Drummond Island Winter Trip (1 Viewer)

Joined
Aug 26, 2019
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15
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Michigan
Hi Guys,

We recently took the 200 up to Drummond Island for a quick wheeling adventure. I thought I’d post some details for anyone in Michigan / the Midwest who may be thinking of doing the same! There’s a lot of information out there on Drummond, especially on Jeep forums, but not very much at all about going in the winter. Hopefully you find this helpful.

Trail Maps
Here are three maps that I found to be useful. I used all of them together to pick trails and to attempt to avoid impassable situations in my nearly stock (just 33” K02s) 200. We have 4 kids so I printed off a bunch of copies of the first map which was infinitely useful in keeping the whole bunch of us, ages 2-8, engaged and excited. The trails are pretty well marked with signs, but I found some to be confusing and had to explore a bit to figure out which path was which.

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Winter Trail Report
The trails on the island were some of the best I’ve seen in Michigan, with a wide array of different landscapes to enjoy and also plenty of challenges. Being nearly winter (let’s be honest, it’s winter up there already), there were a few inches of snow and also all the inland water was frozen 2-3” thick. That presented the biggest issue. While my LC crushed its way through the ice without complaint, wherever the water was over ~10” (bumper height) I either had to turn around, or in two cases where I was being careless, crush my bumper! Were it not for some of those deeper holes that I attempted to avoid the LC could have happily passed through the majority of the trails, even the toughest ones on the maps. The 2” lift that’s sitting in my garage awaiting a KDSS fix (more on that in a future post) would have helped with that too. We traversed most of the trails and despite the snow and ice, never once lacked traction or came anywhere near getting stuck. Part of the appeal of these trails is that the island is almost all rock, so even the deeper water features, of which there are dozens and dozens, are no problem to drive through because the bottom is not muddy at all. From a time standpoint, I’d say we did about 75% of the trails in one full day from 9am to 5pm, going slowly with plenty of stopping to look around. On our second day we went up to Fossil Ledges which took a few hours total, but was totally worth the views. Traffic was extremely minimal. We saw a few logging trucks and a few ATVs. We saw plenty of deer, a golden eagle and some other cool birds, and a black bear. There were lots of animal tracks in the snow that the kids enjoyed following around too.

Fossil Ledges and The Steps at Marble Head are both good destinations. We did not try to scale the steps - that would have been a disaster I think.

Logistics
  • The only way on and off the island is by ferry. It runs constantly, year round, and costs $14 per vehicle plus extra for adult passengers, trailers, etc. YOU MUST BRING CASH for the ferry. Most other places on the island took credit cards begrudgingly - they definitely prefer cash.
  • We stayed at The Drummond Island Resort in a great 3-bed room with a loft and only paid $99/night. It was clean, nice, and cheap! It’s rare that I can fit my whole family into one hotel room so we normally get AirBnBs, but this resort worked out wonderfully.
  • There is gas on the island along with a few restaurants, a grocery store, and a hardware store.
Damage
The bumper cover is cracked, fog light and parking sensor got ripped off, and I lost a fender liner. Otherwise, no problems! I’ll soon replace the bumper with my 3rd one this year 😬
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I’ll post trail pics below.
-Mike
 

dogfishlake

"Go on a living spree"
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Just noticed your post. Very cool. I have only done Drummond in the summer and it was great. We got surprised on our first trail as it was way harder than the map said (had been raining for a couple of weeks). After that, it was awesome. The ledges are fun but having a friend with a winch helps. We made it up with my daughters locked 80 on 33's pretty well, and got my sister's unlocked 80 up by stacking rocks.
I thought maybe the trails would be closed to wheeled vehicles in winter because of the snowmobile season but could be wrong. It happens.
 

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