Birding · Cave · Fall Colors · Geological Significance · Lake · Spring · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife
Need to Know
For a small state park with the infrastructure of a small state park, Peninsula gets more visitors than many national parks, so be prepared for heavy traffic and limited parking May through October. This area is swampy so good footwear and bug protection is strongly recommended.
Eagle Trail can be started from either Eagle Panorama or Eagle Terrace. Both have amazing vistas but parking can be very scarce during peak season so do what you can, but assuming you're starting from Eagle Panorama, the trail begins from the north end of the parking lot (from Eagle Terrace the trailhead is on the south side). The first section of trail is a large soft dirt path through birch and oak trees that have begun to grown around the trail markers nailed to them decades ago. After one big bend and gradual descent, you'll come to a trail junction which you bear right at. This is where the more challenging portion of the trail begins.
The lakeside portion of the trail is lined with cedars with large, shallow roots, large limestone rocks that have been flattened and smoothened from erosion, and is swampy and wet. There are basically a million ways to trip. The first half of the trail is the swampiest, some sections have somewhat of a boardwalk for crossing but as I just said every surface on the part of your hike will be slick, muddy, or both. On the plus side, the mossy edges of the Niagara Escarpment (the giant limestone rock that supports the eastern United Sates) begin to poke out. Much of it has been graffiti'd but most of the scarring predates the 21st century.
As the trail continues, it becomes more exposed; the rocks in your path forward become large enough to require some minor scrambling, one stream crossing and few parts of trail have fallen into Lake Michigan from severe weather and heavy use. This is also where you're next to the large white Eagle Bluffs and caves. The caves are just big enough for an adult or two to squeeze into but are a highlight of the park.
After the bluffs, the trail turns inward and back into the forest. The climb up (or down if you're coming from Eagle Terrace) is much steeper than the other path, as such social trails are also more common so be carful not to venture from the main path. Shortly there after Eagle Terrace the trails hops the main road. This crossing may take a few minutes, traffic May-October can be insane with drivers who just as nuts and don't yield to anyone. Crossing the road gives you a 0.5 mi sample of the hiking available in the parks interior and ends with another road crossing right before your starting parking lot.
Shared By: Dylan Payne