Scenic Hiking Trails in Michigan You Have To Explore

“Scenic” and “Michigan” are essentially synonyms, and Mother Nature’s bounty awaits at just about every turn. There are over 2,000 marked trails throughout the state, but here are the five spots where every hiker—from novice to advanced—should make tracks.

North Country National Scenic Trail

Once completed, this 4,600-mile path will traverse seven states. Michigan is home to a quarter of the planned route, and the family friendly out-and-back stretch that kicks from Fallasburg County Park in Lowell is a great place to get a taste. The hike follows a riverside path then meanders through historic Fallasburg, where history buffs can admire the town’s covered bridge that has stood since 1871.

Big Carp River Trail

An out-and-back trail popular with backpackers, campers, and hikers alike, this Upper Peninsula attraction is challenging yet well-marked and maintained. As part of the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park system, it is flanked by Lake Superior and blessed with waterfalls and river crossings along the way.


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Empire Bluff Trail

This 1.5-mile out-and-back trail near the small town of Empire is part of the ultra-popular Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore system. Its moderately hilly, beech maple-filled terrain is beloved not only among hikers, but birders and snowshoers as well. Iconic Lake Michigan views from atop the trail’s bluff have inspired post cards and paintings for decades; vivid sunsets and a sea of stars await come nightfall.

Chapel Loop Trail

One of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore’s more well-traveled hikes, this Upper Peninsula route passes two cascading waterfalls and offers stellar Lake Superior views at nearly every step. But the route’s main draw is the “pictured rocks” themselves, which are actually a series of dramatically colored (thanks to mineral seepage) sandstone cliffs that rise up to 200 feet above the water.

Sugarloaf Mountain

Just north of Marquette lies this charming, and very scenic, loop trail. Areas are rocky and may be slippery in winter, but well-maintained staircases help ensure a safe arrival at the summit, where panoramic views of Lake Michigan and glimpses of nearby islands await.


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