Everything You Need to Know About Drummond Island ORV and ATV Trails
If it’s true that the best trips lie off the beaten path, then the best trips lie on Michigan’s Drummond Island—especially if you’re an ORV or ATV aficionado. It takes some time to get to this northern Michigan island, located just east of the Upper Peninsula in northern Lake Huron. But once your ferry from the village of DeTour arrives, let the off-roading begin. Driving has never been quite so much fun.
Drummond Island’s Terrain
With over 60 miles of ATV trails and 40 miles of ORV routes, Drummond Island is home to Michigan’s largest closed loop off-road trail system. Yet the island offers a paradise not only in terms of trail miles, but also for its wide variety of routes, geared for novices and experts alike. You’ll find some of Michigan’s most scenic and rugged routes here—dense hardwood forests, wide-open, wildflower-strewn meadows and steep, rocky ridges that promise riders a Pure Michigan adrenaline rush.
Drive beneath a canopy of hardwood trees, deep green in summer and brilliant with yellows and reds in autumn. Look for startled white-tailed deer, sandhill cranes and perhaps even an elusive black bear along the back roads. Discover routes carved out of bedrock by Lake Huron and the last Ice Age. Power over rock ledges near Marble Head and cruise along the pebbly shore at Sitgreaves Bay.
And when you’re ready for a break, Drummond Island’s trails are ideal for hiking and birding. Feast on locally-caught whitefish dinners and shop for jewelry and chess sets carved of puddingstone, the unofficial stone of Drummond Island. Access to food, lodging and services is readily available on Drummond Island, and you’ll find clear signage to help you find your way back to the ORV trails afterward.
Favorite Drummond Island Trails
The Steps at Marble Head
Roll over the rock shelves leading to Marble Head. Pull over for a walk along the ridge and Instagram-worthy shots of Lake Huron’s False Detour Channel. Just beyond lies Canada’s Cockburn Island.
Glen’s Cove Beach
Head out to this narrow strand on Drummond Island’s eastern shore, a golden sand beach dappled with sunlight on summer days. The Glen’s Cove parking lot is a good place to leave your vehicle for the scenic, 6-mile, round-trip hike along a well-marked trail to Marble Head.
Located just south of Marble Head, Shale Beach is known for its pure white shale stones, worn smooth and round and pushed into mounds by Lake Huron’s powerful surf. Shale Beach measures 2 miles in length and is a favorite spot for picnicking, beachcombing, shooting photos and skipping stones. (The beach is considered too dangerous for swimming).
Turtle Ridge Off-Road Park
Put your vehicle through its paces at Turtle Ridge, a 500-acre park south of Maxton Bay in the center of Drummond Island. The ORV park is crisscrossed by trails and carved out of Drummond Island’s natural limestone, offering adrenaline junkies routes up impossibly steep hillsides and over huge rock ledges.
Drummond Island Need to Know Before You Go
- Travel to Drummond Island year-round via car ferry out of the Upper Peninsula’s village of DeTour. Air service is available out of the Michigan airports of Sault Ste. Marie or Pellston.
- Drummond Island’s trail system requires a State of Michigan ORV license, available locally, which in turn funds maintenance of the trails.
- Full size ORVs may only use trails marked “ORV Route.” Bikes and ATVs may use ATV or ORV trails.
- Driving vehicles on wetlands is prohibited in Michigan. This includes lakes, shorelines, swamps, bogs, marshes, streams and rivers, and Great Lakes shoreline and beaches.
- It is illegal to drive off designated tracks and on private property. Follow trail signs and maps, available at local businesses and the Drummond Island Tourism Association.
- It is illegal to operate an ORV without a helmet or under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- ORV speed limits are 25 mph on all county roads unless posted lower, and vehicles are required to ride single file on the far right side of the road.