Death's Door to Washington Island

Washington Island, Wisconsin

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Depending on the weather you'll either enjoy the half-hour, 6-mile crossing from the Door Country peninsula to Washington Island or wonder whatever in the world made you attempt such foolishness. When the wind whips across the channel, known as the Porte des Mortes (Death's Door), and the little car ferry bobs in the wind and waves, you'll have a firsthand idea of why this stretch of water has claimed many a life through the years. Between 1837 and 1914 twenty-four vessels were lost at Death's Door, and another forty were lost in the nearby islands. Although a rough crossing might make you nervous, be comforted in the fact that the car ferries don't run if the crossing is dangerous. Washington Island has about 650 year-round residents and relies heavily on the tourist trade. In the summer months, the island's population swells to several thousand. Fishing is still an important industry for islanders, many of whom are descendants of Icelandic settlers who came to the island in the 1800s. Things to see: Ferry crossing, Detroit Harbor; West Harbor; School House Beach, Washington Harbor; Mountain Park Lookout.
Short Bike Rides in Wisconsin

DESCRIPTION FROM:

Short Bike Rides in Wisconsin

by Greg Marr (The Globe Pequot Press)

Depending on the weather you'll either enjoy the half-hour, 6-mile crossing from the Door Country peninsula to Washington Island or wonder whatever in the world made you attempt such foolishness. When the wind whips across the channel, known as the Porte des Mortes (Death's Door), and the little car ferry bobs in the wind and waves, you'll have a firsthand idea of why this stretch of water has claimed many a life through the years. Between 1837 and 1914 twenty-four vessels were lost at Death's Door, and another forty were lost in the nearby islands.

Although a rough crossing might make you nervous, be comforted in the fact that the car ferries don't run if the crossing is dangerous. Washington Island has about 650 year-round residents and relies heavily on the tourist trade. In the summer months, the island's population swells to several thousand. Fishing is still an important industry for islanders, many of whom are descendants of Icelandic settlers who came to the island in the 1800s. Things to see: Ferry crossing, Detroit Harbor; West Harbor; School House Beach, Washington Harbor; Mountain Park Lookout.

©  Greg Marr/The Globe Pequot Press. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Road Biking
Nearby City: Washington Island
Distance: 14.7
Trail Type: Loop/Lollipop
Skill Level: Easy to Moderate
Riding Time: 1.5 hours
Season: Spring to fall
Driving Directions: Directions to Death's Door to Washington Island

Recent Trail Reviews

9/20/2006
0

A good, low traffic ride. Old West Harbor Road was beautiful. Mostly interior island, not much water view. The ride on the ferry was great fun.



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Apr 2018