This Northern Michigan boardwalk takes you through rare


ARCADIA, MI – This boardwalk in Northern Michigan offers a glimpse into a “rare jewel” coastal marsh that’s home to several endangered and threatened birds, uncommon wildflowers and fish.

Arcadia Marsh is a 305-acre nature preserve in northern Manistee County. It’s one of only 16 remaining coastal marshes on the Lake Michigan coast of the state’s Lower Peninsula.

A three-quarter mile, universally accessible boardwalk through the marsh opened in 2019. It’s known as one of the Top 10 birdwatching sites in Michigan.

Observant visitors will see a variety of flora and fauna, from belted kingfishers to northern harriers, marsh wrens and great egrets, and cattails, bonesets, great water docks and swamp milkweed.

“As one of the last remaining Great Lakes coastal marshes along the Lake Michigan coast, Arcadia Marsh is a rare jewel brimming with biodiversity and ecological significance,” according to the field guide by the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy, which manages the marsh.

Arcadia Marsh

A monarch butterfly sits on a boneset flower on Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2023, at Arcadia Marsh in Arcadia, Mich. The rare coastal marsh is a 305-acre nature preserve managed by the Grand Traverse Land Conservancy in northern Manistee County, Mich.Justine Lofton | jlofton@mlive.com

Getting there

There are two trailheads with access to the Arcadia Marsh boardwalk: St. Pierre Road and M-22. Find directions here. Users will walk from one end to the other and then back to their starting point.

Pack a small backpack with the necessities: water, binoculars, sunglasses and a camera. Hiking shoes aren’t necessary but go for practicality over fashion. Some visitors may also want to download the field guide, available here.

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