Top 5 Hiking Trails in Michigan
- Iron Belle Trail
When finished, Michigan’s Iron Belle Path will be the longest official state trail in the United States, stretching 1,250 miles on foot (770 miles on bicycle). The trail’s two unique paths begin in the western Upper Peninsula hamlet of Ironwood and conclude in metro Detroit’s Belle Isle Park, with a more rustic path for walkers and a shorter, paved route for bikers. For a diverse trip through white pine forests, over the Mackinac Bridge, and finally along the city streets of downtown Detroit, look for starting sites in any of Michigan’s 48 counties.
- Lakeshore-North Country Trail
The Lakeshore Trail in Pictured Rocks connects to a section of the North Country National Scenic Trail in the north, passing by crashing Lake Superior waves, the towering white Au Sable Light Station, Chapel Rock, Spray, and Bridalveil Falls. For day hikes, start at Grand Marais, Twelvemile Beach, Miners Castle, or Munising, or trek the entire 42-mile route and camp along the way.
- Big Carp River Trail
The Porcupine Mountains State Park, which spans 60,000 acres in Michigan’s western Upper Peninsula and has approximately 90 miles of trails, is the state’s biggest and most isolated state park. The 9.6-mile Big Carp River Trail gives you a wonderful perspective of the Porkies’ most beautiful landscape. The path ascends from Lake Superior’s shore to the Lake of the Clouds, passing through a picturesque valley. If you have time, continue along the Escarpment Trail, which follows the ridge above the Lake of the Clouds, or the North Mirror Lake Trail, which goes to the park’s highest lake, Mirror Lake, at 1,532 feet above sea level.
- Great Warren Dune Trail
The Warren Dunes, which are popular with visitors trying to escape the summer heat of Chicago, are even more stunning in the fall, when the park’s oak and hickory woods break out in vivid colors of orange, red, and yellow. To really appreciate the magnificence of this southwest Michigan getaway, hike the Great Warren Dune Trail. Before reaching a magnificent length of golden Lake Michigan shoreline, the 4-mile circle travels through hardwood forests and rises over towering dunes.
- Grand River Trail
On this 4-mile loop in Ingham County, explore the banks of Michigan’s longest river, the Grand. Grand River County and Burchfield Parks, located 10 miles south of Lansing, connect to form a beautiful riverside greenspace near Michigan’s state capital. Expect a winding path that climbs over river bluffs, through wetlands, past century-old farms, and through hardwood forests that are especially lovely in the fall.