It’s time to lace up those hiking boots and hit the trails! As our snow melts in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, the birds will be back with their songs. Listen to their call and join them outside. But how is this weather different from any other hiking season? We’ll tell you.
Spring is the best time to see our waterfalls
Our waterfalls are flowing at full force thanks to the thaw and snowmelt, which means this is the best time to visit them. Catch their beautiful fury up close or from a distance. Hike to multiple in one trip, even. You’ll find beautiful blooms along the way, see some animals out from their winter hibernation and just get some much-needed fresh air.
Wear comfy clothes without freezing or overheating
A hike in the spring in Michigan’s U.P. means decent temperatures. It’s much warmer than our winter freeze, but cooler than our summer heat. Meaning if you do have to wear layers, you won’t overheat while doing so. Some days, you may even get away with a light jacket!
Best spring hiking trails in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula
Now that winter is over you will want to get out and stretch your legs. Here are some of our favorite spring hikes.
North Country Trail
The North Country Trail actually spans over 4,800 miles across seven states in the United States, making it the longest National Scenic Trail in the country! And about 550 miles of that pass through Michigan’s U.P. It offers hikers stunning views of Lakes Superior, Michigan, and Huron, and the surrounding forests, and passes through several state parks and forests. That includes Tahquamenon Falls State Park, Hiawatha National Forest, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore and Ottawa National Forest. The trail is well-marked and maintained by volunteers from local hiking clubs. Plan your route on the trail online. You can find many of those waterfalls along this route.
Tahquamenon Falls State Park
In this popular state park, There are hiking trails along the four-mile trek between the Upper and Lower Falls, following the Tahquamenon River. Beyond that, the state park has over 35 more miles of trails, which lets people see beautiful portions of the park that are less visited. The longest hike is along the North Country National Scenic Trail, which travels 16 miles within the park, including the trail between the Upper and Lower Falls.
Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
Hike 100 miles of trails among sandstone cliffs and Lake Superior — take day hikes or backpack and backcountry camp for several days. Stop by the visitor centers for trail maps and updates on conditions. One of the more popular trails is Chapel Falls Trail, which offers a 2.5-mile round trip hike along an old roadbed, through an upland maple forest to the breathtaking 60-foot-high waterfall. The North Country Scenic Trail also runs through this park for 42 miles!
Porcupine Mountains State Park
Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park is the largest state park in Michigan and offers more than 90 miles of hiking trails. The park's rugged terrain and stunning vistas make it a popular destination for hikers. Some of the best trails to explore in the spring include the Lake Superior Trail, Summit Peak and the Escarpment Trail. And while you’re there, make sure to check out the view above the Lake of the Clouds!
Seney National Wildlife Refuge
If you really want to tuck yourself into the wilderness, then wander along the trails across 95,000 acres of wetlands, forests and grasslands in Seney National Wildlife Refuge. We recommend the Manistique River Trail and the Pine Ridge Trail. There are more than 25 hiking miles ranging from easy nature walks to challenging hikes. And there is a spectacular chance you’ll see a diverse array of wildlife, including over 200 species of birds.
Isle Royale National Park
A hike at Isle Royale is like no other. Leaving the wider, more-frequented trails near Rock Harbor and Windigo, hikers enter into a unique natural landscape. Narrow trails with few other signs of humans lead through boreal forests, wetlands and over rocky outcrops. Once away from the main waterways, the only sounds are that of nature such as the rustling of leaves, loon calls, bellows of moose, chirps of squirrels and songs of birds. Popular sights and viewpoints include Grace Creek Overlook, Minong Ridge Overlook, Scoville Point, Mount Franklin, Suzy’s Cave, Ojibway Fire Tower, Edisen Fishery and Rock Harbor Lighthouse. Plan for spring weather and transportation to the island!
McCormick Wilderness Area
McCormick Wilderness Area is positioned within the Ottawa National Forest. The 17,000-acre designated wilderness area offers hikers miles of trails through dense forests and along the shores of several lakes. The wilderness area is named after Cyrus McCormick, who invented the mechanical reaper and was an early investor in the area's iron mines. Hiking trails in the McCormick Wilderness Area range from easy nature walks to more challenging hikes, with some trails passing over steep hills and rocky terrain. You may see a diverse array of wildlife, including black bears, moose and wolves, as well as several species of birds. Hikers can also fish in some of the lakes in the wilderness area, which are home to trout and other fish. We suggest hiking on the McCormick Trail, a 6-mile loop taking hikers through hardwood forests and past several lakes. For more of a challenge, take the 10-mile Sturgeon River Trail, known for its stunning waterfalls and steep canyon walls.
Plan your spring hiking trip NOW!
There are plenty of other trails to traverse in Michigan’s U.P. Visit our hiking page for pointers, trail listings and other information. Extend your hiking trip and see more! Book your stay now to carry on the adventures another day.