Whether you’re on the Lower Peninsula or the Upper Peninsula, you’ll never run out of scenic, challenging trails in Michigan. Here are five of the state’s best destinations for your next hiking adventure.
Greenstone Ridge Trail
One of Michigan’s most scenic paths, the Greenstone Ridge Trail extends the entire length of Isle Royale National Park. During your multiday hike along this spine-like trail, you can take in more than 40 miles of old-growth forest, sweeping Lake Superior vistas and inland lake overlooks. Thanks to the park’s remote island location north of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (only accessible via ferry or seaplane), you’re likely to enjoy plenty of solitude as well — aside from a rare moose or wolf sighting.
The Escarpment Trail is fairly short distance-wise, but it’s long on beautiful views. Part of the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park on the Upper Peninsula, the Escarpment Trail runs for about 4.3 miles alongside the Lake of the Clouds and Big Carp River. For most of this distance, the trail runs along the edge of rocky cliffs above the lake and river valley, shifting between wooded sections and stunning, panoramic vantage points where you can see the forests, waters and hills spread out below.
A day hike around the Chapel Loop trail is the perfect way to sample the stupendous scenery on display at the Upper Peninsula’s Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Along this 10.4-mile trail, you’ll encounter shady forest growth, a pair of lovely waterfalls, a clifftop beach and stunning sandstone formations (including the iconic Chapel Rock) along the shore of Lake Superior. Pictured Rocks offers about 100 total miles of trails, and you can easily turn your trip into an overnight one if you want to hike the lakeshore’s entire 42.4-mile length.
Jordan Valley Pathway
Part of Mackinaw State Forest in the Lower Peninsula, the Jordan Valley Pathway runs alongside the Jordan River for several miles before looping back to its starting point. During your overnight hike on this 18-mile trail, you’ll pass through the river valley’s extensive hardwood forests, cross natural springs, ascend rugged hills, encounter sweeping vistas and enjoy plenty of chances to spot wetland and woodland wildlife. As part of the Michigan Natural Rivers Program, the Jordan is also a prime spot for canoeing and fishing if your hike leaves you craving more outdoor adventures in the area.
Located in the Pinckney State Recreation Area near Ann Arbor, the Potawatomi Trail loops for more than 17 miles across rolling, wooded terrain. Along the way, you’ll encounter hardwood forests, hills, lakes, streams (spanned by wooden bridges), swamps and landscape features formed by ancient glaciers. If you’re planning to stretch your hike out over two days, you’ll find a rustic campground where you can spend the night.
Whether you’re planning a rugged day hike or a longer journey, you’re sure to make vivid memories and experience unforgettable scenery along these five Michigan trails.
This article is presented by Bill Marsh Automotive Group in Traverse City, Michigan.