Moonlight Bay Bedrock Beach (113/675)

Moonlight Bay Bedrock Beach protects a small dolomite bedrock beach and adjacent boreal forest near Baileys Harbor.  The site is easy to reach from W Cana Island Road, just south of its intersection with E Cana Island Road.  A sign and short trail leading west from the road takes you into the site.

Hands-down this is one of my favorite SNA’s of all-time and it may very well be the favorite.  There is something about it that I just can’t explain.  The bedrock beach is similar to that of Baileys Harbor Boreal Forest & Wetlands, though obviously much smaller at this site.  I found the forbs to be much more diverse here and the scenery to be breathtaking.  Perhaps it is the surrounding boreal forest which makes this place feel cozy and inviting compared to the more open shoreline at Baileys Harbor.  Having not spent much time in or near an ocean, I imagined while here that this is what it might feel like.  The natural communities here depend on the levels of Lake Michigan and so your experience may be different depending on the time of the year and even vary from year to year.  Forbs observed here included the rare bird’s-eye primrose, dwarf lake iris, and lesser fringed gentian as well as other neat species like nodding lady’s-tresses and small-flowered false foxglove.  I have made my way to Door County three times over the years and every time I am sure to make a trip here to this wonderful gem.

More of my photos (and full-res) from Moonlight Bay Bedrock Beach can be viewed here.

Additional Information

SNA # 233
County Door
Natural Communities / Geology
 Bedrock Beach, Boreal Forest
Size (Acres)  108
Parking Roadside
Trails Yes (barely)
Easy to Find Yes
Best Seen By Foot
Marked Boundaries No
Ownership Wisconsin DNR
Located Within n/a
Dates Visited 5.23.10 / 8.17.10 / 7.13.13

Door County

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