Hiking in West Michigan
Thinking about hiking West Michigan?
West Michigan is a top Michigan travel destination, known for the vibrant city life of Grand Rapids as well as the stunning natural beauty of the land.
You can explore the beauty of the West Michigan landscape on 10 of its most outstanding hiking trails. The trails range from hiking trails near Lake Michigan with stunning views of the lake to a high ridge trail through pine forests. These miles of trails loop through some of west and northern Michigan’s most magical terrain, where you can immerse yourself in the beauty of nature.
From South Haven in southwest Michigan to the white pines of the Muskegon Lakeshore in western Michigan, there are endless miles of hiking and biking trails, and we have picked some of the best for you to explore.
Whether you’re seeking a wooded trail, dune trail, nature trail, river trails, or even a Michigan beach, these West Michigan trails will transport you to the serenity of the natural world.
This guide is for those who every day enjoy exploring the world and need to take a break from the hustle and bustle of city life and breathe the fresh West Michigan air. So, take a walk with us.
Use the Interactive Map of West Michigan Hiking Trails
The Manistee River Loop Trail
Upper River Rd, Mesick, MI 49668
Set in the Manistee National Forest, one of Michigan’s best-loved national forests, this northwest Michigan trail is a favorite for backpackers and campers eager to spend some time basking in the natural beauty of pure Michigan.
This almost 20-mile trail follows the ravines overlooking the river and leads down to the riverside. This is a moderately difficult trail that offers amazing views from high atop the river banks.
Trek alongside the winding Manistee River through pristine forests and see a small but picturesque waterfall. With several bridges to cross, this is truly one of the most beautiful journeys you can take through Michigan. Leashed dogs are allowed on the trail.
Length: 19.2 miles
Elevation: 1,824 ft
Lost Lake Trail
Muskegon State Park, Laketon Township, MI 49445
Located right next to Lake Michigan in Muskegon State Park, the Lost Lake Trail is an easy trail for the everyday explorer that wants to take a moment to enjoy the natural beauty of West Michigan.
Take a walk around Lost Lake with friends and family, where you’ll spot rare Michigan wildflowers like Milkwort and Atlantic Blue-eyed Grass.
The trail has a number of wheelchair-accessible picnic tables and restrooms making this route accessible to everyone. Being so near the water and wetland makes the Lost Lake Trail an excellent place for bird watching and fishing. Keep your eye peeled for American Bittern and Cooper’s Hawks, both of whom make the wooded land along the trail their home.
Bonus? This trail is also dog friendly.
Length: 4.5 miles
Elevation: 88 ft
Nordhouse Dunes Loop
Nurnberg Trailhead, W Nurnberg Rd, Free Soil, MI 49411
Overseeing Lake Michigan, the Nordhouse Dunes Loop in the Nordhouse Dunes Wilderness Area near Ludington MI is one of the most popular hiking trails in Michigan.
Take your shoes off and pad through the sandy dunes. This trail is also an excellent spot for camping and bird watching. The route is moderately difficult and leads through the untouched West Michigan woodlands.
Length: 5.7 miles
Elevation: 357 ft
Aman Park Loop
O-1859 Lake Michigan Dr, Grand Rapids, MI 49534
This short loop takes you under thick Michigan canopies that are great for cool walks in the heat of the summer. Explore all the nooks and crannies of the woodlands at the Aman Park Loop. This is an easy route for the everyday explorer and ideal for a family outing. Wildlife and wildflowers are all over this trail for you to see and enjoy.
Length: 2.3 miles
Elevation: 131 ft
Luton Park Trail
Prairie Overlook Parking Lot, 5871 Kies St NE, Rockford, MI 49341
This quintessential hiking trail takes you through the towering pines, gentle hills, and small creeks beds of West Michigan.
The Luton Park Trail can be as long or short as you would like with various routes that go from easy to more difficult trails.
Length: 8.0 miles
Elevation: 429 ft
Lost Lake and Lighthouse Trail
Free Soil, Michigan 49411
A part of the Lost Lake area, the Lost Lake and Lighthouse Trail takes you on a five-mile hike from Hamlin Lake beach to Big Sable Point Lighthouse.
Explore the coast, the lighthouse, and the surrounding Ludington State Park. The lighthouse, which has been standing since 1866, is open daily from May to November; 10 am – 5 pm.
