Awesome Butterfly Kit
Michigan Hiking Trail Finder
This site is designed to provide quick, organized access to informative Michigan hiking websites. Private hiking enthusiasts like you have created excellent web pages on Michigan hiking trails -- then posted those pages on free web servers -- only to be ignored by search engines. The purpose of this site is to provide a way to find these personal hiking pages, and make your research easier.
- General Page Hiking Northeast Michigan introductory article by Mike Modrzynski Alpena News Features Writer. Includes the High Country Pathway, Norway Ridge Pathway, Highbanks Trail, others.
- General Page Well done site site by "Greg C" has nice photos, key hiking areas including Isle Royale, Porcupine Mountains, Pictured Rocks, etc. Clickable map includes a few key areas in Wisconsin as well.
- General -- Northeast Lower Peninsula Michigan's "Sunrise Side" is blessed with unique hiking trails, remote areas of Lake Huron, and scenery every naturalist dreams about. Includes some well-written trail introductions.
- General -- National Forest Trails Site is a bit cryptic; click on alphabetized menu for trail names. Provides basic info and nice downloadable trail maps in .pdf format. Site by Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Update Now it's redirecting. It's a government website. Click at your own peril.
- General -- Southeast Michigan Site based largely on a book, Hiking Southeastern Michigan, by Robert Golda. Site has a lot of good information -- but it also has a lot of "flash" and other bells and whistles. Probably kind of clunky if you have a dial-up, and I didn't find a non-flash version, so proceed accordingly. Nice stuff otherwise.
- General -- Fortune Bay Expeditionary Team every time I hear the national news I threaten to move to the upper peninsula and open my own militia camp. This group, Fortune Bay Expeditionary Team, looks a lot more appealling. It's a Michigan-based outdoorsy, go-get-em bunch that organizes treks and whatnot. Membership is free and participation is open to all, but the average slackpacker may need to shed a few pounds prior to embarking on one of their junkets. Poke around; you'll also like this site for the general outdoorsman info on stoves, knot terminology, etc.
- General -- Upper Peninsula Site by Brian Retzler with detailed descriptions of hiking trips to Isle Royale NP, Pictured Rocks NLS, and others. Good descriptive journals, excellent photos. On this link, click on "backpacking" on left menu.
- General -- Upper Peninsula UPTrails.org site has nice clickable county-by-county map of the U.P. which then drills down into individual trail listings, descriptions, and maps. Well done site by Michael Rock; site is part of The Hannahville Indian Reservation Learn and Serve program. Nice folks, check it out.
- Grayling Area Grayling MI is surrounded by trails designed for hiking, cross-country skiing and horseback riding. Many of these trails may be used for bicycling. General information page with information and directions to various trails; many of these are multi-use but there are a few hiker-only trails listed.
- Hiawatha National Forest Laundry list of trails, with some details. This site is helpful for basic trail information & specs. We tip our caps to the USFS when they occasionally get it right.
- Holland area Outdoor Discovery Center of Wildlife Unlimited, a 120 acre nature preserve with 4.5 miles of hiking trails, free and open to the public 365 days a year during daylight hours.
Office Hours are Monday-Friday 8a.m. to 5p.m.
- Huron-Manistee National Forest Although 330 miles of trails are available for hiking in the Huron-Manistee National Forests, this USFS page has almost no information about any of it. BUT you need to be aware of the parking permit requirement, which means that certain US Forest Service trailheads require a special parking permit. This permit is valid at some parking lots, but not others, which is to say, not the one you presently want to park in.
- Iron County Area Listing of a few trails with descriptions, from the Iron County Chamber of Commerce. Not bad for a chamber site.
- Isle Royale National Park Photos and introduction. From Dave's Hiking Page.
- Isle Royale National Park Good personal website. Intro page with trails, excellent photos, maps, links.
- Isle Royale National Park From a comprehensive "unofficial" website about the park...more of a "what to expect" and "how to prepare" website -- no trail descriptions specifically, just a nice intro to the IRNP hiking experience.
- Isle Royale National Park Well done site with journal, photos, camping suggestions, hiking info, maps...on the "wanderlust" website by "Chelsea & Andy." This link is repeated below, under Porkies.
- Mason County This site is based around a clickable map of Mason County that takes you to comprehensive trail descriptions. In a couple of cases, it will take longer to read all the jam packed information on the webpage than it will to hike the trail! We're kidding, of course. This is a very well done and thorough site by Joan H. Young. Buttersville Park Beach loop, Nordhouse Dunes, Ludington State Park, Lake Michigan Recreation Area, Suttonsville Landing, Scottville Riverside Park...virtually anything and everything hikable in Mason County Michigan. Also allows you to post reports, which is kind of neat. If you're near Mason County, you'll want to use this site.
- McCormick Tract Wilderness 16,850 acre wilderness (about 27 square miles) of forested land and small scattered lakes. The area also contains the 3675 acre McCormick Research Natural Area designated in 1971, and the Yellow Dog National Wild and Scenic River. The major attractions of the McCormick Wilderness are the waterfalls on the Yellow Dog River, the undisturbed large, aging mixture of northern hardwood trees, and the rugged, isolated, unspoiled character of the area. Great website, quite thorough.
