Day Hikes on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula

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Every hiker should set aside a road trip (or two) to visit the upper peninsula. Seeing the Gitchie Gumee (Ojibwe for Lake Superior) firsthand is inspiring. But that’s not all. The mountains are soft, rolling, and covered in trees. Here are a few recommendations for great day hikes on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula to get your awesome road trip started.

Porcupine Mountains

Be sure to set aside plenty of time to explore the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park. You will find amazing old-growth forests, rivers, great lakes, waterfalls, and mountains all in one day. Here are two fantastic hikes that showcase this park’s wonders.

Photo Credit: Michigan DNR

Big Carp River Trail

This 9.6-mile hike takes you from the mountains to the lakeshore. Start with the Lake of the Clouds overlook. From there, enjoy a moderate hike westward along a dramatic, forested bluff. After enjoying river and waterfall vistas, you’ll wind up on the shores of Lake Superior.

For details, click here.

Overlook Trail

This moderate loop is 2.7 miles. There are some steep sections, so be prepared to work a little. Depending on when you’re visiting, I highly recommend taking your bug net and Deet. We were there in July, and it was seriously buggy. We’re talking stable flies, mosquitoes, and black flies. Be prepared, or prepare to be miserable.

The Overlook Trail is a fantastic hike for one reason. That reason is old-growth trees. They are absolutely wonderful. Prepare to travel back in time. On this hike, you’re given the chance to imagine for a moment what the great forests may have looked like before we harvested all that timber for money. I found myself feeling awed and despondent at the same time. The trees tower above, making one feel both small and young.

For details, click here.

Day Hikes on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula

Just a head’s up, visiting Michigan’s State Parks requires the purchase of a recreation pass. For information, click here.

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

One quick spot to check out is the Miners Castle Overlook. This is the park’s most popular spot. Check out this iconic viewpoint, and then head over to the Miners Falls Trail.

Miners Falls Trail

You don’t have to work hard at all to get views on this short, easy 1.7-mile hike. What you will get is a beautiful, forested hike. It all culminates with a viewing deck and a dramatic waterfall. Enjoy this lovely, simple hike.

Log Slide Overlook Trail

This “hike” is all about the view of Gitche Gumee. It’s about half a mile to the epic vista. It is unique in that you can follow the log slide down to the shore of Lake Superior. It’s a very steep drop. Just remember, coming back up isn’t optional, and it will take you twice as long as going down. Also, be prepared to work very hard. Steep climbing in the sand is work.

For details on Pictured Rock’s hiking trails, click here.

For other hiking destinations, click here.

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We’re Melony and Travis LaCoss.  Better known on the trail as Stretch and RamboJuice, hikertrash bloggers, photographers, and all-around dirtbags.

A few years ago, we took a giant leap away from our conventional lifestyle to backpack in the United States. After spending 5 months on the Pacific Crest Trail, we started our blog Hikerlore to share stories and provide useful information to backpackers, hikers, and outdoor travelers.

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2 Responses

  1. misti
    | Reply

    Looks like a gorgeous series of trails! I’d love to get to the northern areas of the US at some point for some of these trails!

    • Stretch
      | Reply

      It is really pretty up there! I highly recommend Isle Royale National Park, if you’re ever up that way. You’d love the plants. They have some very interesting species.

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