Paddle Turnip Rock – 5 Things to Know


IMG_0171[1]One of the most amazing sites in the Upper Thumb is Turnip Rock. Carved over time by the force of constant wave action the soft limestone has been shaped to its namesake and separated from the mainland over thousands of years. CNN called it one of the most amazing rock formations in America and Pure Michigan featured it on it’s 2016 magazine cover. It’s a marvel to behold and it’s an easy trip if the conditions are right.


Five Things to Know

Its Location – Despite its uniqueness as a natural wonder it located and surrounded by private land. Thus the only way to access it is from the water. Fortunately that can easily be achieved by canoe or kayak. This means that you can’t go feet dry. Stay in the water of you must get out of our kayak. (Unless its an emergency)

Paddling  Near the Rock – During the weekends the number of paddlers can get quite large. If the area around the rock is crowded consider paddling a few hundred yards past and view the overhangs and cave features that border the Pointe Aux Barques community.  During the late 1800’s the cave where hideouts for fugitives. It’s worth taking a few minutes to explore.  IMG_0186[1]You may be tempted to get out of your kayak and climb the rocks for a view. This is a no-no and there are several signs reminding not to trespass. (IMHO these signs are obtrusive, and possibly illegal as they are posted past the high water mark of Lake Huron)

Weather and Travel Time – Plan on 2-3 hours total travel time to the Rock from Port Austin. This assumes that the winds and lake are calm. You will paddle north-east along the shallow coastline until you see the small cliffs that mark the start of Pointe Aux Barques. If the wind is strong and the there are waves it’s a wise idea to defer to another day. Novice paddlers have been pushed by southern winds out into the lake requiring assistance or rescue.

IMG_0187[1]What to Bring– Life jacket, Sunglasses, sunscreen, small towel, cell phone and a dry bag. Bring water and something to munch on. Water shoes are also highly recommended. Its not s strenuous trip but winds and weather can make it a challenge for the unprepared.


Leave No Trace – Leaving no trace is everyone’s responsibility. While paddling to the rock remember to minimize your impact so it can be enjoyed for the next generation. Here are the seven principles of Leave No Trace.

  • Plan Ahead and Prepare. …
  • Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces. …
  • Dispose of Waste Properly (Pack It In, Pack It Out) …
  • Leave What You Find. …
  • Minimize Campfire Impacts. …
  • Respect Wildlife. …
  • Be Considerate of Other Visitors.

 

 

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