“A moderate yet challenging, forested run from Windigo to the rocky western shore of Lake Superior.”
— Greg Reasor
East Huginnin Cove Trail and West Huginnin Cove Trail
combine to form a loop reaching the west side of the island with great views of Lake Superior. Start the run from Windigo first along the Washington Creek Trail
and then a short stretch of the Minong Ridge Trail
. East Huginnin Cove Trail
and West Huginnin Cove Trail
each end at the pebbled shore of Huginnin Cove, where there are several campsites. Like many other Isle Royale trails, both trails pass through planked swampy marshlands and two to three ridge climbs. But East Huginnin Cove Trail
also descends over tall rocky bluffs along the west shoreline with Lake Superior, where the distant shores and islands of Minnesota and Ontario can be seen on clear days. After completing the East Huginnin Cove Trail
, stay a while at the cove, or camp overnight, and return on the West Huginnin Cove Trail
Features: Lake — River/Creek — Views — Wildflowers — Wildlife
Dogs: No Dogs
Not a suitable trail for runners, being too narrow with numerous roots and rocks, and segments so overgown the path cannot be readily seen.
Spectacular views of the rocky shore of Lake Superior reward runners halfway through this loop. Huginnin Cove is a scenic day stop or an overnight stay at the beachside camp sites. The trail is narrow and densely overgrown with head high foilage in areas, dense forest and crosses many streams and buggy marshes with foot-wide planking. Several up and down treks over heavily wooded ridges must be tackled going in and out.
In taking the East Huginnin Cove Trail
first, to get there, depart from Windigo along the 1.4-mile Washington Creek Trail
. Shortly after crossing the Washington Creek bridge, the trail reaches the 3-way junction of West Huginnin Cove Trail
(which be visited on the return) and the Minong Ridge Trail
, which one climbs for 0.6 miles to the signpost for the East Huginnin Cove Trail
. East Huginnin Cove Trail
descends gradually over four sets of planks and a small stream. A first stop is the ruins of a log cabin that once supported a copper mining operation. After another plank passage the trail descends a rocky outcrop amd reaches a second log cabin ruin before reaching a pond a half mile into the East Huginnin Cove Trail
. Moose can sometimes be seen foraging in the pond in mid-day.
Another moderate climb must be accomplished before reaching the rocky bluffs of Lake Superior along the western shore of Isle Royale. Continue along the bluff westward for elevated views of the Lake and distant shores of Minnesota and Ontario. The trail descends to the shores of Huginnin Cove, ending at the 3.3 mile mark. Campsites and a vault toilet can be found at Huginnin Cove, where runners can also can soak their feet in the cold water, skip stones from the cobblestone beach and enjoy the views of the lake and sea birds.
There is a marker for the West Huginnin Cove Trail
, which heads south and begins with a steep 120-foot climb through dense forest. Descend and climb another steep 80-foot ascent. At the top, the trail turns east, where glimpses of Washington Harbor can be seen. Descend through dense brush before reaching the marked junction of the Washington Creek Trail
back to Windigo. Return the way you came but come back changed.
Flora & Fauna
Moose are frequently seen in this area. Flowering plants border the trail, such as Canada Dogwood, Thimbleberry, Wild Prickly Rose, Wild Iris and Eastern Columbine.
History & Background
The ruins of two log cabins are all that is left of the Wendigo Mines, which operated from 1890 to 1982 before failing.