9 of the Best Places to Go Hiking in Northern Michigan

The northern region of the Wolverine State is home to a bounty of natural wonders. You’ll find a network of sand dunes, lush woods, and miles of beaches. One of our favorite way to explore these incredible wonders is hiking in Northern Michigan. We included a list of the best places to hike in the area so you and your family can experience an incredible vacation.

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The Top Places to Go Hiking in Northern Michigan

Dunes Trail – Glen Arbor 

If you want to explore Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, the Dunes Trail is a must-hike. This trail is a 3.5-mile round trip that gives you fantastic views of Lake Michigan and the surrounding dunes. The terrain is steep in some areas, so only hiking a small portion of the trail may be the best bet for those not wanting a strenuous trek.

Northern Loop – North Manitou Island

You’ll need to take a ferry to North Manitou Island to hike the Northern Loop. This Northern Michigan hiking trail provides stunning views of Lake Michigan. You can also experience fantastic stargazing at night.

Alligator Hill Trail – Empire

The Alligator Hill Trail is another route through Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. This Northern Michigan hiking trail takes you through nine miles of hilly terrain in between Lake Michigan and Glen Lake, where forests, old charcoal kilns, and a sawmill provide interesting structures to explore.

Old Indian Trail – Honor

Located on the southernmost point of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Old Indian Trail is an incredible spot to watch a sunset. This halfway point of this loop trail overlooks Lake Michigan, so bring your camera if you want to take advantage of a great photo opportunity. 

North County Trailhead – Wawatam Township

The North County Trailhead is the starting point for thousands of miles of trails across Michigan and several other states. This area has some great hiking and is also close to the Headlands International Dark Sky Park, Colonial Michilimackinac, and the Mackinac Bridge. 

North Point Nature Preserve – Charlevoix

The North Point Nature Preserve offers less strenuous hiking opportunities near the water. It’s a great park for a casual afternoon stroll after touring the iconic Mushroom Houses in town.

Petoskey State Park – Petoskey

Petoskey State Park has two trails that run through a nature preserve and sand dunes. You can experience some breathtaking views along the beach.

Houdek Dunes Natural Area – Leland

Houdek Dunes Natural Area is another piece of the dunes system in the Wolverine State. The difficulty level of the trails ranges from easy to challenging. These Northern Michigan hiking trails include sandy stretches, stairs, and boardwalks.

Arcadia Dunes – Arcadia

The trails in Arcadia Dunes offer some of the best views along Northern Michigan’s coastline. There are several trailheads that are great for a family day hike.

Plan Your Michigan Escapewine tasting

Book one of our Freshwater Vacation Rentals properties for the ultimate Michigan vacation. We have an extensive collection of rentals in Northern Michigan, and across the state, so you can choose what kind of experience you want. Check out our Explore Northern Michigan page for a look at more great adventures you can take in the Wolverine State.

Book your property and start planning your getaway today! We look forward to welcoming you to the Freshwater family.