Peshekee Headwaters Nature Preserve

Peshekee Headwaters Nature Preserve

When visiting the Peshekee Headwaters Nature Preserve, please follow CDC guidelines for physical distancing to protect other visitors.


Upper Peninsula Land Conservancy and the Michigan DNR created a partnership trail that connects Craig Lake State Park to the Peshekee Headwaters Nature Preserve!

The partnership trail opens up the Preserve to visitors of Craig Lake State Park and provides further adventures for the public to access within the Michigamme Highlands, an area of top priority for multiple conservation partners. UPLC volunteers and staff have nearly completed the 1.5 mile long trail that will connect the Preserve’s 5+ miles of existing trails to the Keewaydin Lake Road near the DNR yurt. Click here to download a brochure and map!

Due to the Park’s shutdown, manufacturer’s backlogs, and limited resources in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, certain aspects of the trail are yet to be completed, however the trail is complete and totally hikeable now that the Park has re-opened! Temporary signage is up at the trail head, a small parking lot and trail head kiosk are yet to be completed – please park in the (signed) open area off the road to the West of the trail head signs and do not block the gate.

ADA access is available via an alternate route, please contact for further details. If you’re interested in supporting the partnership trail or want to lend a hand installing signs when they arrive, please contact Brian Liesch, Lands Program Manager at (906)225-8067 ext 107 or

Temporary Signs at Peshekee headwaters/Craig Lake State Park partnership trailhead

Peshekee Headwaters Nature Preserve

We are all downstream.

“The way we treat rivers reflects the way we treat each other” – Aldo Leopold

Peshekee Headwaters Nature Preserve Protects the Headwaters of the Peshekee River

Indian Lake is the source of an amazing amount of freshwater that thousands of people depend on for recreation, clean water to drink, healthy fish to eat, and that supports the healthy forest ecosystems which are imperative to our economic and social health. Thanks to the Murphy Family’s three-phased donation of this pristine backcountry preserve, this wild area will continue to perform the task that Mother Nature gave them: The land and wetlands act as a filter to purify the groundwater as it gains momentum and flows on its way to our homes and backyards.

Rainwater, snow melt and ground water drains from the surrounding highlands and pools up in the boggy wetlands to the southwest of Indian Lake where it is naturally filtered before spilling out of the lake into the Peshekee River. The Peshekee flows into Lake Michigamme, into the Michigamme River, becomes part of the Menominee River and then finally empties into Lake Michigan.

Can you imagine being a drop of water flowing all the way from the Preserve into someone’s glass of tap water in Southern Michigan?

There are so many people and so much happening between the headwaters of the River and the southern tip of Lake Michigan – protecting the headwaters protects everyone downstream.


“To track a creek or a river to the point where maps identify its origin is to force a consideration of beginnings, to wonder what a beginning is, to wonder what point separates existence from that entity which comes before existence.”

– Josh Brewer

The Peshekee Headwaters Nature Preserve has long been a place of refuge for people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds. This sanctuary from the troubles of the modern world is a testament to the lasting strength and resiliency of nature, despite man’s best attempts to control and shape it. The Indian Lake watershed project was started in 2014 with a donation of 635 acres from the Murphy Family. With two subsequent donations of land in the watershed, UP Land Conservancy now protects nearly 90% of the watershed of Indian Lake. The Peshekee Headwaters Nature Preserve is now 1,297 acres of pristine, archetypal Michigamme Highlands wilderness whose incredibly diverse habitat ranges from steep-sloped old growth hemlock forest to the island-dotted eutrophic lake. This marvelously beautiful place is home to a healthy moose population, black bear, eagles, nesting loons and wolves; and during 2017’s Botanical Survey, we recorded the first occurrence of the carnivorous plant English Sundew (Drosera Anglica) in Marquette County on the lake!

Visiting the Peshekee Headwaters Nature Preserve

To visit the Preserve, enter Craig Lake State Park from highway 41 and follow the signs for the Keewadin Lake Yurt. Just past the yurt, you’ll see an area on the North side of the road that is being cleared for parking; a temporary parking area sign designates the spot. Please do not block the road or the gate! The trailhead is on the South side of the road just past the parking area and is well marked with temporary signage. A trailhead kiosk and boot brush are coming soon! 

Click here to download a preserve brochure and map.  

UPLC hosts open-to-the-public guided trips to the Preserve multiple times per year.  If you’d like to join on one of the guided trips, be sure to sign up for our newsletter, follow us on Facebook, and check out the events page  on this website for upcoming trips. 

We are happy to provide accommodations for folks who need to use mobility assistance devices while visiting the Preserve via an access road from the East. To access the Preserve from this route, please contact UPLC for details and an access map by calling (906)225-8067 or emailing The east access roads are not maintained year round.

Respect the Wild

While visiting the Preserve, it is important to remember that we are protecting this area for its pristine wilderness values and the many benefits that intact wilderness brings to our lives.

You may not have cell service in or around the Preserve (though it is increasing every year), and we highly recommend bringing a map and compass along with a working knowledge of these tools. Trails are a work in progress and may not be clearly marked or completed at this time (You can donate to support trail building here). Hunting is not allowed on the preserves, nor is overnight camping or fires. Please exercise your pets elsewhere. 

Please be sure to practice Leave No Trace principals during your stay.

Protecting wilderness areas like Indian Lake is up to you. 

Click here to be a part of the permanent protection of Indian Lake today, and help us protect properties like it across the Upper Peninsula.

“On earth there is no heaven, but there are pieces of it.” – Jules Renard