The Upper Peninsula has what feels like endless hiking trails that range from beginner-friendly to challenging enough to intrigue the most advanced outdoor adventurer. The region also has year-round hiking conditions that span all four seasons, which gives you tons of freedom for planning your adventure.
From ADA-accessible paths to rocky and snow-filled trails that will test your mettle, there are lots of options for finding a place near a Porcupine Mountains hotel that offers hiking areas with breathtaking views. Most people who visit the area will want to plan for enough time to try out several trails that offer different chances to see unique scenery and wildlife.
Knowing about these top places to go hiking in the Upper Peninsula can help you start planning an itinerary that leaves you feeling in complete awe of nature.
Start Off Easy With the Presque Isle River Waterfalls Trail
Distance: 1.5 miles one way with an optional loop
This easy-to-moderate trail is perfect for people new to hiking in the Upper Peninsula, giving a considerable payoff for only minimal effort. This dog-friendly trail offers a wheelchair-accessible boardwalk and parking area that makes it possible for everyone in your group to enjoy taking in the majestic views of the three waterfalls that roar to life along the trail. Most people can complete this hike in under an hour, but you can also choose to take the optional loop. If you do, remember that the loop can be muddy. Just remember to bring waterproof shoes if you plan to hike out through the loop, and you’ll be absolutely fine.
Enjoy Another Easy Hike at Bond Falls
Distance: one-mile loop
Waterfall chasers tend to flock to Ironwood hotels in the spring and early summer when they are roaring to life, but you can also opt to see them frozen in place along many hiking trails in the winter. If you’re on a waterfall hunt or want another more leisurely hike, then the Bond Falls Loop is perfect. After taking a trail up to the top of this 50-foot beauty, you’ll be rewarded with a beautiful view of the Ontonagon River. If you feel like continuing your adventure, Agate Falls is nearby, offering an even easier hike compared to what you’ll have just done.
Choose Your Level of Difficulty On the Sugarloaf Mountain Trail
Distance: 1.4-mile loop, or take the shorter staircase option
With over 300 steps, visitors to Ironwood hotels often call the shorter version of this trail the staircase challenge. Despite the stairs, many people also claim that this is the easier route to climb to the peak, where you can spend time on the wooden deck taking in views of Lake Superior and the surrounding forestland.
The loop around might seem easier due to the lack of stairs, but it can range from easy to moderate, depending upon the current trail conditions and your level of fitness. The majority of hikers can finish this route in under an hour, not counting the time spent enjoying the views at the top. But you’ll want to remember that the markers can sometimes be spread out even though the trail is marked. Make sure to familiarize yourself with the trail first, and bring along a map and compass to make sure you don’t accidentally veer off-route. During times of the year with rapid weather changes, it’s also best to check the current trail conditions before you leave your Porcupine Mountains hotel for the day.
Get Ready for a Challenge On the Porcupine Mountains Escarpment Trail
Distance: 8 miles out and back, but you can shorten your trip as needed
This trail isn’t far from hotels in Ironwood, where you can enjoy a good night’s sleep before you go for this moderate to difficult hike. Although it is longer than many of the other popular trails in the area, it gives you an opportunity to see some of the most picturesque views around. As you hike, you’ll encounter three peaks along the ridge: Cloud, Cuyahoga, and Miscowawbic. You’ll also be able to see Lake of the Clouds and Lake Superior while getting away from the more crowded parking areas that are closer to the shorelines.
The Porcupine Mountains are well-known for the beautiful fall colors that pop up every year, making this a lovely place to go hiking when you plan a trip between September and October. Although, you’ll also enjoy beautiful sights at any time of year. In fact, seeing the Lake of the Clouds frozen over and surrounded by snow is a unique experience, too.
Stretch Your Endurance On the Chapel Loop at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
Distance: 10.4-mile loop
Now, this is one of the most beloved places to go hiking in the Upper Peninsula, but doing the whole loop can be a bit of a challenge. Although the trail is rated as moderate, some people may find that the distance pushes them to the brink of their endurance. If you go at an average pace without stopping, you should be able to finish the loop in just under four hours. But overnight camping is also available to allow you to turn this into a two-day adventure.
The reason why everyone loves this hiking trail is that it offers you a little bit of everything that the Upper Peninsula has to offer. Waterfall enthusiasts can look forward to seeing both Chapel and Mosquito Falls, and you’ll want to snap plenty of pictures when you get to the world-famous Chapel Rock. If you plan to visit this area but feel less than adventurous on your arrival date, you can also choose to take a shorter route to either of the two main waterfalls.
If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to go hiking in the Upper Peninsula, then the best way to find out the answer is to start planning your experience. Our Ironwood hotels are stocked with everything you need to rest from your travels and get prepped for an outdoor adventure, and you’ll love being able to sink into a whirlpool at the end of the day or chat with our staff about trail conditions before heading out.
Whether you choose a short, beginner-friendly trail or push yourself on rugged terrain, you’ll finally be able to say that you’ve been fully immersed in the Upper Peninsula’s beauty. In fact, you’ll probably be planning your next trip before you even head home. After all, there’s always something new to explore in one of the most amazing places you’ll find outdoors.