Making The Most of Every Season
We believe in making the most of every season in Marquette County. We offer opportunities to explore beautiful spring in Marquette County through kayaking, biking, hiking, stand up paddle boarding, hunting for waterfalls and so much more! Our miles of extensive trails and amazing hikes to magnificent views offer everyone the chance to experience the beautiful spring season unique to the U.P. So what are you waiting for? This is your invitation to find your human nature in Marquette County, don’t let spring slip by without visiting one of Marquette County’s many magical waterfalls. Contact us at 906.228.7749 and ask for your very own copy of our hike & bike guide or waterfall maps.
Learn more about this spectacular event and others by visiting our calendar for upcoming events.
What's your human nature?The Catch and Cook Program
The Landmark Inn will be collaborating with the Day Break Charter fishing guides to offer a unique opportunity titled “Catch and Cook”. Participants will take part in a chartered fishing excursion, after which the Day Break Charter crew will transport the catch to the Landmark Inn to be prepared by their renowned chefs. The fishing adventures include offshore fishing trips to the famous Stannard Rock which is about 60 miles off shore from Marquette. If you are more interested in fishing closer to shore there is also the opportunity to fish for species such as Lake Trout, King Salmon, Coho Salmon, Steelhead, and Brown Trout. The beauty of the Marquette area surrounds you and fish are usually found within 5 miles of shore. All fishing tackle and gear is provided for you with every trip and your catch will be cleaned and packed for you upon arrival to land. Read More
Our BlogDiscover Marquette County’s Beautiful Fall Color Along Big Bay Road
The days are getting shorter, the nights are getting colder, and football is back on TV. It must be September — and in the U.P., that means the beginning of the fall color season.
Although every year is different, the fall color display typically begins during the second half of the month, peaks as the calendar turns to October, and fades away by the week before Halloween. If the cold snap that started off our September is any indication, things might happen a bit earlier this year.
No matter when the fall foliage season peaks, it’s a popular time to visit the Upper Peninsula. And for visitors to our corner of the world, there are few better ways to maximize one’s time than to drive the 25-ish mile length of Highway 550 (also known as Big Bay Road) from Marquette to Big Bay. The road winds through the foothills of the Huron Mountains, never straying more than a couple miles from the shores of the big lake. Where else can you find a seemingly endless panorama of vibrant yellows, oranges and reds against the deep blue backdrop of Lake Superior?
Highway 550 begins on the outskirts of Marquette. The easiest way to get to its starting point is to drive north on Presque Isle until the road ends at a T-intersection with Hawley Street. Make a left, drive over the bridge, and follow the twists and turns to Big Bay.
Highway 550′s route is mostly forested. Early on, a few clearings offer nice views of Hogback and the highlands of the Huron Mountains beyond it. Some of its curves are quite sharp, weaving between rugged rock formations and outcrops along the Lake Superior shore. You’ll get a few glimpses of Lake Superior just north of the turnoff for Wetmore Pond, but you have to gain some elevation (via hiking trail) to get the best views. (We’ll outline some of the best hikes below, but there are far more than we can fit here.)
After 20 or so miles of sparsely inhabited forest and the occasional pasture, Highway 550 begins the descent into Big Bay. You’ll get a glimpse of Lake Independence, one of the U.P.’s top fishing holes, as well as Lake Superior. But to actually reach the Superior shore, you’ll have to drive on the local roads just north of Big Bay, past some of the U.P.’s most impressive vacation homes. Once you get there, though, you can look back from the spit of land north of town and view the heart of the Huron Mountains in full fall glory.
Points of Interest
Looking to get out of the car and stretch your legs? Here are the top hikes along or near Highway 550:
- Sugarloaf Mountain: The closest summit hike to downtown Marquette, this is also one of the easiest. A well-maintained stairway takes you up the steep second half and offers panoramic views of Lake Superior.
- Hogback: A longer hike that generally takes 90 or more minutes. The last bit is steep, but the exposed rock summit is well worth the trip.
- Top of the World: A more leisurely hike that combines views of the colorful forest canopy and Lake Superior.
- Thomas Rock: Closer to Big Bay, this steep, rugged outcrop offers stunning views of Lake Independence, Lake Superior and the most remote segment of the Huron Mountains.
Where to Stay, Eat and Shop
Part of the charm of Highway 550 is that it’s definitely off the beaten path. Unlike Highway 41, which connects Marquette and Escanaba, or Highway 28, which serves as the backbone of the northern and central U.P., 550 doesn’t go very far: It terminates at Big Bay, and there’s really no way to penetrate farther into the Huron Mountains without navigating treacherous, rugged dirt tracks. So it shouldn’t be any surprise that Big Bay Road isn’t lined with homes and businesses.
That said, there are a few must-see local businesses along this winding highway. One is Phil’s 550, a quirky store that sells knickknacks, apparel, fishing supplies, and a wide range of other weird and wonderful items. It’s just north of Marquette, on a sharp bend in the road. Look for the irreverent, ever-changing phrases on its famous roadside sign – just pull over if you want to take a picture.
Another is the Thunder Bay Inn, a great place to spend the night in Big Bay. The inn has more than a dozen rooms, all well-preserved from its mid-20th century heyday. The structure was an important filming location for Anatomy of a Murder, the 1959 movie that put Big Bay on the map. It’s little changed since that time. Just call ahead – rooms fill up quickly during the fall!
Down the street, the recently renovated Lumberjack Tavern proudly advertises its status as the site of the murder that inspired the film. It’s a cozy space done up in classic log-cabin style – a perfect place to grab a pint and socialize after a day of hiking, biking or driving. And there’s a full food menu, too.
Where will your trip up Highway 550 take you this fall? We’d love to hear about your Marquette County foliage adventures!