About Turnip Rock in Port Austin

Turnip Rock is a beautiful, wondrous land formation off the coast in Port Austin. Never been there? Unbelievable. And so is Turnip Rock.

The gigantic stone developed its signature look after millennium of being worn away by waves thumping across its bow. After being separated from the mainland in prehistoric times, Turnip Rock is an island inhabited by some trees and very little else.

TurnipRock2As all of the nearby land is privately owned, this real-life replica of a Yes album cover by Roger Dean is only accessible via the water or after slogging across the frozen surface of Lake Huron, weather conditions permitting.

Just off the Michigan shore, google map reference 44°04’06.0″N 82°57’32.5″W, can be found, if you know where to look, less than two miles north east of Port Austin the amazing sculptured land mass known as Turnip Rock. You’ll find 20′ high trees, squirrels and very little else on the rock. Just to the west is the tip of the thumb rock, also known as the Thumbnail of Michigan, the point furthest north of the Thumb.TurnipRock3

Turnip Rock remains a little-known, little-visited beautiful rock formation and minuscule tidal island. As mentioned, since it is surrounded by non-public land, one of the only ways to get there when the lake is not frozen is by kayak. There are kayaks to rent, updated maps and instructions at portaustinkayak.com.

As the kayaking journey is a 3.5 mile trek each way using the Point Aux Barques trail, experience in kayaking is helpful. The lake around the Rock is relatively shallow, and does allow voyagers to leave their boats and walk around while sending a few photos to Facebook. Please take care and don appropriate shoes, as the rocks can be quite slippery.

Tandem kayaks are not allowed on the trail to Turnip Rock. This trip is for single kayak use only, and is usually accessible from March until mid November.


    1. Well as far as I am aware if you can float it you can paddle it in the Great Lakes. As far as the water depths you need check them every season because of the variance in lake levels by the season. This year you can probably get in easily. I have already had my 17′ sea kayak in there this year and last. Check the weather before you venture out as storms move quickly and leave little time for quick exits. I usually leave from Eagle Harbor then paddle to Port Crescent day use area to exit. But depending on time you have there are numerous points to exit. Paddle safe !

  1. Hi, I have been searching but unable to find an answer to my question which is…
    Is there anywhere on the mainland that you can hike to to view the rock? I’ve had a long time dream of doing some plein air painting of Turnip Rock. So obviously kayaking to it is totally out of the question 🙂

    1. The shoreline from bird creek park in Port Austin to Eagle Bay boat launch near Grindstone is all private property with privately owned and privately maintained roads. The only public property which has a view of Turnip Rock is Lake Huron in its’ liquid or frozen state. Plein air is setting up on public property and painting what you can see, even if it is on private property. The following link details plein air painting near Acadia Nationbal Park. http://watchmepaint.blogspot.com/2017/09/respecting-private-property.html

  2. If the weather does not allow kayaking, you can charter a boat, as there are 7 charter captains who work out of Port Austin or Grindstone. The first two advertise tours to Turnip Rock. team gunsmoke 9899630215https://www.teamgunsmokesportfishing.com/turnip-rock-tour-pricing.html, Sandpiper 2392467101,
    finlander- 8104041875, good news charters 9898562091, j-lyn charters 8105420426, mermaid fishing charters 8103001561, under pressure 9895533435,

  3. David Robert Davidson says:

    WOW! Just stumbled across a picture of turnip rock on a video post in YouTube of all places. Decided I had to check out more! Anyways I’m glad I did. Will have to come back to Michigan again soon and visit Turnip Rock. Best wishes.

  4. Steven l Collins says:

    WHY IS IT that Michigan has NO Land there for a Public Park so all Michigan can see this and NOT just a FEW Rich landowners or people that able to Kayak for 4 hr one way ???????

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