Best Day Hikes in the UP

Trails End Resort is not only surrounded by a 10,000 acre lake, there's thousands of acres of national and state forests and pristine wilderness. We're fortunate to be centrally located and close to so many great places to explore on foot.

For those who enjoy a bit of technology, I recommend the AllTrails app for exploring the trails below. It will help guide you so you don't get lost, and provides some great info on each trail.

Before heading out, especially on longer or more remote hikes, be sure to have with you the National Parks Service's recommended 10 Essential Hiking Items: Navigation (map or GPS), sun protection, insulation, illumination, first aid kit, fire kit, food, water/hydration, and emergency shelter (at least a space blanket). I also recommend a poncho or rain jacket as rain can pop up unexpectedly in the UP.

Here are just a few of our most recommended day hikes in the UP. There are many more! For more waterfall specific hikes, check out our Waterfalls page.

Seney National Wildlife Refuge (Easy - Moderate)
Some of the closest hiking to Trails End are in Seney Wildlife Refuge. It's full of....wildlife! Including over 200 species of birds. This is wonderfully easy, peaceful place to walk, with lots of places to sit and think.

There's a short 1.5 mile hike suitable for families called the Pine Ridge Nature Trail, a 0.5 mile extension from it called the Wigwam Extension. The Northern Hardwood Trail is great for Spring and early Summer wildflowers too.

For those into geology, the Strangmoor Bog is there, considered the best example of a sub-arctic patterned bog in the lower 48 states.

Tahquamenon Falls State Park (Easy - Moderate)
Probably one of the most popular parks near us for day hikes. You can be there in about 45 minutes from Trails End and start either at the Upper Falls parking area or the Lower Falls. A state park pass is required and sold at the ranger station.

There's several trails to choose from, but the Upper and Lower Tahquamenon Falls Trail is the main one and is an 11-mile out and back trail that follows the course of the river and enables you to visit both falls. Plan on 5-6 hours to do the entire trail.

While the Upper Falls are the main visual attraction, the Lower Falls are popular for swimming and playing.

North Country Trail Section: Lower Falls to Old Stove (Moderate)
For a more remote hike, there's the Lower Falls to Old Stove section of the North Country Trail. It's a 5.2 mile point-to-point trail that include a beautiful lake and, at times, some mud and bugs, but it's well worth it. You can play in the water to cool off.

This hike is on a part of the massive North Country Trail which spans 8 states! Check out the entire trail here at the North Country Trail Association.

Tahquamenon Logging Museum & Nature Trail (Easy)

To the north of Newberry is the Tahquamenon Logging Museum dedicated to the history of lumberjacks! There's also a short nature trail at the museum suitable for the whole family that goes along the banks of the Tahquamenon River.

In the summer, there's often a lumberjack breakfast served on Saturday mornings. But don't quote me on that (call ahead).

The Narnia Trail (Bush Bay Hiking Trail) - (Easy) Here's one that's a little over an hour from the resort, past St. Ignace, that is well worth the drive. An ideal family hike that is an easy 2 mile trail (4 miles round-trip) dubbed by locals as "The Narnia Trail" because of its idyllic scenes of moss-covered rocks, unique boulders, views along Lake Huron, and small abandoned cabins lived in by early settlers in the area. Even a small lamp post in the middle of trail (about 1 mile in).

Two Hearted River Trail (Easy-Moderate)

A spectacular 2.3 mile in-and-out hike along one of Michigan's most iconic rivers. This river is the namesake of Bell's popular Two Hearted Ale. It's also the inspiration behind one of Earnest Heminway's early short stories, Big Two Hearted River, which he visited with friends in 1919 after returning home from war. It boasts of views not only of the river but also of Lake Superior.

You'll start at the Mouth of the Two Hearted River Campground (where there's also a suspension bridge to cross the river to a beautiful sandy beach on Lake Superior).

Au Sable Light Station Hike (Easy)

Only about a 3 mile walk on the North Country Trail, but this one packs a punch, taking you past old shipwreck remnants along the shore of Lake Superior to end at the historic Au Sable Light Station.

It begins at the Hurricane River Campground (there's two there - an upper and a lower. The trail starts at the Lower Campgrounds) and goes along the North Country Trail heading east straight to the Light Station. If you'd like to read more about this place, the National Parks Service has an informational PDF here.

Laughing Whitefish Falls & The Subway (Easy - Moderate)

This is one that doesn't always make the cut of "most popular" but many Michiganders would consider this to be one of the most spectacular falls in the UP. The falls cascade over an impressive gorge surrounded creating the illusion of "bridal veil" look. The falls can be reached by a moderate (.5 mile) hike from the parking area at Laughing Whitefish State Park.

If you are willing to explore further on, there's a cave that the locals call "The Subway" as it looks a bit like half of a subway tunnel. You'll also see another small waterfall there as well.

This Hiawatha Hiking Co. has provided a guide with directions and a map for those who want to check this one out.

Jasper Knob - Ishpeming (Easy)

Ok, this is an interesting one if you're a rock person. Known as "the world's largest gemstone" this is a bald top open area made entirely of Jasper and Hematite.

The only caveat here is that this area is technically not a public park, but it's privately owned by an Iron company, though they allow people on the site. 

Nearby is "Da Yoopers Tourist Trap" -- arguably one of the best gift shops and rock shops in the check it out (it's on the map linked here).

Eben Ice Caves (Winter Hike - Moderate)

For those staying in winter, this is a must-do hike to see the Ice Caves. It's a 2.2 mile hike (in the snow most of the time!). It can be slippery, so you may want proper shoes (ice cleats/crampons preferred if you plan to really get close to the frozen waterfalls) and hiking poles as well. This hike can be crowded on weekends.

It's about 1 hr 15 min from Trails End and starts at guessed it...Eben Ice Caves Trailhead, on Frey Road.

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