You don’t have to be a full-blown outdoor fanatic to appreciate a beautiful hiking trail or unique walkway. Luckily for those of us who call the Great Lakes State home, we’ve got convenient access to all sorts of spectacular fresh air destinations, including some of the prettiest pathways imaginable. When you’re eager to stretch your legs while appreciating everything our region has to offer, be sure to check out these five best hikes in Michigan.
1. Empire Bluff Trail
It’s no secret that Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is one of the most stunning places in all of Michigan, if not the entire country. For a front-row look at the blue waters of Lake Michigan and the duneland that sets this area apart, head out for a stroll along Empire Bluff Trail. This 1.5-mile round trip journey leads visitors through forest foliage, alongside wildflowers in the warmer months, and atop sandy terrain before giving way to sweeping views of the shoreline. You’ll want to snap a few photos to remember this hike. For additional information, read our previous feature article about Empire Bluff Trail here.
2. Miners Castle Trail
If you find yourself in the far reaches of the Upper Peninsula, a hike along Miners Castle Trail belongs on your outdoor bucket list. Accessible by car from Munising in approximately 20 minutes, this short and sweet trail extends for just a half mile and leads to brilliant views of Lake Superior and Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Whether you’re here during the hottest months of the year or hoping to appreciate the splendor of fall foliage in the U.P., it’s tough to go wrong. Learn more about Miners Castle Trail by clicking here.
3. Detroit RiverWalk
We know, we know: the Detroit RiverWalk might not fit your typical definition of a hiking trail, but we couldn’t leave it off the list. After all, this unique bankside pathway in the Motor City is a truly spectacular place to stretch your legs, whether you’re a Detroiter or an out-of-town visitor. There are approximately three miles of walking space along the Detroit River, complete with public art pieces, restaurants, and even a state park with a lighthouse. When you’re ready to learn more about this award-winning walkway, click here.
4. Arcadia Marsh Boardwalk Trail
There’s something truly lovely about strolling along a boardwalk trail, and one spot in Michigan delivers plenty of charm and scenery. The beautiful Arcadia Marsh Boardwalk Trail extends for just under a mile and offers access to a 400-acre marsh, which is often dotted with flowers, greenery, and even the occasional waterfowl. If that weren’t enough, the trail prides itself on being “universally accessible,” so it can be enjoyed by folks of many abilities. When you’re ready to be enchanted, there’s no better spot to stroll. For details about Arcadia March, read our previous article here.
5. Escarpment Trail
Serious hikers will likely be familiar with this stunning trail, which winds through Michigan’s marvelous Porcupine Mountains near Ontonagon. The trail is decidedly challenging, so we don’t recommend it for beginner hikers. Those who are up for an adventure, though, will appreciate eight marvelous miles of hiking space and an elevation gain of over 1,600 feet. A highlight of the trail is its Lake of the Clouds overlook, from which hikers will appreciate beautiful views of this freshwater gem and the surrounding landscape. This out-and-back trail is a must-visit for those who love to spend time outside in Michigan. Learn more by reading our previous piece here.
So, there you have it: five of the best hikes in Michigan. While we hope you’ll check out the spots on our list, we’re well aware that Michigan is chock full of trails and outdoor attractions – and it would be impossible to feature them all. If you’d like to recommend another great natural area in Michigan to explore, fill out our official nomination form here.