what appears to be the "main" road (you are on rutted gravel at this point but still easily passable with a 2-wheel drive passenger car).
You will pass through two gravel pits along the way and a rickety wooden bridge. Eventually you will come to a "T" intersection and you will want to make a right. My recollection at this point, is that after a few hundred feet there is another road to the right, but the road becomes quite bad and you will need to proceed cautiously in a two wheel drive vehicle (or a four wheel drive vehicle, depending upon rain, snow, ice, and road conditions). If the road looks bad (remember there is NO cell service and it is a 15 mile hike to the highway), you should consider parking here and walking about a mile to the trailhead. When I went in May, I was able (barely) to make it to the trailhead in my two-wheel drive car.
After a harrowing trip down 15 miles of twisty gravel and dirt roads, I was able to reach the trailhead of Mount Arvon. There is a nice lake located here and one obvious trail to the summit. The trail proceeds about 3/4 of a mile to the summit area with 300 feet of vertical gain. There are no views at the actual summit, but you can walk a short distance to the north and have rather nice views of the forest and countryside. There is a trail register here and it appeared that the summit was only visited at weekly intervals on weekends so I had the place completely to myself.
You need to be cautious on your approach. If you get stuck on the approach road it is a LONG walk (a full day) to the main road. I also did not pass a single car once I left the highway. It is quite easy to get lost on the twisty approach roads, which change as the logging activities change, so pay attention to your route in case you make a wrong turn.
One of the many logging roads you need to navigate to get to the trailhead
One of two large gravel pits you pass enroute to the trailhead
The last section of road...4 wheel drives only (it gets steeper, ruttier, and muddier as you go further up)