Trail Length

2.5 miles / 4 kilometres

Route Type


Elevation Gain

100 feet / 30.5 metres

Estimated Time

2 – 4 hours

Description and Tips

The Estivant Pines Nature Sanctuary is protected by the Michigan Nature Association and is the most popular hiking and snowshoeing trail in the remote Keweenaw Peninsula. The Sanctuary is located 2.5 miles south of Copper Harbor. The trail system is a great way to spend an afternoon and consists of 2 loops which bring visitors through the towering pines and hard wood forest. The 1 mile Cathedral Grove loop passes some of the largest and oldest giant white pines, growing more than 125 feet tall and dating back 300 years. Named after MNA’s founder, the 1.2 mile Bertha Daubendiek trail winds through groves of large pine, maple, and oak. One pine on this loop was determined to have germinated around 1695 after a wildfire swept the ridge. The two trails intersect and can be completed as a 2.5 mile hike. More than 85 bird species inhabit the old-growth forest, including woodpeckers, hawks, and red crossbills. Despite thin soil and boreal climate, several wildflowers grow, such as asters, clintonia, baneberry, and violets. A wide variety of ferns, like maidenhair, spleenwort, and holly fern, blanket the forest floor. Numerous unusual plants and flowers can be found as well as countless mushrooms. Pack a lunch and enjoy the grandeur and quiet of one of Michigan’s last stands of old growth white pine. The trails are narrow and hilly in spots and there are many roots to navigate. We stopped often in amazement of the beauty of the old growth trees and many other plants.

Submitted By

Kenneth Bitz