Are you prepared to discover one of Michigan’s most exquisite and underappreciated gems? Despite the fact that Michigan is renowned as the “Great Lakes State” for good cause, there are many inland waterways worth visiting all over the region. Consider visiting one of Michigan’s cleanest lakes while making plans for your next outdoor excursion. You will quickly fall in love with this glistening, pristine location.
What is Elk Lake Mi?
Elk Lake Mi is surrounded by towns including Rapid City, Elk Rapids, and Kewadin and is situated in the counties of Grand Traverse and Antrim. The natural wonders of Torch Lake and Lake Michigan are nearby.
Even while the lake itself is smaller than Michigan’s famous Great Lakes, you shouldn’t let that deter you from going. Elk Lake, after all, has some of the most entrancingly beautiful waters in the whole state. Elk Lake is unusual in that, although being relatively tiny (it is about nine miles long and 1.5 miles broad), it is the second-deepest inland location in Michigan with a depth of 192 feet.
You may enjoy the lake from a campsite or go boating for the day, but you’ll always be struck by how unbelievably blue it is. You could even start to question whether you’ve arrived in the Caribbean. Elk Lake is a genuine paradise for people who like fishing and boating through the great outdoors. A public launch facility off East Elk Lake Drive in Rapid City allows you to access the magnificent lake for a $12 launch charge.
Looking for a more relaxed experience that doesn’t include a boat? Go to Whitewater Township Park and Campground so you may relax with your family while camping only a short distance from the lake’s shore. Be sure to keep Elk Lake and its crystal-clear waves in mind as you prepare for your next intrastate excursions. It’s almost difficult not to like this inland jewel, whether you’re casting a line or just lounging on the sand.
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What can you expect at Elk Lake?
The Three Sisters, which tower above Elk Lake’s northern end, and Mt. Bachelor, which dominates the eastern horizon, provide for a gorgeous scene. While the lake is not very wealthy, it is so translucent that you can see the bottom from anywhere on the top. The kokanee, which are typically 7 to 10 inches long and not very huge but plentiful, are ideal for eating because to the cool water. Few kokanee are taken elsewhere in the lake, and these fish are mostly located towards the south end of the lake near the lava flow where it is the deepest section.
Periwinkles, eggs, and night crawlers were the targets of jigging, wind drifting, and still fishing. Elk Lake’s water level may change by up to 15 feet during the year, but the boat ramps are still accessible. The lake has no obstructions for watercraft, and the few weed beds keep quite short.
Campground at Elk Lake
A little hillside campsite on Elk Lake is called Elk Lake Campground, and it is about 35 miles from Bend. Elk Lake, which is 4,900 feet above sea level and is renowned for its clear waters, provides plenty of options for fishing in addition to access to several hiking and horseback riding paths. The lake is open to both motorized and non-powered boats, and during the summer it is a highly popular destination for all of these, as well as paddleboarders, kayakers, and canoes. The campsite has a day use area and a boat launch; however, parking is scarce there. Elk Lake Campground has of 22 campsites with a maximum pitch length of 26 feet and four tent-only sites close to the lake.
There are two contemporary CXT vault-style restrooms with a pressurized water system. The per night, per site price is $14 for the first car and $7 for each subsequent vehicle, and reservations are not allowed. Check the website for the most recent dates of operation. Elk Lake Campground is normally open from mid-June to late September, although dates might change depending on snow melt. Within the campsite, the roads are paved and there is mobile phone service. At the water’s edge, there is a day use park with a boat ramp.
Activities to do at Elk Lake
Elk Lake is a high-elevation lake located 32 miles southwest of Bend along the Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway in the Deschutes National Forest. 405 acres make up the lake’s surface, and its coastline extends over 5.1 miles. A well-known destination for boating, windsurfing, hiking, camping, and swimming is Elk Lake.
Cross-country skiers, snowmobilers, and snowcats may all be parked at Elk Lake Resort on the lake’s eastern shore throughout the winter. There are fat tire bikes, snowshoes, and snowmobiles for hire. Elk Lake Guard Station is a historical site close by.
Built in 1929 to provide as a base for a forest guard, the guard station was constructed. These days, it serves as a tourist information center where you can find out how forest guards used to live and operate. The stunning lake has unspoiled surroundings and lovely beauty between ponderosa pine trees. The eastern side of the lake is towered over by Mount Bachelor, while the north side is far above by the Three Sisters Mountains, which are covered with snow.
Among the reservoirs and Cascade Lakes, this one is the most well-known and frequently utilized. Around the lake, there are hiking paths, three day use areas, four campsites, a resort, and boat ramps. The lake is accessible all year long, however between late May and November, access is restricted by snow and ice.
Windsurfing and swimming
This dazzling lake is tempting for swimming in the late summer due to its lengthy expanses of sand and pebble beaches and its deep blue, clear water. Since this lake is located at a high elevation, by about August, the surface temperature will be warm enough for swimming (65–70°F). The lake is kid-friendly since the bottom is shallow along the shore.
