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10 Best Upper Peninsula Hiking Trails: Find Top Hiking Trails in the UP

woman hiking the upper peninsula - best hiking trails in the u.p.

Best Hiking Trails in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula

Looking for some amazing Upper Peninsula hiking trails?

Hiking is one of the best ways to destress and enjoy the great outdoors.

Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is home to an abundance of wildlife, neighboring the powerful and majestic Lake Superior. With arguably the most beautiful forests in the Midwest, there are many great places to explore and experience the best of Michigan’s natural beauty.

As a nature lover, hiking is one of my most favorite activities to do whenever I visit my parents in Marquette. Some days I feel more adventurous, but other days I want an easier hike, and thankfully there are a wide variety of trails ranging from easy to hard.

So whether you’re up for an adventurous trek up the mountains or just want a short and easy daytrip to do some sightseeing, there are trails for you!

To help narrow it down, I have put together a list of ten of the best hiking trails in the UP. So, pull out your maps and fill your water bottles, and don’t forget the bug spray!

Note: Make sure to check the weather, road/trail conditions, and park regulations before heading out!
“Time needed” is calculated based on average, but this can vary depending on walking speed and rests.

Manabezho Falls - hiking trails in the upper trails
Manabezho Falls

Upper Peninsula Hiking: Easy Trails to Hike

Presque Isle River Waterfalls Trail

Length: 1.9 miles one way, optional loop
Time needed: 47min
Difficulty: Easy to moderate
Dogs allowed; must be on a leash

If you’re an avid waterfall lover, the Presque Isle River Waterfalls Trail is the perfect hike for you! This trail features Nawadaha Falls, Manido Falls, and the great 25-foot-tall Manabezho Falls. The Presque Isle River is very scenic, with powerful rapids.

To add, there is also a wheelchair-accessible boardwalk and a suspension bridge crossing over the river.

While the trail is technically a loop, most prefer to treat it as a point-to-point, as the loop back is a muddy ATV trail. If you decide to take your chances with the loop, it shortens the trip back (by distance), but waterproof boots are recommended. Otherwise, this is an easy and well-maintained trail that’s great for a family outing!

upper peninsula waterfalls - hiking trails in the upper peninsula
O-Kun-de-Kun Falls

O Kun-de-Kun Falls – North Country Trail

Length: 1.3 miles one way
Time needed: ~55min
Difficulty: Easy
Dogs allowed; must be on a leash

Looking for an easier trail but still want beautiful scenery? O Kun-de-Kun Falls is a great place to visit!

Located in the North Country Trail, this hike is considered easy, with a relatively flat gravel path that is well-maintained. An all-terrain wheelchair should have no problem, and it’s a fun place to explore with your dog!

Tip: To get a closer view of the falls, cross the bridge downstream. You can walk right up to the waterfall!

Presque Isle Park Loop

Length: 2.3-mile loop
Time needed: ~47min
Difficulty: Easy
No dogs allowed

Presque Isle Park Loop is a favorite among the locals of Marquette! With such an easy hike around the beautiful lakeshore, what’s not to love? The trip will take you less than an hour, and all the while you can get close and personal with Lake Superior.

The view is especially magnificent during sunset. If you come during the summer, there are even ice cream and hot dog concessions, and a playground for the kids!

PRO-TIP: Take some time explore Marquette’s Black Rocks Cliffs. If you visit in the summer, you might see some folks jumping off the cliffs into Lake Superior below.

sugarloaf mountain - best trails in the upper peninsula
Sugarloaf Mountain in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula

Sugarloaf Mountain Trail

Length: 1.4-mile Loop
Time needed: 42min (15-20min shorter trail)
Difficulty: Easy to moderate
Dogs allowed; must be on a leash

Depending on which route you decide to take, this hike can either be a 15 to 20-minute walk with a staircase leading up to the viewing point, or a 42-minute loop around. This hike ranges from easy to moderate, depending on how you do it.

The stairs are pretty steep, but the trail around is relatively tame. Taking both of these routes can be very rewarding, especially with the spectacular view from up top! From up there, you can see for miles, and even get a view of some of the places mentioned earlier: Lake Superior, Presque Isle and Little Presque Isle, Hogback Mountain, and Marquette!

hiking trail in Michigan's upper peninsula - michigan hiking trails

Shoreline Trail from Wetmore Landing – Little Presque Isle

Length: 3.6 miles one way
Time needed: ~3h
Difficulty: Easy
Dogs allowed; must be on a leash

If you’re like me and love both the deep woods and the lakeshore, the Shoreline Trail in Little Presque Isle is a great place to experience both at the same time! Along the trail, you can enjoy a well-maintained path surrounded by trees, all while having a constant gorgeous view of Lake Superior and the land stretching out into it. There is a refreshing cool breeze that comes off the lake into the woods, and the sound of the waves will relax your nerves.

Beyond the trail is the secluded Hidden Beach, which can be accessed by taking a path that branches off to the right, just before the wooden stairs leading to the viewing platform. If you’re lucky, you might even get the beach all to yourself!

