Little Presque Isle is such an incredibly dynamic and beautiful place to watch sunrise, that it is my favorite sunrise location in and around Marquette County, the home for almost all of this project.
At the point, you often experience square waves, meaning two sets of waves coming from different directions, creating this appealing crosshatch pattern on the water. On the other hand, sometimes it’s glassy calm to north of the island while violent to the south, and can just the opposite on other days.
Standing at the point you can be in the middle of some intense winds, something I love to experience in the outdoors. At the point you can be exposed to the harsh conditions of winter, but if it gets to be too much you can take a few steps into the calm thicket of white pines.
One long beach is beautiful sand, the other no sand at all, only sandstone. To the south is view of Sugarloaf Mountain.
This journey has a strong emphasis on solitude, and it’s rare to bump into anyone else at sunrise when at Little Presque.
And of course, there’s the island itself. In addition to wide range of conditions Superior presents at this location, the island is the most dynamic characteristic through the seasons. In the summer, standing at the point, it will rise directly behind the island, so you have to walk some distance down the beach to see the sun. In the winter it’s so far to the south, it’s hard to believe the sun comes that far north in summer.
Little Presque is one of many sunrise destinations driving up County Road 550. Sugarloaf and Wetmore Landing lead up to it, but there are other highlights like Harlow Lake, Echo Lake, and the Songbird Trail.
You may think, if I love it so much, why aren’t there more sunrises there? It’s just enough of a distance, that it requires an extra commitment in the morning, and I’m happy about that. The extra effort to get there immediately out of bed, helps to maintain the special place it holds for me, as I don’t ever get burned out from being there too often.
There is some amount of hypocrisy in labeling these sunrises as Little Presque Isle. My rule of thumb for defining the location of sunrise has been where I was standing when I took the photo, and not what the photo is of. Only once have I actually been standing on the Island for sunrise. Technically, this should be labeled Little Presque Isle Day Use Area.
Named after its larger sibling five miles to the southeast, Presque Isle, I have one looming question. Presque translates to almost, which makes sense for Presque Isle, which is clearly connected by a road and more. But Little Presque is very much an island (or a tombolo at best when the water is very low), so why do we call it an almost island?
Sunrising at Little Presque Isle? Here are a few pointers.
- From Marquette, plan to give yourself an extra 25 minutes, this means leaving about 45 minutes before sunrise.
- If it’s winter, you likely won’t be able to drive into the parking lot. You’ll be able to easily park across the road and walk the rest of the way. From the road it’s about a 0.6 mile walk, which will add upwards of 15 minutes.
- Bring a hammock
- Enjoy a variety of ice formations in the winter, just be careful!
- Walk the beach to Harlow Creek.
- Walk to Wetmore Landing. This is a 3-mile hike roundtrip that hugs the shoreline of Lake Superior and is one of my favorite walks along Superior.
- Explore the white pines, and be on the lookout for the super bendy one.
📍 46° 38' 8" N, -87° 28' 4" W