I wallowed my way to the top of Mt. Arvon, the Highpoint of Michigan at 1,979 feet, on Monday afternoon, November 17th, 2003. It was my 17th state highpoint.
I had read several reports of how difficult it was to find this highpoint, especially in the past before the blue signs and markers were put in place, however with the excellent directions provided in both the Winger and Holmes guidebooks I had no problems finding my way to the summit of Mt. Arvon. These books have already paid for themselves many times over in the time and aggravation they have saved me in finding my last 14 state highpoints since I purchased them at the Illinois Konvention. However I do have one minor adjustment to offer. Both books say that Roland Lake Road (the Wingers called it Roland Creek Road) is now called Church Road or Street. I saw no indication of this. All the signs that I saw still refer to it as Roland Lake Rd.
Although I had no trouble finding my way to the summit, actually getting there was slightly more difficult. Deer hunting season was on going in Michigan and I saw quite a few hunters on the road to Mt. Arvon. One or two were on foot but most were cruising in the their trucks. The Mt. Arvon highpoint sign indicating 2 miles to go had several bullet holes in it. I just love driving and strolling through the forest with a bunch of half drunk, trigger-happy rednecks with loaded rifles patrolling the area. Due to recent rain and snowfalls the road was wet, muddy and slushy in many areas. There were several fairly deep puddles and a few areas that caused my tires to spin but I managed to dodge the bullets while pretending that my front wheel drive 1999 Oldsmobile Aurora was a four wheel drive Jeep and I made it to the parking area ˝ mile from the summit without any serious tribulations. (It reminded me of my teenage years when I learned much about driving in my Mother’s 1961 Chevy Corvair. I got stuck more than once in just about every kind of terrain I could find in and around my home state of New Jersey, including mud, sand and snow. I also had a great deal of experience in getting unstuck. Oh what fun!) There were one or two areas that had me a bit concerned and I might have considered stopping and walking the rest of the way but I was afraid that if I stopped I might not get going again. I splashed my way through and my white Aurora was brown at the end of the day.
The trail from the parking area to the summit was muddy and snowy in some areas but the hike was uneventful. I felt like I was walking point in the military watching for men with rifles but I did not see any, and more importantly they did not see me. My visit to Mt. Arvon turned out to be enjoyable and successful. I arrived at the peak at 1:00PM central time. This part of Michigan is actually just slightly inside the Eastern Time zone. It was cloudy, windy and 38 degrees. This highpoint is well maintained by the Boy Scouts. There were nice benches, a picnic table, plenty of wood in the fireplace and a sign in log in the mailbox. I sat at the picnic table and signed the log and then left the area the same way I came. The hunters were still on patrol.
After leaving Mt. Arvon I drove north along Lake Superior to the town of Calumet, MI hoping to visit the Keweenaw National Historic Park. I subsequently learned from listening to the National Park information provided on my radio at 1610AM that the Keweenaw National Historic Park is not one particular place and there is no visitor’s center to visit. It is the only National Park that is composed of independent, privately owned cooperating sites stretching for more than 100 miles throughout the entire Keweenaw Peninsula. The major historical significance of this area is copper mining. These cooperating sites include museums, theatres, copper mines (some providing tours), homesteads, and there are even State Parks included as part of this National Park. Of course most of these sites were closed this late in the season so I just sat back and enjoyed my drive viewing a few of them from the comfort of my very dirty vehicle. The highlight of my driving tour was my stop at the Diary Queen in Houghton, MI for a large Chocolate Extreme Blizzard with chocolate ice cream (I am a hard core chocoholic). Then I drove 150 miles back to my cozy timeshare condo in Eagle River, WI. It had been long day.
On 4/16/04 there was snow on Ravine River Road, well-packed from snowmobile traffic, beginning just past the bridge after the gravel pit. Even the big pickups were turning back a mile or so beyond, though it was melting fast in the heat of that day. Much more of the road should be snow free as the weeks pass.
