Tales from the Trail: Favorite Michigan Hikes
| 3 min read
There is something about “unplugging” from busy day-to-day lives and then recharging in the Michigan backcountry. Like other outdoor-based activities, hiking provides the opportunity to relax and reconnect with nature as well as having numerous health benefits.
Focusing on Michigan, our great state has hundreds of miles of hiking trails ready for your use. Whether you are day-hiking a fun trail or backpacking in the Upper Peninsula, Michigan trails provide hikers with the perfect combination of scenery and adventure.
I have had the opportunity to backpack in several states out West, but nothing compares to Michigan. It’s simply because no other state has the lakes, rivers, trees and or a landscape that can compare to our beautiful state.
Below are some of my favorite Michigan trails and a little about them:
- Chapel Loop, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Munising, Mich.
This Upper Peninsula favorite combines recreation with scenery as you hike within Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Explore beautiful rock formations, 60-foot waterfalls and winding trails as you hike alongside Lake Superior. Chapel Loop also intersects with other trails in the lakeshore, so you can lengthen or shorten your hike as you wish. I backpacked when I hiked it, and established camping sites along the trail made it easy for me to set up camp.
- Waterloo Recreation Area, Jackson, Mich.
For being in the Lower Peninsula, the Waterloo Recreation Area has a lot to offer any hiker. Featuring diverse changes in trail, elevation and scenery, I primarily use these trails for training. The quick elevation changes keep your heart rate up and it’s a full workout between the 47 miles the area has to offer. Because there are so many trails it’s easy to lengthen or shorten your hike too, depending on what you want to hike.
- Mirror Lake Trails, Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, Ontonagon, Mich.
Surrounded by some of the most scenic views Michigan has to offer, the Mirror Lake Trails in the UP Porcupine Mountains are the trails that hikers dream of. Hikers should be in good physical condition as large parts of these trails are uphill and at significant elevation. I was backpacking when I hiked these trails and the extra time was perfect for sightseeing and relaxing in Michigan. The North and South Mirror Lake Trails lead to Mirror Lake which is suitable for fishing and camping.
- Pyramid Point, Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes National Lakeshore, Empire, Mich.
This trail is simply a favorite of mine and I had to include it on my favorite list. The trail is a two and a half mile, moderate loop to panoramic views of Lake Michigan. The trail is uphill going toward Lake Michigan, but you end up a half-mile above the lake on a sandy bluff with gorgeous views. The Lakeshore also boasts several other easy day-hikes that are worth checking out if you are in the area.
- Cheboygan State Park Trails, Cheboygan State Park, Cheboygan, Mich.
This quiet state park is really perfect for any kind of outdoor recreation, but hiking is one of its best attractions. Several worthy day hikes call Cheboygan State Park home, most two or three miles with the opportunity to mix them into longer hikes. Though no backcountry backpacking is allowed within the state park, there are durable campsites available to use. If you are staying at Cheboygan State Park I also recommend checking out different hiking trails in the area, as there are plenty nearby.
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What is your favorite Michigan hike? Let us know in the comments below!
Photo Credit: A Healthier Michigan via Flickr (feature), A Healtheir Michigan via Flickr (inset) and Dana Blankenship, A Healthier Michigan (inset).