Chapel Rock in Pictured Rocks - hiking trails in the upper peninsula
Chapel Loop

Upper Peninsula Hiking: Moderate Trails to Hike

Chapel Loop – Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

Length: 10.4-mile loop
Time needed: 3h 40min, with overnight camping available
Difficulty: Moderate
No dogs allowed

Chapel Loop at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is a favorite hike for many. This trail offers spectacular views and Michigan’s natural beauty at its finest. You can get a little bit of everything from this trail—two gorgeous waterfalls, the luscious forest surrounding you, the wonders of the great ancient tree atop Chapel Rock, and the vastness of Lake Superior. It’s no wonder this spot is so popular! There is limited parking, so make sure to arrive early.

Even though it’s the longest trail on the list, the stunning views make it well worth the time and effort. There are several resting spots along the trail, and even overnight camping spots near Chapel Beach and Mosquito Beach, both of which you’ll pass by along the way.

If you want a shorter trip but still wish to see the falls, enter counterclockwise (the main starting point) and follow the trail for about 1.3 miles to see Chapel Falls. Entering clockwise will take you to Mosquito Falls (3 miles), following the rocky trail that branches off from the main trail.

porcupine mountains - best hiking trails in the upper peninsula
Porcupine Mountains

Porcupine Mountains Escarpment Trail

Length: 4.4 miles one way (can be shortened)
Time needed: 4h
Difficulty: Moderate to hard
Dogs allowed; must be on a leash

Considered one of the most picturesque hiking trails in Michigan, the Porcupine Mountains Escarpment Trail has many magnificent sights to behold. From Lake of the Clouds to the Upper Carp River Valley, you will never run out of photos to take, so prepare your cameras! Porcupine Mountains is also by far one of the best places to view the fall colors, so I recommend planning a September or October trip. Spring and summer are also great times to visit!

This is a very popular area, but unlike Chapel Loop, there are plenty of parking spaces available. This trail is considered to be moderate to hard in difficulty, depending on how far you go. The trail isn’t too bad until you near the end, where there are many roots and loose rocks. Make sure to wear good hiking shoes or boots! If you want to take a shorter journey, Lake of the Clouds is definitely worth seeing.

Norwich Bluff Trail – Trap Hills

Length: 2.7-mile loop
Time needed: 1h 20min
Difficulty: Moderate
Dogs allowed; must be on a leash

Trap Hills is a historical area with awesome views and places to explore. If you’re a history fan and up for an adventurous hike, Norwich Bluff Trail is a great start! There’s a really cool abandoned mineshaft and an old gravesite, and you’re bound to stumble across some interesting discoveries. Being a lesser-known hiking trail, it’s likely you may have the place all to yourself! While not popular, it has stunning views and is a great place to see the fall foliage!

There isn’t a marked parking area, but you may park in the clearing just off of Norwich Road. Just follow the path east for a quarter mile until you reach a marked trail to the left. Even though it’s relatively a short hike, Norwich Bluff Trail is considered moderate in difficulty due to the steep hill. Take care around the mineshaft, but don’t worry about falling in—there have been bars installed for safety!
Also, if you want to travel even further, there are longer trails in Trap Hills ranging from 6 miles to 20 miles!

More Moderate Upper Peninsula Hiking Trails

Hogback Mountain

Length: 3.1 miles one way
Time needed: ~3h
Difficulty: Moderate to hard
Dogs allowed; must be on a leash

Hogback Mountain is certainly the place for well-seasoned hikers or those who are feeling adventurous! Difficulty can range between moderate or hard depending on season and trail conditions, but the views at the top of the mountain (and the feeling of triumph) make it all worthwhile. Once you climb to the top, you are rewarded with breathtaking views stretching on for miles, at every angle you turn. This hike is a personal favorite of mine!

Make sure to wear good hiking shoes or boots, as there is quite a climb with many rocks and upraised roots. During the winter months, it can get very icy, so if you want to avoid the ice, the best times to go are between April and October.

If you decide to take your chances in the winter, make sure to wear ice cleats and watch your step during the climb near the top. (Even though I wore ice cleats, I still slipped after taking a wrong step!) Rain can also make the trek slippery.

isle royale - best hiking rails in the upper peninsula

Scoville Point – Isle Royale

Length: ~4.5-mile loop
Time needed: ~4h (varies depending on route)
Difficulty: Moderate
No dogs allowed

Scoville Point is similar to the Shoreline Trail, as it has a beautiful forest surrounding it, while having magnificent views of the lake. There is a spectacular viewpoint secluded from the more popular areas, and you can reach this spot by taking both the Stoll Memorial Trail and the Scoville Point Trail.

Make sure to check the schedules of the ferries leading to the island, because you’ll need to take one to get there!

Map the Top 10 Hiking Trails in the Upper Peninsula

Map of the best hiking trails in the upper peninsula

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About the Author –

Aiden Peltier is a content writer for My Michigan Beach who is currently in their senior year studying at Grand Valley State University, with a major in Writing. They have enjoyed writing and drawing since they were a child, and they take a lot of inspiration from music and nature. They are currently exploring many opportunities in the writing field and plan to graduate with a Bachelor of Arts degree in December 2022.