» miners castle
I was expecting a tedious ski to Miners Castle since Miners Castle Road is perfectly straight for most of it's duration with only subtle hills. However, the snow was extremely fast so we could effortlessly glide along and the subtle hills sent us speeding downwards. The sun was shining bright and the temperature was just above freezing, a great day to be outside. Miners Castle is 7 miles RT in winter and it took us about 3 hours.

Miners Castle in horrible light.

The desinigrating ice shelf near Miners Castle.

Me on the edge (Photo by Megan).

Frosted pancake ice.

Pack ice and cliffs to the east.

Skiing in.

Cliffs to the west.

Grand Island.

» munising

Munsing Bay at sunset.

» straits of mackinac
This was the second time I had driven over the bridge at sunset and both times the sky and water/ice were a brilliant blue with a pinkish orange band of color along the horizon. These are some of the most memorable sunsets I've seen and they have made me appreciate the cheesy Michigan license plate that attempts to depict this scene (the bridge at sunset).

Mackinac Bridge.

Left: Mackinac Island. Right: Mackinac City Lighthouse.

Left: The bridge in daylight. Right: Views of ice floes through the railing, hundreds of feet below.

» cut river gorge
I always enjoy the drive along Highway 2 where it hugs the Lake Michigan shore. During this time of year you can see all of the various ice floes on the lake and as we were driving over the Cut River I noticed an ice pile just offshore. So, I ran down the 421 steps to the shore to have a closer look.

The view from above. The Cut River's entrance into Lake Michgan is in the bottom right.

Broken slabs of ice on Lake Michigan near the Cut River. The thicker the ice is, the more blue it becomes, this ice was about 12 inches thick.

When the lake ice gets pushed ashore or into another slab of ice by wind or some other force (I prefer to think of invisible penguins) it creates pressure ridges, like this.

For scale, see the person standing on the left side of the ice pile.

Left: The Cut River Gorge bridge. Right: Closeup view of the ice.


< Back to Photos & Trip Reports

» all photo reports from michigan's upper peninsula

Thinking about traveling to Pictured Rocks yourself? You might want to read my guide to Pictured Rocks.

Ice Climbing, Michigan
March 4 - 5, 2011
Ice Climbing at Pictured Rocks with a side trip to Miners Castle.
Ice Climbing, Michigan
March 4 - 5, 2010
Ice climbing in the Sand Point area of Pictured Rocks.
The Upper Peninsula, Michigan
October 2 - 11, 2009
Enjoying fall in the Upper Peninsula from Pictured Rocks to the Porcupine Mountains to the Keweenaw Peninsula.
Mackinac Island, Michigan
October 3, 2009
Spending a short day on the island and enjoying the views, even without the influence of fudge.
Pictured Rocks, Michigan
March 7 - 9, 2008
Skiing & snowshoeing in the Miners Castle & Grand Sable Dunes areas. We also checked out the ice in Grand Marais & Mackinac Straits.
Pictured Rocks, Michigan
March 17, 2007
Hiking along the ice shelf from Twelvemile Beach to Spray Falls.
Pictured Rocks, Michigan
January 27, 2007
Skiing & hiking the Chapel Loop in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore on a stormy day.
Pictured Rocks, Michigan
March 2 - 4, 2006
Ice climbing and skiing in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.
Pictured Rocks, Michigan
January 7, 2006
A backcountry ski trip to the remote lakeshore cliffs of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.
Pictured Rocks, Michigan
July 3 - 4, 2005
Hiking in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, and checking out some of the other sights in the area.
Pictured Rocks, Michigan
February 25 - 26, 2011
Backpacking the Chapel Loop in winter, with a side trip to Spray Falls.
Bare Bluff, Michigan
October 8, 2009
A fall hike to Bare Bluff, one of the more scenic areas of the Keweenaw Peninsula.
Pictured Rocks, Michigan
October 4 - 11, 2009
Some stormy fall weather along the Pictured Rocks lakeshore.
Ice Climbing, Michigan
February 25 - 27, 2009
Ice climbing in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.
Pictured Rocks, Michigan
August 30 - September 2, 2007
Back to the Great Lakes with a rare summer visit to Pictured Rocks to see what it all looks like when it's green.
Mackinac Straits & Pictured Rocks, Michigan
March 16 - 18, 2007
Skiing to Miners Castle, lingering in the Straits of Mackinac, and some other stuff.
Pictured Rocks in Fall, Michigan
October 7, 2006
Hiking the Chapel Loop & checking out other sights like Spray Falls, Miners Castle, Miners Beach, Munising Falls, Grand Sable Dunes, etc.
Pictured Rocks, Michigan
February 19 - 20, 2006
Skiing & snowshoeing the Pictured Rocks backcountry. Areas visited include: Miners Castle, Miners Beach, Twelvemile Beach, and Spray Falls.
The Upper Peninsula, Michigan
December 26 - 28, 2005
Winter pictures from Tahquamenon Falls State Park and Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.