top of page


Plum and Pilot Islands are located in Death's Door Passage (also known as Porte des Morts), the strait of water separating the tip of northern Door County, Wisconsin from Washington Island.

Plum Island is the large island located in the middle of the passage.

Pilot Island is much smaller, and located at the Eastern entrance to the passage in Lake Michigan.

To visit us, keep reading!

range lights hig panorama -Heffernan.jpg

4 Ways to Experience
Plum Island

  • Lighthouse Cruise aboard Friends of Plum & Pilot Island's boat The Shoreline. Cruises include stop on Plum Island. Proceeds benefit the historic structures on both islands!

  • Lighthouse Cruise aboard the Island Clipper  (external link) - including a stop on Plum Island

  • JOIN US & Volunteer - Transport is FREE to our volunteers!

  • Private boat (See below)

range lights hig panorama -Heffernan.jpg


is open to public use during daylight hours Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend for hiking, wildlife observation, and nature photography on designated trails and beach areas only.

Private Boat Docking:

The water depth on the inside of the dock is 11 feet on the far end and nine feet near the boat house.
On the outside of the dock, the depth varies from 12 feet to 13 feet to about one-half the length before an obstruction brings the level up to about six feet.
No overnight docking permitted.

Foot travel only on the island (no motorized vehicles or bicycles) and use of boot brush station is mandatory to prevent the spread of invasive species.

Dogs are welcome but must be leashed and pet waste picked up and removed. 
NOT PERMITTED on Plum Island: motorized vehicles; bicycles; fishing from the dock; swimming from the dock or other structures; collection of plants, berries, seeds, mushrooms, rocks, fossils, antlers, or other artifacts; fireworks; camping; campfires; geocaches and drones.

​To learn more about the historical and beautiful features that make up Plum Island when hiking the island or traveling by boat to the Refuge, visit our Audio Tour page.

​Plum Island facilities  are very rustic.  There is no potable water available on the Island, so please bring your own so you don't dehydrate while hiking. Vault toilets are available behind the Lifesaving Station Crews' Quarters.
Plum & Pilot Islands are part of the Green Bay National Wildlife Refuge managed by the US Fish & Wildlife Service.

Pilot Island


"Pilot Island remains closed to public access to meet the primary conservation purpose of the site for migratory and colonial nesting birds, and as related to the State of Wisconsin’s terms for the 2007 lands transfer."
- About the Green Bay National Wildlife Refuge

2 buildings on a rocky, barren island. Dead trees dot the island, most of which is white and gray from bird guano. The center of the island is green with weeded vegetation

Friends of Plum and Pilot Island works under the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's (USFWS)  Friends Policy  (633 FW 1), and within the 2022 Friends Partnership Agreement with the Green Bay National Wildlife Refuge.

For the purposes of historic preservation, our partnership is maintained  to meet National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) requirements, and with its implementing of regulation 36 CFR Part 800. All work that we conduct in partnership with the Green Bay National Wildlife Refuge follows  The Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties  and  The Secretary of the Interior Professional Qualifications Standards.

Plans for treatments on all structures on the National Register of Historic Places found at Plum and Pilot islands are, at minimum,  preservative  in nature as defined in the Standards. This will avoid any “Adverse Effect” determinations while consulting with Wisconsin's State Historic Preservation Office and the USFWS.

 For information regarding plans and strategies for historic preservation at the refuge, please contact

bottom of page