Michigan's 20 Most Popular State Park Hiking Trails

Tahquamenon Falls State Park
Tahquamenon Falls State Park

Michigan, often referred to as the Great Lakes State, is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers. With its diverse landscapes, from pristine lakeshores to dense forests and rolling hills, Michigan State Parks offer some of the most captivating hiking trails in the Midwest. In this post, we'll embark on a journey to discover the top 20 most popular hiking trails found exclusively in Michigan State Parks, each offering a unique adventure that celebrates the state's natural beauty.

1. Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park - Lake of the Clouds Overlook Trail

The Lake of the Clouds Overlook Trail, located in the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, is a mesmerizing 3.5-mile loop hike that takes you through ancient peaks and dense forests. The trail rewards hikers with a breathtaking overlook of Lake of the Clouds, which is particularly awe-inspiring during sunrise or sunset.

2. Tahquamenon Falls State Park - River Trail

The River Trail in Tahquamenon Falls State Park offers a serene 4.8-mile out-and-back hike that meanders alongside the Tahquamenon River. Hikers can savor an up-close view of the Lower Falls and find a peaceful spot for picnicking by the river's edge.

3. Negwegon State Park - The Algonquin Trail

The Algonquin Trail is a 5.5-mile loop trail near Black River, Michigan. Generally considered an easy route, it takes an average of 1 h 36 min to complete. This is a popular trail for backpacking, birding, and camping, but you can still enjoy some solitude during quieter times of day.

4. Ludington State Park - Lighthouse and Island Trail

Ludington State Park's Lighthouse and Island Trail is a family-friendly 7-mile hiking experience that combines sandy beaches, forested dunes, and the iconic Big Sable Point Lighthouse. It's a delightful blend of natural beauty and historic charm.

5. Holland State Park - Mt. Pisgah Dune Climb

The Mt. Pisgah Dune Climb in Holland State Park is a short yet invigorating hike up a towering dune. At the summit, hikers are rewarded with panoramic views of Lake Michigan and the surrounding landscape.

6. Warren Dunes State Park - Warren Dunes Trail

Warren Dunes Trail leads hikers through the park's signature sand dunes, offering the opportunity to traverse sandy stretches, explore cool forests, and enjoy stunning vistas of Lake Michigan.

7. Silver Lake State Park - Silver Lake Sand Dunes Trail

Silver Lake Sand Dunes Trail guides adventurers through the majestic sand dunes of Silver Lake State Park. This exhilarating hike offers breathtaking views of Silver Lake below, making it a favorite for those seeking a thrilling experience.

8.Maybury State Park - Maybury Hiking Trail Loop

The Maybury Hiking Trail Loop is a scenic 8.4-mile trail located near Northville, Michigan. This moderately challenging loop takes hikers through a mix of woodlands and open fields, offering picturesque views of rolling hills, wildflowers, and peaceful ponds. It's a popular trail for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers, providing a serene escape just a short drive from the Detroit metropolitan area.

9. Grand Haven State Park - Grand Haven Beach and Dune Trails

Grand Haven Beach and Dune Trails provide easy access to the beach and dunes, allowing for leisurely hikes and refreshing swims in Lake Michigan. It's a fantastic spot for families to enjoy the sun and sand.

10. Highland State Recreation Area - Hickory Ridge Trail

Hickory Ridge Trail in Highland State Recreation Area offers a serene 5.6-mile hike through wooded terrain, taking you past a picturesque lake and providing opportunities for wildlife spotting. It's a peaceful escape in a natural setting.

11. Bald Mountain State Recreation Area - North Unit Trails

The North Unit Trails in Bald Mountain State Recreation Area wind through dense woodlands, offering a peaceful escape near the Detroit metropolitan area. This network of trails invites hikers to explore the tranquility of nature.

12. Holly State Recreation Area - Seven Lakes Trail

Seven Lakes Trail in Holly State Recreation Area is a 6.5-mile loop that takes hikers through a diverse range of habitats, including woodlands and open fields. The trail is a haven for birdwatchers and offers opportunities to spot wildlife.

13.Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park - Escarpment Trail

We return to Porcupine Mountains for what is widely considered the crown jewel of trails not only in Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park but also the Midwest. The Escarpment combines a high rocky bluff and alpine-like vistas of the rugged Porkies and the park’s centerpiece: Lake of the Clouds. Scattered along the way are remnants of the area’s copper mining history. This 4.4-mile point-to-point trail offers stunning views and is rated Moderate in difficulty.

14. Waterloo Recreation Area - Eddy Discovery Trail

Eddy Discovery Trail in Waterloo Recreation Area is a beautiful hike along the shores of Eddy Lake. Hikers can immerse themselves in the scenic beauty of the area while enjoying the calming presence of the lake.

15. Pinckney Recreation Area - Silver Lake Loop Trail

Silver Lake Loop Trail in Pinckney Recreation Area is a 7.1-mile loop that leads hikers through diverse landscapes, from woodlands to open fields. It's a great spot for birdwatching and enjoying the natural beauty of the area.

16. Sleepy Hollow State Park - Sleepy Hollow Trail

Sleepy Hollow Trail in Sleepy Hollow State Park is a serene hike around Lake Ovid. This trail offers lovely water views and the opportunity to spot waterfowl and other wildlife along the way.

17. Wilderness State Park - Big Stone Bay Fishery Trail

The Big Stone Bay Fishery Trail in Wilderness State Park is a tranquil hike along the shores of Lake Michigan. Hikers can enjoy views of the pristine coastline and take leisurely strolls along the beach.

18. Mitchell State Park - Lumberman's Monument Trail

Lumberman's Monument Trail in Mitchell State Park leads to the towering Lumberman's Monument. While hiking, visitors can learn about Michigan's logging history and enjoy scenic views of the Au Sable River.

19. Hartwick Pines State Park - Old Growth Forest Trail

The Old Growth Forest Trail in Hartwick Pines State Park allows hikers to walk among towering white pines and experience the magic of one of Michigan's last stands of virgin forest.

20. Palms Book State Park - Kitch-iti-kipi Trail

The Kitch-iti-kipi Trail in Palms Book State Park is a short walk to the famous Big Spring. Visitors can take a self-guided raft ride across the crystal-clear waters to observe the bubbling springs and underwater wonders.

These 20 hiking trails in Michigan State Parks offer a wide range of experiences, from rugged adventures to tranquil strolls. Each trail showcases the natural beauty and unique characteristics of Michigan's diverse landscapes. Whether you're an avid hiker or just looking for a leisurely walk in nature, these trails provide opportunities for unforgettable outdoor adventures.