I love exploring our state. There are so many cool features...from waterfalls, to mountains, to so many lakes, and even large earth cracks.

Wait, what? Earth cracks? What are those?

I discovered these things in the northeast region of the lower peninsula recently. At one point, the area where these large earth cracks are found was actually a tourist attraction. Over the years people have stopped flocking to see these works of nature, but thankfully, the 76 year old Mystery Valley Karst Preserve and Nature Sanctuary is still maintained for visitors in Presque Isle County, just north of Alpena.

The area is maintained by both the Michigan Karst Conservancy and the Michigan Nature Association. The preserve contains a blind karst valley that terminates in a significant sinkhole. A karst is described as limestone regions in which caves and sinkholes are often found.

I had the chance to visit Mystery Valley recently. It is located at 14814 Leer Road in Posen, Michigan.

It takes about an hour to walk around the area. You will see one earth crack after another. It's amazing to see how some of the vegetation has adapted to these cracks. You will see trees just teetering on the edge, with through tree roots growing down into the crevices.

It's sad that former tourist attractions like this are just not that interesting to people anymore. Now people want things like fast roller coasters and flashing lights. I'm glad that this place is still maintained so that people can see some of the interesting features of our fine state.

Here are some photos from my visit...

  • Photo: Scott Winters/Townsquare Media


    When you arrive at Mystery Valley you just find a small parking space alongside the road. Next to that is a sign that describes a little about Mystery Valley. There is also pamphlets available that give you a self-guided walking tour around the area.

  • Photo: Scott Winters/Townsquare Media

    Warning Sign

    One of the first things you will see as you near the giant earth cracks are warning signs telling you to stay out of these cracks.

  • Photo: Scott Winters/Townsquare Media

    Amazing Cracks in the Surface

    Once you get past the warning signs you will be amazed at the amount of earth cracks that you will see. Some of these go well into the ground.

  • Photo: Scott Winters/Townsquare Media

    Deep Cracks

    You can see the bottom of some of the earth cracks, while others seem to go on forever.

  • Photo: Scott Winters/Townsquare Media

    Unique Formations

    It was very cool to find this place and see these things

  • Photo: Scott Winters/Townsquare Media

    Wild Flowers

    Along the walk, not only will you see the earth cracks, but there are some wild flowers as well.