- North Country Trail Grand Traverse Hiking Club, Michigan chapter of the NCTA.
- North Manitou Island at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. From Dave's Hiking Page.
- Ottawa National Forest weak.
- Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore NPS site. Use the menus, zero in on "Day Hikes." Excellent but brief descriptions of dozens of different trails.
- Picture Rocks National Lakeshore A hiker's photo page on a personal website.
- Porcupine Mountains The Porcupine Mountains offer 90 miles of trails, located in the western UP of Michigan on the southern shore of Lake Superior. Excellent personal site with photos, introductions, maps, links.
- Porcupine Mountains official site by Michigan Dept of Natural Resources. Not as good hiking-wise as the personal site immediately above, but not bad and (if you're patient) you can eventually click on enough links to uncover whatever information you might need.
- Porcupine Mountains Personal website with journal, photos, camping suggestions, hiking info, maps...on the "wanderlust" site by "Chelsea & Andy." This link is repeated from Isle Royale, above.
- Scottville Riverside Park -- Bottomland Trail this is on the Mason County site (see above) by Joan H. Young. Comprehensive map and description, trail reports, more. Well done.
- Seney National Wildlife Refuge NWR page by the Feds. I like hiking in wildlife refuges, except I always seem to get my feet wet. So bring old sneakers, and a camera.
- Sylvania Tract Wilderness Area located in the Ottawa National Forest in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. 25 miles of trails; canoeing is the main attraction. This site provides an overview of the area and some nice photos.
- Trap Hills this is a .pdf file of three key one mile hikes in the Trap Hills, located on the U.P. near the Porkies. Hikes include Lookout Mountain, Hack Site, and Norwich Bluff. The three hikes are fully detailed, with directions, descriptions, etc. They're a "freebie" from author Eric Hansen, noted author of Hiking Michigan's Upper Peninsula, which is really the book you ought to arm yourself with if you're headed that way. I spent a week in 2004 on the U.P., did a lot of hiking around the Pictured Rocks NL. It was great, don't get me wrong, but I didn't realize just how many great sights I passed by until I got my hands on Eric's book.
The Biggest Strike in Klondike History
From sleeping bears to porcupines -- that is, sand dunes to mountains -- Michigan probably has the greatest variety of hiking opportunities among "landlocked" states. While most point to the upper peninsula for the wilderness opportunities, I'm equally fascinated by the subtle geological oddities resulting from the "basin" formation of the lower peninsula.
Either way, there is a volume that can provide a lot of helpful field information for the slacker. The first, emphasizing the upper peninsula, is
Hiking Michigan, from America's Best Day Hiking Series by Roger E. Storm and Susan M. Wedzel. The second, exclusively lower peninsula, is from the ubiquitous "50 Hikes" Series,
50 Hikes in Michigan: The Best Walks, Hikes, and Backpacks in the Lower Peninsula by Jim Dufresne. Like most of the 50 Hikes series, the publishers didn't settle; Dufresne is widely regarded as the "go-to" guy for lower peninsula hiking and backpacking. If you use either of these links, which go to Amazon and will enable you to save a few bucks, you might also look for Dufresne's Backcountry Guide to the Porcupines.
And if you knew that the Klondike thing is taken from Saginaw, Michigan by the great Lefty Frizzell, give yourself 4 slackpacker trivia points.
-- Rick Bolger
Please click here for the Slackpacker web site
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PS: Tired of meaningless, sound-alike "power ballads" you hear so much of today? There was a time when balladeers created music that allowed your imagination to run wild. Some songs caused you to experience things you might never have the opportunity to do; some songs enabled you to revisit past experiences you might never have the courage to do. While it's easy to point to Guthrie or Dylan, Gordon Lightfoot is probably the most underrated balladeer of the 20th Century. It was prior to my 2004 visit to Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore on the Upper Peninsula that I dug out "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald," as we were planning a stop at the Whitefish Bay Shipwreck Memorial. Hearing it again for the first time in perhaps two decades, I was amazed at the vivid storytelling . Digging a little further into the catalog revealed hit after hit, each a top song with lyrical intelligence and soaring melodies, the likes of which you just don't hear today. When I was a kid I took these songs for granted, and never really understood them: "Carefree Highway" (Carefree Highway, let me slip away, slip away on you...) and "If You Could Read My Mind" (If you could read my mind love, what a tale my thoughts would tell...) and "Sundown," and one of the most beautiful songs ever written: "Rainy Day People." The music is so timeless, it's hard to believe these songs are 30 years old. All of the good ones are in Gordon Lightfoot's Complete Greatest Hits. If you click on the link (to Amazon) you can listen to samples of a few of the selections. But note that the album is chronological, so the samples you can click on and listen to tend to be older, less familiar. Don't play this music at a dinner party; your guests will become introspective and conversation will wind down. It's for a quiet evening by the fire, or a long drive that needs to pass more quickly. And if you hum a few bars on a tedious hiking trail, you'll wonder where the time went.