Heading to Woods Restaurant for dinner? Just finished the back nine of The Jewel golf course? With the sun low in the sky, you’re lucky to find yourself just a short stroll from a lesser known but worthwhile Island attraction, Sunset Rock Mackinac Island. True to its name, it may be the best spot on Mackinac Island for sunset viewing.
PRO TIP: If you’re planning to visit Sunset Rock before dinner at Woods Restaurant it is suggested to arrive at least 30 minutes before your scheduled seating so you can make it there and enjoy the view without being too rushed.
Sometimes referred to as Chimney Rock, Sunset Rock is located on the western side of the island, just below Heriot Point. There appear to be a few different routes for reaching Sunset Rock. With Google Maps, you won’t have too much trouble finding it. It’s all part of the adventure, anyway. The first step to finding your way is to identify The Inn at Stonecliffe, the large white Victorian mansion just south of The Woods at the end of a large circular drive called Cudahay Circle. If you’re in the vicinity, you can’t miss it.
Option 1: Walking from The Woods toward The Inn at Stonecliffe, if you walk around the left side of Inn, there is a trail leading south toward the back of the property and out past the apple orchard. Heading southwest toward the water, you will eventually reach the bluff. Turn right and follow the trail along the bluff until you reach the old stone stairs that take you up to Sunset Rock.
Option 2: Walking from The Woods toward The Inn at Stonecliffe, you could choose to take the right off Cudahay Circle and head towards the Lake Bluff Condos at Stonecliffe. Based on the map above, there appears to be a trail behind that property that will take you to Sunset Rock, approaching it from the north instead of from the south, as in Option 1. This route seems a bit longer than the other options.
Option 3: The most direct, but perhaps a tad more strenuous is walking from The Woods toward The Inn at Stonecliffe, walk around the right side of the Inn and into its large backyard lawn. Proceed to the very back of the lawn (away from the Inn) and then left along the row of tall hedges/brush that form the back boundary of the lawn. When you reach the far-left side, you’ll spot a small break in the brush that reveals a trail though a clearing and into some woods beyond. There is an initial short, though somewhat steep, descent that will require some care. Aside from this first part, the trail is relatively flat and easy.
Simply follow the trail southwest toward the bluff, through the clearing and the woods beyond. In about 75 yards you’ll arrive right at the stone stairs that lead up to Sunset Rock. Climb the stairs and you’ll find a stone lookout with amazing views of the Straits of Mackinac and the Mackinac Bridge. It’s quite a beautiful spot and, not surprisingly, frequently used for marriage proposals.
If you visit Sunset Rock, and you have some extra time, you might want to take the opportunity to check out The Inn at Stonecliffe. It’s a beautiful old mansion built in 1904 by Michael Cudahy (hence Cudahy Circle), who apparently became a multi-millionaire by starting a business that transported meat in refrigerated wagons.
Enjoy this taken video from Sunset Rock during the day.
Come visit the Island in person to catch its beautiful sunset in person!