What to expect

Michigan has 1433 trails including medium and easy trails. The trail with the highest elevation climb is the Cherry Island Loop and the one with the least climb is the Mount Arvon Summit Trail. The longest trail is North Country Trail - Ohio at 1690 km. To complete this hike you should budget at least 86 days. For a shorter adventure, you can try the Big Spring Walk a t 245 m. This could be done in as little as 1 days. Trails with the best offering of hostels include East Lake Trails - C D Loop, Cliff Base Trail, VASA Single Track - Blue and Orange Loop, Noquemanon Trail, and Oak Ridge Loop Trail.

Guide to hiking in Michigan

Be prepared for hiking in Michigan with the HiiKER app

FAQs about hiking in Michigan

What is the climate like for hiking in Michigan?

Michigan offers four distinct seasons for hikers. Summers (June-August) are warm but can be humid, which makes hiking along the lakeshore trails quite pleasant. However, winters (December-February) can be frigid with heavy snow, making trails suitable for snowshoeing or cross-country skiing.
The spring (March-May) and fall (September-November) seasons offer milder temperatures and less humidity, perfect for hiking. Spring brings blooming wildflowers, while fall treats hikers to vibrant autumn foliage.
In summary, spring and fall are the best times for hiking in Michigan, with comfortable temperatures and stunning natural beauty. It's wise to check the local weather and trail conditions beforehand, for instance on the Michigan Department of Natural Resources website (https://www.michigan.gov/dnr/).


Do I need a permit to hike in Michigan?

Generally, hiking in Michigan doesn't require permits, but some state parks and recreational areas might require an entry fee or pass. For specific information about permits, contact the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (https://www.michigan.gov/dnr/), which oversees most public lands in the state.


Is wild camping allowed in Michigan?

Wild camping in Michigan is permitted in most national forests and some state forests, but regulations apply. Campers should respect Leave No Trace principles and consult the U.S. Forest Service (https://www.fs.usda.gov/activity/hmnf/recreation/camping-cabins/?recid=18536&actid=34) and Michigan Department of Natural Resources (https://www.michigan.gov/dnr/) for specific rules.


Are there mountain rescue services in Michigan?

In case of an emergency while hiking in Michigan, dial 911. Search and rescue operations are typically handled by county sheriff's departments in collaboration with local agencies. The Michigan Search and Rescue (https://www.musartf.org/) is a useful resource for additional safety information and guidelines.


Are there dangerous plants in Michigan?

Michigan's diverse flora includes hardwoods, conifers, and blooming wildflowers. Particularly in spring, hikers can enjoy trilliums, violets, and lady's slippers. Michigan Flora Online (http://michiganflora.net/) provides detailed information about the state's plant life. Remember to respect all plant life and adhere to Leave No Trace principles.


What wildlife should I be aware of when hiking in Michigan?

Michigan's fauna includes deer, squirrels, foxes, and occasionally black bears. Beware of ticks and mosquitoes, especially in warmer months. Carry insect repellent and check for ticks after hikes. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (https://www.michigan.gov/dnr/) provides more detailed information on local wildlife.