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  • Writer's pictureAllen Crater

Destination: Papin's Resort

Updated: Mar 7

overhead shot of a wooded, lakefront resort  with boat docks

Image by Eric Schaeffer

Country: USA

City, State/Province: Drummond Island, MI

Main Activity: Upland hunting

Other Activities: Fishing, Boating, Paddling, Waterfowl and Whitetail Deer Hunting, ATV Trails, Color Tours

night view from boat docks looking back at a lighted resort

Image by Eric Schaeffer


Carved into the timbered shoreline of Lake Huron's Scott's Bay, on the Northwestern side of Michigan's popular Drummond Island, sits Papin's Log Cabin Resort. The resort was the recipient of the "Best of Michigan" award from Michigan Travel Magazine in 2012 and, from its stunning location, provides access to some of the best fishing, hunting, boating, and ATV riding in the Midwest.

Drummond Island itself is steeped in history, located on the old French trader’s northwest canoe route, from Montreal via the Ottawa and French Rivers to Georgian Bay, then through the North Channel.

Early couriers, missionaries, traders, and Indian paddlers skirted the shores of Manitoulin, Cockburn, and Drummond Islands en route to the fur trade and mission posts of the Great Lakes.

Drummond is known as part of the Grand Manitoulin, which is scientifically known as the Manitoulin archipelago. The natives knew it as Potagannipy and the British called it High Island because of the high limestone cliffs. It received its current name from Sir Gordon Drummond, who was the commander of the lake district during British occupation after the War of 1812. The island was the last British outpost on American soil, finally returned to American hands in 1828 and is the only island in the Manitoulin chain that is part of the United States.

overhead shot of a fishing boat heading out into a lake

Image by Eric Schaeffer


We came to Papin's to chase grouse and woodcock, but Drummond is a world-class fishery, and several of the other lodge guests were catching their daily limit of perch while we were out flushing birds.

Besides perch, anglers at Papin's can pursue smelt, walleye, northern pike, smallmouth bass, lake trout, Atlantic, king, and pink (on the odd years) salmon, and even ciscoes, herring, and whitefish depending on the season.

Drummond Island is ideally situated for water sports of all types, whether cruising, paddling, or day-sailing. It lies amidst smaller islands at a point near where Lakes Huron, Michigan, and Superior come together. Just 35 miles from the Straits of Mackinac leading to Lake Michigan, the waters of the St. Mary’s river flow from Lake Superior on Drummond’s west side, and the famed North Channel of Lake Huron starts on the north side of the island. Boat rentals including fishing boats, row boats, pontoon boats, and kayaks, are available through the resort.

Beyond water activities, Drummond Island is also known as the ORV paradise of Michigan. Drummond’s DNR-sponsored trail system is the largest closed- loop ORV system in Michigan, and the island's trails are some of the most scenic and rugged in the state. With over 60 miles of ATV trails and 40 miles of ORV routes there’s definitely a lot to explore.

Back at the lodge you can fish from the dock, lounge around a campfire, play cards, or enjoy the quiet view from your deck.

fishing boat with outboard motor tied to a dock

Image by Eric Schaeffer


Papin's has a wide selection of cabin styles and sizes – 16 in total – ranging from the "little cabin" – which is perfect for couples, numerous two, three, and four-bedroom options for families and larger groups, up through "Big Pine"– a four bedroom plus loft location that can sleep as many as 13 and includes a game room with bar and pool table plus a private hot tub on the front deck. Papin's also offers campers for rent by the day, week, or month.

All cabins on the resort feature fully furnished kitchens with dishes, utensils, pots, pans, glasses, cups, etc., microwaves, coffee makers, toasters, refrigerators/freezers, ovens/stoves, private bathrooms with showers, satellite TV, charcoal grills, and heat. And each has access to a firepit (firewood is available for purchase).

The cabins are pet friendly, with a $15 per day fee. Guests are asked to bring their own toiletries, paper towel, charcoal, and trash bags. You can find more details on amenities in the trip planner which can be found here.

For licenses or last-minute hunting, fishing, or camping supplies Drummond Island Outfitters (Johnson's) or L & M Bait and Tackle probably have what you need. For essentials and grocery basics you'll do best at Sunes Grocery Market at the four corners, or Drummond Island Country Store on Johnswood Road.

Nearby island dining includes: The Bear Track Inn known for their hearty breakfasts, Northwoods, which offers a casual hometown atmosphere and expansive menu, Pins, the largest bar on the island featuring fantastic pizza, and Esther's, for tasty Mexican cuisine. If you are looking for something a little more upscale, try out the craft menu and amazing views at Bayside. If kitschy is more your style, don't miss the iconic Drummond Island TeePee.

two bird hunters walking through the woods with shotguns

Image by Eric Schaeffer


I had the opportunity to stay at the lodge on an upland hunting trip this past October with my buddies Jason and Eric and their two dogs, Nym and Cricket. For our stay we lodged in "Bailey's Loft", which overlooks the bay, and features one large, private bedroom, bathroom, a substantial kitchen, dining area, and living room with bunk beds and pull-out, sectional couch.

68% of Drummond Island's 87,000 acres is state owned, and most is open to hunting. Our group was new to the area, so for our first night we hunted a 2,800-acre, habitat-rich GEMs (Grouse Enhanced Management) site that included nine and half miles of cut walking trails and was just across the way from our place. We also hunted the Wandering Wilderness, and several other public-land covers on the island and the nearby Upper Peninsula mainland.

Ruffed Grouse being held up with sunlight fading in the background

Image by Eric Schaeffer

While at the resort, we cooked many of our own meals in the ample kitchen, but also succumbed to the neon lights outside the Northwood Bar and Restaurant on the second evening. The place harbored an entertaining mix of locals, anglers, hunters, trail riders, and tell-tale tourists here for the fall foliage, and offered good food and live music. The Whitefish special was a crowd favorite.

In all our stay was too short, and we left a lot of promising ground unexplored. But, rest assured, we'll be back for a longer visit next year, and we'll make sure we have the rods packed as well!

Papin's is ideally suited for groups of hunters and anglers, families, or couples who enjoy the outdoors. The cozy, modern cabins offer all the amenities, and the location is quietly removed, yet central to all the fishing, hunting, boating, ORV trails, and dining options.

Pricing: Rates vary depending on cabin size and season, and most cabins require a week-long stay during the summer and a three-night minimum the rest of the year. Key dates book quickly each year; you can click here to check availability or join the waiting list.

brown hunting dog looks out the door of a red truck by a cabin

Image by Eric Schaeffer

Getting there: Take I-75 north, across the Mackinac Bridge, into Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Continue north on I-75 to Exit 359, M-134. Take M-134 east for approximately 40 minutes and follow the signs to the Village of DeTour and the car ferry for Drummond Island. The ferry runs the one-mile, ten-minute crossing hourly and costs $20/round trip. On the way through be sure to make a quick stop at Les Cheneaux Coffee Roasters in Cedarville to say hi to our friends, Dave and Jen, and grab a cup of Joe for the road.

When you disembark the ferry, follow the main road around to the left. Go 8.5 miles to the four-way stop and turn left onto Townline Road. Then travel another 1.5 miles to the next four-way stop, and turn right onto Maxton Road. From there you'll go 6.5 miles to the driveway of Papin's Resort which is on the left.

lone deer standing on a hilly country road

Image by Eric Schaeffer

Contact info:

Address: 31240 S Maxton Rd, Drummond, MI 49726, USA

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