I parked my rear wheel drive slug BELOW the gravel pit and hiked six and one half miles each way to the summit. Very pleasant sunny 50 degree day at 9:50AM.
I had no difficulty in following the correct road since the main path has been improved by the owner and marked with “curve” signs along the main route.
We arrived in Baraga, MI on June 19, 2004. It was a cool, dry day. We drove through L'Anse, following the lake shore.
At the Zion Luthern Church we turned off the main road, on to a gravel road and followed the sporadic blue arrows. After several miles we came to the gravel pit and drove through it. On the far side the road forks and there were no arrows, so naturally we followed the wrong one. STAY TO THE LEFT. There is a small bridge to cross. It is strong enough to support a vehicle.
From this point the road turns rough as it begins to climb toward the top. If the road is dry you can make it in a two wheel drive vehicle, but I wouldn't try it in a car. This is a logging road and we needed the extra ground clearance that a truck provided. It actually was fun.
After a few miles we reached the parking area and it was a short hike to the top. The view is non-existent because of the trees. Make sure to sign the book provided by the Scouts.
This was my second HP of the day, see Wisconsin, and eleventh overall. The drive to the HP was a bit challenging especially since there was a steady rain falling making the dirt roads to the HP even more tricky. It took some time but I finally arrived at the trailhead, put on rain gear and headed to the HP. A wet half mile hike led to the HP in the trees. The rain slowed down enough to take a few photos and then back to the car and Copper Harbor for the night before a backpack trip to Isle Royale NP the following morning. Photos of that trip can be found through my signature.
My wife and I "summited" Mt. Arvon on Wednesday, June 25. I was actually pleasantly surprised at the quality of the road. We were driving a normal car and had absolutely no problem getting to the parking area before the last half mile stroll. I actually think we would have had no problem driving up to the highpoint . . . or the parking area within around 200 yards of the highpoint. All of the small arrows pointing to the highpoint are there so finding the right road is no problem either. The only issue we had is that we got to following the arrows and forgot to check the mileage. So, when we arrived at the parking area, we were not sure if we had gone far enough or not; particularly since the road was as good as it was. But great highpoint. And a beautiful area to visit. We went by Duluth and enjoyed the harbor before going over to the highpoint. Then we went over to the Pictured Rocks Lake Shore and then over to White Fish Point. Enjoy this area and don't just fly through collecting the high point.
I visited Mount Arvon on Friday morning, 01 October 2010. I used the directions and map downloaded from baragacountytourism dot org, and found them to be both accurate and necessary. Despite recent rains the roads were in good condition, until the "Mount Arvon spur" left a good road around three-fourths of a mile from the parking area. An egregious mud-hole looked a little too deep for my Toyota coupe, so I let discretion be the better part of valor and I parked the chariot and hiked from there to the parking area, and then the additional half-mile to the summit. Since it was a beautiful clear and cool morning, that only added to the enjoyment.
There is no real climb to the summit, just a nice uphill walk. The summit area includes an attractive sign (suitable for standing next to for snapshots), a container that includes a registration tablet, and a picnic table. There's no view right at the summit, but one is available just a short distance away.
We encountered no one else at the summit, but on the walk down a couple of hunters in a high-clearance 4-wd vehicle were heading uphill. Maybe they bagged the turkeys we heard near the summit area. There was some logging activity on the road from Roland Lake, but there was plenty of room for safe passage. There are blue signs directing highpointers to Mount Arvon, but maybe not enough of them to find the highpoint without good directions and a map. The map is handy for the return trip, as well. Figure at least an hour's round trip from L'Anse to bag this highpoint.
Early fall is a good time to visit Mount Arvon. The colors are beautiful, the bugs are suppressed, and the legendary snows have not yet arrived.
I'll reiterate was others have posted. Go to the visitor's center and pick up a route map to Arvon. It's the best detailed map. We picked an excellent time to go to UP & Northern Michigan. The foliage was spectacular.