Chippewa County High Point Trip Report

three areas (1,090+ ft)

Date: June 29, 2002
Author: Bob Schwab

From the intersection of Michigan Routes 28 and 123, drive east on Route 28 for 2.95 miles to Strongs Corner. Turn left and go north on Salt Point Road for 7 miles to a dirt road on your left (McNearney Lake Road). If you see a sign on the left that marks the North Country Trail, you've gone too far north. Turn left and go about 1.8 miles west on this dirt track to a parking area just south of the old McNearney Lake Lookout Tower, which still stands. About 1.2 miles in from the paved road, you will encounter two forks which follow in close succession. Both forks originate in an open area (keep right at both forks). At the 1.4 mile mark there is a third fork with a sign "Archer" attached to a tree (keep to the left at this fork). At 1.7 miles, note the ATV trail that goes off to the left, as your road bends to the right. At 1.8 miles, the road bends left, then right, and ascends the hill to the lookout tower. I parked at the first bend in the road where there was a good pull-off. A short hike up the road to the tower will reveal BM McNearney, which sits outside the fence to the west of the tower. A second reference mark sits inside the fence directly under the tower. Happily, the highest spot in area 1 is actually in the woods to the east of the tower fence, and is easily confirmed once you walk entirely around the tower. The NGS data sheets on BM McNearney and BM1 indicate that their elevations are 1086 and 1089 feet respectively, which further supports the idea that the 1090 foot contour is actually a bit east of the tower (look carefully at the topo map with a magnifying glass).

To visit areas 2 and 3, you will need to hike down to that ATV trail that is about 0.1 mile southeast from your parking spot. The trail heads west, but then soon angles south. Follow this trail roughly 0.15 mile until you notice a rise off in the forest to your west. At this point, the trail you are following is descending. Bushwhack west and go up the rise. Keep going until you get to the true highpoint, which has a 3-inch diameter whitish rock perched on the western edge of the contour. Take your GPS unit along with you to make sure you're in the right place (it can also help you get back to your car if you get lost!).

From here, descend the hill by bushwhacking directly south. Soon you will come to another ATV trail that goes east-west. Follow the trail west. It meanders in a southwesterly direction for roughly another 0.15 mile and then turns abruptly south. Just before it turns south, bushwhack west again and you'll find another rise. Keep going until you really get to the top of area 3, which has an odd hole or gouge in the soil on the east side of the highest spot.

To return to your vehicle, simply hike east on the ATV trail. It will eventually intersect with another trail going north-south. Turn left and go north on this trail, which is the same ATV trail that begins 0.1 mile from your vehicle.

Both areas 2 and 3 seem to have more prominence at the top than anything I saw at the lookout tower. I thought the middle area might actually be the highest of the three, but my relative altimeter readings are not that reliable under the trees. All three sites should be visited to claim this county.