4 Hidden Gems in Michigan’s Parks

Michigan is home to some of nature’s most beautiful and breathtaking sights. There’s hundreds of trails within Michigan’s state and national parks, each with gorgeous scenery and the stuff that “Pure Michigan” commercials are made of.

Considering a hiking, backpacking, or day trip? Here are a few parks that you may want to consider:

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore Imagine being able to get a firsthand view of the Lake Superior shoreline lined with towering sand cliffs. Along with amazing rock formations such as the sea arch, and the famous Indian head, Pictured Rocks is also home to some of the most beautiful waterfalls and beaches. This park is great for relaxing, backpacking, and kayaking. Find out what else Pictured Rocks has to offer.

Tahquamenon Falls State Park This park is home to one of the state’s largest and most famous waterfalls. Tahquamenon features an awe-inspiring 200-foot-wide waterfall with a 50-foot drop. There’s over 35 miles of hiking trails and 17 miles of canoeing. If you want to get the most out of your visit rent a row boat and visit the small island within the park that holds five other water falls. Get an inside glimpse of Tahquamenon Falls State Park.

Sleeping Bear Dunes Empire Bluff Trail offers a moderate hike with unforgettable scenery. As you make your way through this trail you will move throughout a beech-maple forest where you will find old farm equipment from the 1940s. The best part is you’ll have a crystal clear panorama of Lake Michigan where you’ll be 400 feet above the lake. Find more information about Sleeping Bear Dunes.

Cheboygan State Park Check out the five and a half miles of trail that follow Lake Huron, better known as the Lighthouse Ruins Trail. You’ll have miles of beachcombing and the chance to see the ruins of an 1859 lighthouse. If you’re looking for trails with several offshore lighthouses that offer gorgeous scenery of Lake Huron’s coast this is definitely the trail for you. See what else Cheboygan State Park has to offer.

There is no way we can fit all of the beauty of Michigan in one post. Which parks are your favorite? Please share with us in the comments.

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Photo Credits: Bad Kleinkirchheim


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  1. Attention to detail: only two state park “Hidden Gems” are described. Pictured Rocks and Sleeping Bear Dunes are National Lakeshores, they are not state parks. In which state park or national lakeshore was the photo taken?

    1. Thanks for your attention to detail, John. The headline has been corrected to accurately reflect what readers can expect to find in this post. The original photo actually wasn’t taken in Michigan, but reflects the type of scenery you can find in our beautiful state! When possible, we like to use photos from Michigan, but if we can’t find something appropriate, we sometimes choose photos that capture the emotion that best supports a blog post. After thinking it over, we decided to highlight the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, which is the new photo that accompanies this blog post. Thanks again for being an active, engaged reader – we appreciate your feedback!

  2. I’ve been going to Wilderness State Park every winter for the past 20+ years . Renting the log cabins back in the woods in the middle of winter is a unique way to spend a long weekend. These sturdy log cabins were built by members of the Civil Conservation Corps during the depression days in the late 1930’s and it’s amazing how well they were constructed and have held up so well after all these years.

  3. Nordhouse Dunes is a great site also! The dunes aren’t as big as Sleeping Bear but they’re more secluded with lake access and great for an overnight trip! The dunes are about a 2 mile hike in from the parking lot which was great for an overnight stay. Recently visited Nordhouse, Sleeping Bear, Tahquamenon, and Pictured Rocks all within a week and Nordhouse was the favorite because it was more accessible for hiking/backpacking with a dog (we didn’t camp at Sleeping Bear or in the park at Pictured Rocks because of the no-dogs policy).

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