One of the best parts of living in the Upper Peninsula is unquestionably the light shows the sky puts on for us. And with the Spring Equinox under effect, your odds of catching a glimpse of these glimmering greens, reds, pinks and blues, known as the aurora borealis, just got that much better. So when the time comes, don’t stress over where to go to see the lights, these five viewing spots are sure to delight.
If you’re looking for an easily accessible, extensive beachfront, look no further than Wetmore Landing. Located just 8 miles North of downtown Marquette, simply take County Road 550 and the marked signage will read on your right. This is an awesome spot to scope the Northern Lights, just outside of city lights, with plenty of trail along the lakeshore to lead you further from city and sand, and into the more forested, secluded rock outcroppings. All you need is a big beach blanket and some friends to share in the view and you’re set.
Top of the World— Harlow
A small inland lake nestled alongside County Road 550 near Marquette, Harlow features a few rocky cliffs and outcroppings along its shoreline. On especially clear nights, take a seat atop one of these rocks and gaze directly up. Due to its location away from the city lights of Marquette and it being sheltered by the surrounding Huron Mountain peaks such as Sugarloaf and Hogback, the incredibly dark backdrop contrasts beautifully with the colors in the sky. Only a 10-minute drive from Marquette city limits, Harlow Lake is a must-hit lookout.
Little Presque Isle Beach
With bedrocks dating back to 2.3 billion years, Little Presque Isle is not only one of three places in Michigan to see some of the oldest exposed formations, but it’s also an incredible place to watch the Northern Lights. If you plan to go out to the Isle rather than behold from the beach, we recommend trekking out before sunset with all the safety gear, snacks, and water you’ll need to be well equipped for your trip. Head north up Big Bay Road for about 20 minutes, parking will be on the right.
Sugarloaf Mountain is the perfect place for a short, sweet hike with some elevation. Take the easy route up and you’re a swift 15 minutes from the top, which offers breathtaking views of Lake Superior, and pretty much the rest of Marquette. Trailhead parking is 7 miles up 550 on your right. All trails are clearly and conveniently marked from parking lot.
One of the premier beach destinations in Marquette’s city limits, McCarty’s Cove offers a little bit of everything in one convenient lookout. Close proximity to everything in Marquette makes this lookout extremely easy to get to and find. Not to mention a spectacular view of the Superior horizon, the Marquette Harbor Lighthouse, Picnic Rocks and Presque Isle Park. If you’re looking for the best vantage point of the Aurora Borealis but don’t want to put on your hiking boots, you can’t go wrong at McCarty’s Cove.