A month ago I had never heard of a nature megaphone. Heck, there wasn't even one in the US a month ago!
So when I read an article that said a (use your hand here and do air quotes with me) "nature megaphone" had been installed only 25 minutes away, it quickly moved to the top of my "must check this out asap" list. Because everyone has one of those lists, right?
Scott and I packed up our backpacks with some snacks and headed out to see the only known nature megaphone in the US.
The megaphone was the goal but by the end we realized, like most things in life, that it's not about the destination, it's about the journey.
The less than 2 mile roundtrip hike was BEAUTIFUL. We saw and enjoyed a million and one birds and we got to get outside and spend some time in nature. That right there is enough of a reason to get out and make the nature megaphone a destination. We actually found ourselves going back 2 weeks later to hike and go birding with our nephew, Gabe. He knew nothing about the megaphone until we got there, we just liked that specific hike so much!
One of my goals this summer was to explore more of Michigan and share our adventures with others. This was a good start. Below I share some tips and more about going to explore the megaphone for yourself but also be sure to take a look at the video Scott and I made about going to see the nature megaphone for the first time. We're going to be making more videos so make sure you're subscribed to my YouTube channel!
Here are a few of the things you need to know when going to explore the nature megaphone for yourself!
WHAT THE HECK IS A NATURE MEGAPHONE?
I'm so glad you asked! The nature megaphone amplifies the sounds of nature around you. You climb inside lie down or sit, and just be still and listen. To be honest, I couldn't tell a huge difference in regards to actually amplifying the sounds around me buuuuttttt it DID make me be still and listen and pay attention to everything I was surrounded by.
The megaphone overlooks an old deer plot and is near the Pigeon River and when you listen you can hear the river and the abundance of nature from afar.
It's said to be the only nature megaphone in the US and it's in freaking Northern Michigan. This is a special place, I tell ya what folks.
WHO MADE THIS THING?
Get this, it was built by the Petoskey High School building trades class. 15 students put in more than 250 student hours building this thing. How cool is that!?
An employee for Little Traverse Conservancy saw it online in a different country and started to get the ball rolling to get one here. He got the wood donated, connected with the school, and voilà....nature megaphone.
WHAT'S THE HIKE LIKE?
Easy peasy. The hike to the megaphone is relatively easy with mild hills and a clear trail. We took our 8-year-old nephew and he kept up just fine. It's dog and kid friendly with different access points to the Pigeon River.
You can download a printable map here or they have clearly marked signs throughout the trail.
I'M IN. HOW DO I GET THERE?
The nature megaphone is in the Boyd B. Banwell Nature Preserve but the shortest way to get there is by starting at the Agnes Andreae Nature Preserve parking area.
From Indian River, Michigan (exit 310 off I-75) take M-68 east 4½ miles. Turn left onto Old Onaway Rd. Go north on Old Onaway Rd and turn right on Riverwood Trail. You will see the parking area at the intersection with Big Sky Trail. Park in front of split rail fence.
Here is a link to the Little Traverse Conservancy website to find out more.
MORE THAN A MEGAPHONE
The nature megaphone is great if you're looking for a quick hike but I recommend making the most out of your trip. Take a blanket, pack a lunch, bring your swim suit, skip stones by the water, just make sure you spend some time exploring this nature preserve. When we went there first time, we took this picnic backpack and our camping stove and had ourselves some egg sandwiches!
There are a few benches along the trail that you can stop and enjoy the views at. One of our favorite things was just sitting and listening to the different birds in the different parts of the woods. Early in the hike you'll approach the Andreae Cabin and a bridge, overlooking the Pigeon River. Between the bridge and going down to the water, I really enjoyed spending some time just skipping stones beside the cabin.
There are a few signs throughout the hike showing information on the history of the nature preserve and what you might see along the way.
Make sure you put the nature megaphone on your list of things to do. It's such a cool thing we have access to here in Northern Michigan. Let me know if you have any questions about the hike or how to get there. And for sure let me know if you go visit! The second time we were there we ran into a family that was there because they saw us post about it on Instagram. How cool!
Happy adventuring my friend!
**A huge thank you to Nikki Leech who provided a few of the photos below!
If you enjoyed this blog, I have a feeling you'll like this one: It's all about my trip to Frankenmuth, Michigan!