MI Historical Marker - Skull Cave, Mackinac Island

Ever spent the night in a bad hotel? Uncomfortable bed? Drafty room? Angry Indians trying to kill you?

That was how Alexander Henry spent the on evening on Mackinac Island in 1763. Granted, the accommodations on the island were not what they are now, but that was still rather extreme. When the chief of the Ojibwe tribe wanted to kill Mr. Henry, a friendly member of the tribe, Wawatam, hid Alexander in Skull Cave overnight. And it just happened to be that Skull Cave was an Indian burial site.

It's not nearly so scary these days, with a historical marker and far, far fewer hostile Indians to worry about. It's easy to find, at the corner of Garrison Road and Rifle Range Road. You're not allowed to sleep in it, but if you do, I promise, I won't tell.

Marker Text

According to tradition this is the cave in which the English fur-trader Alexander Henry hid out during the Indian uprising of 1763. The floor of the cave, he claimed, was covered with human bones, presumably Indian.

Cave in the Woods, Mackinac Island

There are several famous points on Mackinac Island, with Arch Rock, Fort Mackinac, and British Landing coming first to mind. But the island has several other, lesser-known sites as well, mostly on the interior of the island, far away from main concentrations of visitors. A quick look at one of the free maps from the visitor's center will show you all kinds of historical goodness to discover.

Cave in the Woods is one such place. It's not a difficult place to find or visit, but it is distant from the downtown area - well, as distance as something on an island that's only eight miles in circumference. My daughter and I had brought our bikes to the island - that's what the cool kids do - and after riding around the coast to British Landing for ice cream at The Cannonball, we decided to head inland to visit the not-so-famous cave, which my daughter had never seen.

The easiest way to reach the cave is to take State Road where it intersects with British Landing Road near the airport. (State Road intersects British Landing Road in two spots, and either one will you there.) A sign by the side of the road points to Cave in the Woods, and an easy to follow trail leads through the forest to the cave.