Esch Road (Otter Creek)

Location: at the end of Esch Road, which intersects with M-22 about 4 miles south of Empire.

Parking Lot: The road is paved but pavement is really rough and ends before the parking lot, which is a small gravel lot which will have an uneven surface. In the busy summer months, cars will park along the road.

Restrooms: A vault toilet is located at the parking lot.

Water: Drinking water is not available at this beach.

Boat Ramp: There is no boat ramp.

Beach Access: A nice sandy beach starts at the parking lot. The walk to Lake Michigan is about 300 feet through deep, soft sand and goes down a pretty steep slope. Walking back to your car from the beach will give you a workout. Watch out for poison ivy along the walkway to the lake.

Click on the link to see a detailed description of the beach. This report describes obstacles you might encounter from the parking lot to the water’s edge. Cell phone coverage may be limited in the Park, so download and save. Esch Beach detail

Points of Interest: Otter Creek empties into Lake Michigan just to the left of the parking lot. This shallow, warm stream is a favorite place for kids to play in the summer. This is the site of the historic ghost town of Aral. It was a vibrant logging village with sawmill and dock. You can still find remnants of some of the foundations and dock. There is an interpretive sign near the restroom.

The trailhead to Otter Lake Loop Trail is on the gravel road just east of the parking lot. You easily hike all the way around Otter Lake. There is also a bridge over Otter Creek near the trailhead.

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