Length: 4.9 miles
Elevation: 173 ft
Hemlock Crossing Park
8115 W Olive Rd, West Olive, MI 4946
Skirting Pigeon River, this trail features the Nature Center at Hemlock Crossing Park making it great for the whole family.
Located north of Holland MI, the Hemlock Crossing Park hiking trail is a wonderful destination for animal and nature watch enthusiasts. This moderate trail is also perfect for experienced hikers, and cross-country skiers.
Length: 6.1 miles
Elevation: 196 ft
Deep Lake Trail
2526 S Yankee Springs Rd, Middleville, MI 49333
Located in the Yankee Springs Recreation Area North of Kalamazoo, this is one of the longer trails in West Michigan with 12 miles of forest and lake hiking. The Deep Lake Trail is for those who want to get away from the city and go deep into the woodlands of West Michigan, where you’ll see a ot of deer, and other wildlife.
The Deep Lake trail is abundant with wildlife and Michigan wildflowers. Along the trail is even a naturally hollowed out tree that has been designated as “Pooh’s Corner”. From marshlands, to woodlands, to bogs, lakes and creeks, this lakeshore trail has a little bit of everything West Michigan has to offer.
Length: 12.0 miles
Elevation: 849 ft
Dune Climb Stairway at PJ Hoffmaster State Park
PJ Hoffmaster Beach, 6585 Lake Harbor Rd, Norton Shores, MI 49441
A part of the P.J. Hoffmaster State Park, north of Spring Lake and Grand Haven, the Dune Climb Stairway hiking trail leads right along the coast of Lake Michigan. Follow this walking trail to be rewarded with amazingly scenic views of Lake Michigan and the surrounding sand dunes.
Follow the paved path to the boardwalk, where you’ll climb almost 200 stairs and it’s totally worth every step. Be sure to stop by the Gillette Nature Center to learn more about this nature preserve.
This trail is a great destination to stargaze, watch the sunset, or to take a moment to dip your toes in the cool waters of the lake. Explore the dunes of Hoffmaster Park with friends and family on this leisurely route out on the lakefront.
Length: 4.1 miles
Elevation: 318 ft
Millennium Park Yellow Trail
1415 Maynard Ave SW, Walker, MI 49534
The largest of the Kent County Parks, Millennium Park has more than 1,400 acres country to explore with an 18-mile trail system, including some paved trails to explore. The trails difficulty range from easy to moderate. Just outside of Grand Rapids, near the John Ball Zoo, this hiking trail explores the Grand River and the wetlands around the area.
The Millennium Yellow Trail takes you right through the heart of Millennium Park. It’s perfect for fishing, biking, crosscountry skiing and running. The Park even has a beach with restrooms and a playground for the kids. Considered an easy route, the Millennium Yellow Trail is a great start for the everyday explorer to get out into the beauty of West Michigan’s wetlands and woods.
Length: 4.8 miles
Elevation: 88 ft
PRO-TIP: The Fred Meijer Millennium Trail connects to a trail along Wealthy Street in Grand Rapids, allowing for access to the parks from southwest communities in Ottawa County and Kent County.
Though our tour of 10 of the most outstanding hiking trails in West Michigan has ended, your journey through the pristine nature of West Michigan has just begun.
More to West Michigan Hiking Trails
You can find more hiking trails throughout west Michigan, Use the interactive map to explore all of our top picks for the best West Michigan hiking trails.
- Saugatuck Dunes State Park
- Rosy Mound Natural Area
- Fallasburg Park
- Pigeon Creek Park
- Crahen Valley Park
- Musketawa Trail
- Cascade Peace Park Trail
- White Pine Trail
- Blandford Nature Center
- Seidman Park
One of the best hiking trails in west Michigan is the Manistee River Loop Trail, located in the Huron Manistee National Forest near Mesick, Michigan. This almost 20-mile trail offers opportunities to take in views of the river, cross bridges and see a waterfall.
More West Michigan Things to Do
About the Author-
Colin Blassingame is Content Writer for Mymichiganbeach.com and is currently finishing his BA in Writing at Grand Valley State. He enjoys volunteer work writing newsletters for small local organizations in his hometown of Grand Rapids. Colin intends to continue his schooling and begin pursuing a degree in Physics abroad in Japan with plans to focus on Astronomy. He enjoys talking long walks in the snow and listening to podcasts in his free time.