“picture-perfect lighthouse on big rocks”
Located within Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, this picturesque lighthouse stands on Au Sable Point on the south shore of Lake Superior, approximately 12 miles west of Grand Marais, Michigan. Built in 1873-1874, the light tower's base diameter is 16 feet with a height of 87 feet. The lens focal plane is 107 feet above lake level. A brick oil building and fog signal building were built in the1890s. All of the buildings on site, along with the tower and keepers quarters, make up the light station. The original one-story keepers dwelling was attached to the light tower in the back. In 1909, a new residence was built for the head keeper and another story was added onto the existing building so that it could accommodate two assistant keepers and their families. One family lived upstairs, one down. In 1945 the U.S. Coast Guard took over, replacing the civilian keepers. A third-order Fresnel lens reflected the first light, which was fueled initially by lard oil and then by kerosene. The fixed white beam could be seen 17 miles out on the lake. The lighthouse became fully automated in 1958 and transferred from the Coast Guard to the National Park Service in 1968. Visiting the Au Sable Light Station To visit the Au Sable Light Station, travel to the Hurricane River Campground located 12 miles west of Grand Marais on Alger County Road H-58. Park in the day use parking area near the bridge. It is a 1.5 mile walk (one way) to the lighthouse. From the parking lot, walk east through the campground from the picnic area near the Hurricane River mouth. The trail continues past the campground on the historic U.S. Coast Guard road to the light station. Be alert for occasional vehicle traffic. On the beach below the trail, exposed shipwreck remains dot the shoreline. Watch for the signs and steps to the beach along the trail. Bicycles and pets are not permitted on this trail or at the light station. Summer Light Station Tours Au Sable Light Station tours are scheduled Wednesday through Sunday from mid-June through the end of September or through early October (as staffing permits). No tours on Monday and Tuesday. Tours begin at 11 am and run through 4:30 pm (11 am - 12 pm - 1 pm - 2:30 pm - 3:30 pm - 4:30 pm). The 30-40 minute park ranger guided tours begin at the lighthouse east porch. Tour fee is $3 for those 6 and older. Exact amount is required (no change provided). Fees are payable at the start of the tour. Light station visitors are reminded that the area includes very sandy soils, narrow sidewalks, and steps to access the buildings.
Volunteers were very knowledgeable. Went on beach to look at shipwrecked boats. Very rocky. Kids slipped a lot. Water was high and couldn't see much of the shipwrecks.
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Au Sable Point Light Keepers House
- Sun, Wed - Sat: 11:00 am - 4:30 pm
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