The best swimming areas are found at South Beach Picnic Area (southwest), Little Fawn Campground and Day Use (east side), Sunset View Day Use Area (east side), and Elk Lake Resort and Marina (west). A lot of people enjoy windsurfing and sailing on the lake. Sunset Cove is where wind surfing begins. The Elk Lake Resort offers boat and canoe rentals. The maximum speed for motorboats is 10 mph. Animals are not permitted in swimming areas. The annual Cascade Lakes Swim Festival is held in Elk Lake at the end of July.
From Sunset View Day Use to Little Fawn Campground, a mile-long route connects. The Pacific Crest Trail and other high-elevation Cascade Lakes are accessible through additional hiking paths.
Nearby lakes include Hosmer, Sparks, Blow, Doris, Devils, Todd, Cultus, Lava, and Little Lava Lakes. The Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway, also known as Century Drive and Forest Service Road 46, leads to the Cascade Lakes. Due to snowfall, the byway path is blocked throughout the winter.
An excursion to Elk Lake is a fisherman’s paradise. The enormous lake is about 200 feet deep in some places, making it possible to fish for lake trout year-round. Additionally, it is reasonably priced and adaptable enough to satisfy the whole crew. The fourteen lakes and rivers that make up the Elk River Chain of Lakes finish at Elk Lake. Grand Traverse Bay is located about a mile up the Elk River. Elk Lake, a glacial lake carved into the river valley and home to its own ecosystem and fish species, is not an extension of the Bay. Only Houghton and Torch Lakes are bigger than it, making it the third biggest inland lake in Michigan. There is plenty of area for all kinds of fishing and other water activities, measuring around eight miles long and up to four miles broad.
Native Americans known as the Anishinabek, thought to be a member of the Chippewa tribe, were the original inhabitants of the region. To commemorate the chief who signed the Treaties of 1821 and 1826, Meguzee Lake, a Native American name meaning “Eagle,” was the first name given to Elk Lake. When platted in 1852, Stevens was the original name of the area’s principal community, Elk Rapids. The town, the river, and the lake were all given the new name Elk when a set of elk horns were discovered in the river rapids. Since 1858, Elk has been the name.
Even though Elk Lake is one of the less well-known lakes, fishermen are well-known for the fish it produces. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has stocked Elk Lake with approximately 117,000 rainbow and brown trout in recent years. These are often taken at night in 30 to 50 feet of water using the age-old technique of suspending a light over the bow of the boat and luring them in with tiny jigs topped with wrigglers. Lake trout also skulk in the deep crevice in the lake’s lengthy center basin. These lakers are reported to be considerably tastier than those captured in the Great Lakes because of the bright orange color of their meat. It is far safer to catch lake trout here than it is to risk the sometimes thin and unstable ice of the Bay. This is one of the few places where this is possible.
The perch and smallmouth bass that live in the waterways are often sought for by pan fishers. Elk Lake has produced a number of world records recently, including smallmouth bass over 21 inches and muskies over 50 inches. It’s also possible to catch rock bass, muskellunge, ciscoes, and whitefish. A day of fishing may provide a variety of conditions and prey without ever requiring the boat to be taken out of the water since the boater can access shallower Skegemog Lake via the small canal at the southeast corner of the lake.
Other water activities including waterskiing, wakeboarding, tubing, kayaking, sailing, and, in the winter, ice-boating are available for the family members who don’t fish. Elk Rapids serves as the tourist and visitor hub since it is the only hamlet of any real size. There is a lake marina nearby, and many of the vacation resorts and rental cottages in the region also have various launch facilities. Almost all kind of watercraft are available for hire. At the Whitewater Township Park south of the city, there is another free public launch. Given the close proximity to Elk Rapids to Charlevoix (20 miles to the north) and Traverse City (20 miles to the south), Elk Lake accommodation is inexpensive in comparison to these more costly vacation locations.
In between Elk Lake and the east arm of Grand Traverse Bay, there is a little spit of land where Elk Rapids is located. Unless you arrive by boat, such as one of the stunning sailing boats on Lake Michigan or a small boat via the chain of lakes, Highway 31 is the most practical route to reach Elk River. Even if people aren’t come for the lake fishing or sport, Elk Rapids has a lot to offer. There are various waterfront parks, a public golf course that front either Elk Lake or the bay, and the new municipal port can handle all types of bigger vessels. One of the original resort cottage complexes really has lake and bay frontage. And where else could you set up camp at an RV park that was close to the town, next to the golf course, and had access to the bay’s beach?
Now you have a clear idea on why the Elk Lake is called as the most beautiful lake of the region. While keeping these facts, you will be able to proceed with planning your own visit to the Elk Lake. Then you will be able to get a firsthand experience with the natural beauty of the Elk Lake. You will surely enjoy what this lake has to offer you as well.