East Quarry Trails – Horseshoe Lake
The East Quarry Trails are a five-mile network of hiking and biking trails that wind around the abandoned limestone quarry in the interior of the island. The main entrance to the trail network is on Ward Road, just east of the entrance to the North Pond Boardwalk. Additional entrances can be found on Division Street, Woodford Road, and Monagan Road, although some of these trailheads are not well-marked. The trails take you through woodlands, around the flooded eastern end of the quarry – known as Horseshoe Lake – and down onto the largely barren floor. The trail surface is moderately level with rocky terrain, suitable for novice and intermediate cyclists.
The East Quarry was operated by the Kelleys Island Lime & Transport company between 1933 and 1940. Originally, this quarry was connected to the larger quarry west of Division Street. Limestone was hauled underneath a bridge on Division by the company’s fleet of narrow-gauge Shay locomotives. Some of the abandoned tracks from this rail line can still be seen beneath the waters of Horseshoe Lake.
Today, Horseshoe Lake is filled with abundant aquatic and plant life. It is one of the island’s most popular fishing locations, as well an excellent location for spotting and photographing wildlife. The quarry is also the best place on Kelleys Island to go fossil hunting. Hundreds of millions of years ago, the limestone that forms Kelleys Island today was a ridge in the floor of a tropical sea. The rocky walls and floor of the quarry are packed with the fossilized remains of corals, brachiopods, cephalopods, and more. If you look closely, you can also find scrapings from the glaciers that carved Lake Erie and the islands tens of thousand years ago – smaller versions of the impressive striations visible at the Glacial Grooves.
- CategoryNatural Areas, Things to Do
- LocationKelleys Island, Not Downtown