Rock Island Woods, SNA #382 (182/675)

Rock Island Woods features several forest types and cliff communities on Rock Island off the tip of Door County.  As it is an island accessible only by boat, there is no parking.  Many people take the ferry from the tip of Door County to Washington Island, drive their car across the island, and then take the passenger-only ferry to Rock Island.

The entirety of Rock Island is the titular Rock Island State Park.  Several campsites are available and reservable on the southern portion of the island.  The natural area encompasses the bulk of the island, excluding the aforementioned southern portion as well as the northwest corner.  The Thordarson Loop trail travels around the outer edge of the forest around the entire island.  The Havamal trail follows the southern edge of the natural area and the Fernwood trail cuts east-west across the middle of the natural area.  Over the course of the weekend, my brother and I covered all of the trails, but did not venture off-trail much.  As a result, we saw much of the forest, but little of the seeps in the interior.  Another fun “trail” to take is to walk along the rocky shoreline along the entire periphery of the island…simply beautiful views.  I would love to return here someday.  Perhaps as part of a day-trip, which some people do by taking the ferry to the island, hiking around, and ferrying back in the afternoon.  All in all, Rock Island is a very neat experience.

More of my photos (and full-res) from Rock Island Woods can be viewed here.

Additional Information

SNA # 382
County Door
Natural Communities / Geology Northern Hardwood Forest, Northern Wet-Mesic Forest, Cliff
Size (Acres) 558
Parking n/a
Trails Yes
Easy to Find Yes
Best Seen By Foot
Marked Boundaries No
Ownership Wisconsin DNR
Located Within n/a
Dates Visited  8.16.10

Door County

2 Comments Add yours

  1. zkastern says:

    I visited Rock Island last August and was captivated by the whole place. As we walked the shorter trail through the middle of the island between the lighthouse and the dock I felt like I was on the forest moon of Endor. Incredibly peaceful and scenic and I was amazed by the lack of insects looking to feast on our blood. I also got a neat picture of several water snakes in one shot that I posted to Wisconsin Naturalists on FB. I look forward to trying to camp there this summer and exploring further.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. joshuamayer says:

      I agree. There is just something magical about the entire island. I hope to get back there soon as well.


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