Hiking trails in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula
Hiking trails in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula are as close to an untamed wilderness as you may experience in the contiguous United States. Thanks to a wide variety of hiking terrain, this is an activity that anyone can enjoy. Some of our paths are even ADA accessible and paved. Planning to hit the trails on your next visit? Here’s everything you need to know!
Advantages to hiking in the U.P.
Our trail systems let you explore the acres of land in your hiking boots that some visitors may never encounter while traveling the main roads. You'll find more privacy than you generally find elsewhere thanks to lower traffic trails that bring you a truly peaceful hiking experience. Don’t worry though — you won’t have to sacrifice sightseeing and jaw-dropping views!
Hiking year round
It’s always hiking season in the U.P.! Here’s what you can look forward to each season:
You can immerse in our snowy world with hundreds of miles of cross-country ski and snowshoe trails that are suited for all levels and abilities. Our forests transform into silent, glittering cathedrals and our Great Lakes shorelines into ice-sculpted landscapes. Many state parks offer the magical experience of lantern-lit trails with a blazing bonfire and hot chocolate waiting when you return. These trails are also some of the best places to catch glimpses of wintering birds and wildlife — bring your binoculars.
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. 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. Spring hiking is a real treat!
With sunnier, warmer weather, summer is a great time to explore trail systems that send you up mountains, along rugged and soft sandy shores, deep into the woods and hiker-welcoming historic towns. This is also a perfect time for backpacking with temperatures a little warmer at night. And you get some of those same perks as spring, like waterfalling to multiple gorgeous cascades in one hike!
One of the most show-stopping, jaw-dropping hikes of the year is the one with a vista full of colorful, crisp fall foliage. From reds, oranges and yellows to deep purples and golden browns — this is a must-do on your fall visits. Michigan’s U.P. has been voted #1 in the country for best fall foliage destination multiple times by USA Today’s Reader’s Choice. Take these 11 scenic hikes to get the best of it!
Dog friendly trails in the U.P.
Dogs are allowed on most hiking trails in the U.P., but it's always a good idea to check with the specific trail or park beforehand. Some may have certain restrictions or rules regarding pets, such as requiring them to be on a leash or limiting access to certain areas.
One popular hiking trail in the Upper Peninsula that allows dogs is the North Country Trail. This trail spans over 4,600 miles across seven states.
What to pack for hiking
As a general rule of thumb, wear comfortable shoes, bring bug spray and sunscreen, and dress in layers based on the weather forecast. Have plenty of water and snacks depending on how far you plan to hike. A fully charged phone and downloaded map never hurts either. Bring your snowshoes or traction devices come winter. We get a lot of snow up here! If you plan to backpack or go deep into our wilderness, bring a compass, too. We suggest staying on the marked trails if you get turned around easily. Lastly, you are likely to see some wildlife on your trek. Please watch peacefully from a distance.
Here are our must-hikes:
While it’s hard to choose favorites, these hikes are up there for us!
- Canyon Gorge Trail — easy (L’Anse)
- Manistique Boardwalk and River Walk — easy (Manistique)
- Botanical Trail — easy (Mackinac Island)
- Bare Bluff Trail — moderate (Mohawk)
- Sugarloaf Mountain Trail — moderate (Marquette)
- Piers Gorge Trail — moderate (Norway)
- Chapel Falls to Chapel Beach Trail — moderate (Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore)
- Tahquamenon Falls State Park hike between Lower & Upper Falls — moderate (Paradise)
- Escarpment Trail — hard (Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park)
- Iron Belle Trail — hard (Ironwood)
We can’t wait for you to hit the trails! No matter the season, an Upper Peninsula hike is more peaceful each step you take.