Turnip Rock Lake Huron

June 30, 2023

Turnip Rock is one of nature's most unique geologic features, perched atop the tip of Michigan's thumb in Huron County. The 35-foot limestone islet, jutting out into the waters of Lake Huron, appears as if a giant thumb was sticking out of the water, hence giving its namesake "Turnip Rock". The area around the rock has become a popular tourist destination over the years, due to its uniqueness and beauty.

Though the Precambrian origin of the rock has been theorized since the 1830s, the area’s geology was examined in more detail in the 1930s by the Michigan Department of Geology. It was found that the rock is part of what was once an abundant limestone reef, and is one of the few surviving parts of the Huron Reef system. The reef system was formed over a span of 500 million years when ancient corals flourished in a shallow sea located in what is now the state of Michigan.

There are tall and thin fingers of dolomite projecting from the large, flat limestone surface of Turnip Rock, leading to higher cliffs and rocky outcrops in places. There are many varieties of plants and animals living around the rock, including lichens, mosses, flowering plants, herring gulls, and white-tailed deer.

One of the area's biggest attractions has been dubbed "The Needle's Eye"; a natural tunnel through the rock believed to be created by wave and weather patterns causing erosion.

Visitors looking to explore the area can do so by hopping into a kayak from the bay near Grindstone City and paddling out to Turnip Rock. Note that access to the rock may be restricted due to erosion and visitor safety. Some may also opt to view the rock from the shore, though that would require accessing private property and will not provide the same experience as seeing the rock up close. This trip is for single kayak use only.

Whether venturing by water or on land, Turnip Rock is a site to be admired; sparking the imaginations of scientists, onlookers, and tourists alike.

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