The Radar Hill Hiking Club, launched in early 2021, is a service of RiverWood Council. It is an informal group – essentially an email list – whose goal is to promote the use of trails in the greater Saugatuck-Douglas area. We sponsor monthly hikes and help maintain our local trails.
Radar Hill is better known as Mount Baldhead, the iconic dune just east of Oval Beach in Saugatuck. The name comes from the radar tower that looks like a big white ball on top of Old Baldy. From 1958 through 1968 the tower was an active part of a Cold War system that monitored the northern border of the United States, on the lookout for encroaching aircraft.
These days the tower serves as a landmark. On summer days it is easily visible from Lake Michigan and on winter nights Saugatuck Harbor is crowned by a giant star that hangs from the tower’s supports.
The area around the radar tower is a hotspot for hiking. After climbing 300 steps to the top hikers have their choice of four trails back down Mount Baldhead, and three other trails are to be found within half a mile.
The Radar Hill name is not well known, so we hope it piques curiosity and spurs interest in local history. A group affiliated with the Saugatuck History Center is currently working to preserve and promote the radar station. Check out their Facebook page.