Where in the park is Neil? The week 20 answer is the Lakeshore Trail

As part of the celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, we’re going on a virtual tour with Neil Howk, a man who has spent decades exploring the islands and teaching people about what makes them special. He knows the islands like the back of his hand.

Though the National Park Service’s goal is to preserve the Apostle Islands “unimpaired” for future generations, the fact is that the area changes all the time.  When you visit the same area repeatedly, you can often note of the changes.  Today, Neil is visiting an area that he has been to many times over the past 35 years. 

Where in the park is Neil? 

Neil Loves hiking the Lakeshore Trail to overlooks of the mainland sea caves.  Wind and waves are constantly carving the Devils Island sandstone that forms these cliffs.  

The cliffs and sea caves are not the only features along the trail that change.  The forests along the top of the cliffs change dramatically from season to season, and sometimes from day to day.  

Powerful windstorms this summer toppled hundreds of trees throughout the park, including a stand of century old red pines just north of the “Bowl” at the mainland caves. 

The slideshow below shows one of the views from the mainland trail in all seasons… winter, spring, summer and fall.

The Lakeshore Trail starts at the Meyers Road parking lot. The trail extends about 4.5 miles, from Meyers Road, past the cliffs above the mainland sea caves, and approximately halfway along the lakeshore’s mainland unit ending at a backcountry campsite.

You will find a boardwalk covering the first 0.7 miles of trail. A little more than a mile down the trail, you’ll find a natural bridge and the first of several sea cave overlook points. Click here for more information on hiking the Apostle Islands.

Look for another digital adventure next week. To play along, simply like the Friends of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore Facebook page and check back next Wednesday for the clue to next week’s location. Make a guess in the comments and we’ll post the answer on Thursday. Click here to view the entire series.

You can find updates about NPS operations on www.nps.gov/coronavirus. For more information about Apostle Islands National Lakeshore,  call (715) 779-3398 or visit go.nps.gov/ApostleConditions.

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