Michigander City Spotlight: Onaway

Onaway is known as the Sturgeon Capital of Michigan. Although the aquatic life often takes the spotlight, this town has more to offer than fish.

Dubbed the “Playground of the North”, Onaway offers over 80 miles of snowmobile and ATV trails at Black Mountain Forest Recreation Area as well as 30 miles of cross-country ski and hiking trails. A 65 acre ATV/motorcycle rally area and rustic state forest campground add to the exciting possibilities of the park.

Onaway State Park is Michigan’s second oldest state park and the site of a historic Ojibwa camp. The name Onaway actually comes from an Ojibwa Indian cry meaning “alert” or “awaken”. The park sits on the shores of Black Lake which is the seventh largest inland lake in Michigan. Don’t let the “black” water of the lake scare you a way! The dark color comes from the cedar swamps nearby which feed the lake with tannic acid.

The Sturgeon Capital didn’t get its’ title for nothing, so we’ll mention the fish. Black Lake is home to the ancient Lake Sturgeon and offers a Sturgeon Hatchery open to the public from June to August. The lake also offers many great spots to fish for perch, walleye, and several species of bass.

Take a scenic tour of the region with a stop at Ocqueoc Falls, the only recognized falls in the Lower Peninsula, just 10 miles east of Onaway. The Underground River is a branch of the Little Ocqueoc River which displays the area’s Karst topography, a geological formation caused by the natural erosion of bedrock. Sinkholes are a product of Karst topography and you can find some just south of town.  These large pits are gradually sinking deeper and deeper as the limestone bedrock dissolves beneath the surface. The sinkholes are now filled with flowers, trees and wildlife and offer great hiking opportunities.

The Presque Isle region of northeastern Michigan hosts a variety of interesting sights and recreational possibilities for all visitors. Michigander riders will have their pick of exploring the history, geography and excitement of Onaway. Of course they’ll have the opportunity to cast their lines and catch some fun, too.


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