Looking for an off-road, off the beaten path adventure?
If you are headed towards Drummond Island, add this site to your to-do list.
The “ledges” are made up of the fossilized remains of a salt water coral bed on the north shore of the Island. They create steps down into Lake Huron and a unique site to see. You can walk along the shoreline for a couple miles to see the fossilized rocks; it is fun to look at the designs in the rocks!
I also enjoyed swimming here; it was a great way to cool off on a hot August day! The water is nice and warm on the shallow steps and then you can basically ‘step off’ and fall down into deeper water. Fun for adults, a little dangerous for the younger ones.
But I would be wrong to say that the fossil ledges themselves are the only interesting thing to see on this journey- the path to find this place is just as interesting. Be prepared for some off-roading.
My Journey to Fossil Ledges (a.k.a. follow these directions; otherwise you might be lost and walking for a while!)
In case I haven’t mentioned it before, I drive a two-wheel drive Ford Fiesta. It’s an awesome car for the city streets and long highway drives- however not so well suited for Drummond Island. If you have a high clearance vehicle, I would suggest bringing that. Otherwise you might be doing a lot of walking (like I did).
We were warned by the visitor’s center that we may have to walk, however the distances were a little off to say the least. Every year the roads change, as they are all unpaved and the weather varies month to month. So that said, you may get farther than we did next year. Or you may not get as far.
Ok, ok, you get it. High clearance vehicle or walk. On to the directions!
Let’s pretend you are starting at the Visitor’s Center, right downtown Drummond. You are going to take a left on S Townline Rd. Follow this for a minute or two until you come to a four way stop at E Maxton Rd. Turn right here. You are going to stay on E Maxton Rd as it turns into S Maxton Rd. Keep following this for about nine miles. I think at some point this road turned into a gravel road, but I cannot remember. It was a perfectly fine gravel road though however!
You’ll reach an opening which is called “Maxton Plains”. There is an interpretive sign at this point so you know you’ve reached the right stop. Take a right at this junction! (Google Maps labels this as Colton Bay Rd.) According to some directions you are going to 3.2 miles till your next turn. That sounds about correct to me. I do know that we were told to take the first well-traveled road our left- this is NOT correct! There are three well-traveled camp roads before you have to turn.
Luckily we ran into a knowledgeable local who lived out there who gave us a valuable hint: you will drive down in a slough (a marshy, low lying land) and then right past it is a big spruce tree and a well-traveled road to the left. Boom! We found it easily. The tree did have some ribbons on it to mark it, who knows how long they will stay. This road is Raynolds Bay Rd. according to Google Maps, however is not labeled.
The road was fine for cars until this point, as long as you do not mind gravel. Past this point it becomes some uneven limestone and gravel. We took my car about a quarter of a mile in and then parked and walked the rest of the way. From this point to the end is about 2.5 miles.
You will know that you are on the right road because about half a mile in you’ll come across a farm on your left and you’ll drive (or walk) through a prairie area. Keep on this road, and bear left when you come to a junction. You should now be on Poe Point Rd, not that you will be able to tell since there are no street signs!
’ll come to a swamp area which was pretty muddy when we came across it. 2WD high clearance vehicles shouldn’t have a problem with this, but if you don’t think you’ll make it you can park your vehicle here and walk- you’re almost there!
You’ll come to another Y right after the swamp, take the right road! I believe there were also ribbons on the trees here. If you take the left, you’ll go on to private property. The parking lot/beach is .1 miles from here! You should see the ledges as well as Canada at this point.
Congratulations, you made it!
Alright, even though we had to walk probably over five miles there and back, it really was not that bad of a hike. There is lots of wildlife out here; I could not even count the amount of butterflies I saw! I also caught a few frogs and almost one snake. So, there is a silver lining to not being about to drive.
Bottom Line: Fossil Ledges is a unique place formed by nature that not many people know about or get to visit! Follow these directions to have a safe & fun adventure.
Other Things to Note: Cell service does not work out here. Where it does work in some places, it is roaming on Canada’s network and will probably charge you extra. So do not plan on using it for a GPS, it may not be very helpful.