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Two half-day hikes to enjoy in the Porcupine Mountains
There are lots of great trails in the Porcupine Mountains and Ontonagon County in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, ranging from short out-and-back routes to see hidden waterfalls to longer, more challenging hikes that take hikers throughout the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park.
If you’re looking to get out for a morning or afternoon of adventure, here are two fun hikes to try.
Hike #1: Summit Peak
Distance: 8 miles
Time: Approx. 4 hours
This 8-mile hike will take you into the heart of the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park and give you a great vantage point of the region’s beautiful scenery at the park’s highest point.
- Park at the Summit Peak Tower Trailhead (from the park’s Visitor Center, head south on Headquarters Road, turn west on South Boundary Road and follow for 11 miles to Summit Peak Tower Trailhead)
- From the trailhead, hike a half-mile to Summit Peak and enjoy the views from the highest point in the state park
- Hike 3 miles northwest on the South Lake Mirror Trail, which passes the western shore of scenic Mirror Lake
- Head southwest along the Little Carp River Trail—one of the most scenic trails in the state park—for about 1.5 miles to the Beaver Creek Trail
- Follow the Beaver Creek Trail for about a mile to the Summit Peak Scenic Area
- Continue east on the Summit Peak Side Trail until you reach the South Mirror Lake Trail again
- Follow the South Mirror Lake Trail back to the parking lot
Hike #2: Presque Isle River waterfalls
Distance: 3.3 miles
Time: Approx. 1.5 hours
There are many wonderful waterfalls to be found in the Porcupine Mountains and Ontonagon County, but one of the most iconic sets of cascades can be found along the Presque Isle River as it flows into Lake Superior on the park’s far west side. This hike will take you past three iconic falls—Nawadaha, Manido, and Manabezho.
- Park at the Presque Isle River parking lot at the end of South Boundary Road on the park’s west side (you can also take County Highway 519 to Presque Isle Road)
- Start at the day-use picnic area near the parking lot and head south along the East River Trail (1.2 miles) to find viewing platforms for Manabezho and Manido Falls
- Nawadaha Falls can be found a quarter-mile further south, with a viewing area located near the Ranger Station
- Follow the trail farther south and you’ll reach South Boundary Road
- Head west to find the trailhead for the Presque Isle River Waterfalls Loop and the start of the West River Trail (1.1 miles)
- Take the West River Trail north past the falls and toward Lake Superior
- Please note that wading or swimming is not permitted in the Presque Isle River, and hikers are urged to exercise caution when exploring the area (children should not hike these trails without adult supervision)
Learn more about hiking options in the Porcupine Mountains and Ontonagon County here.
Note: Please travel safely and responsibly when you are visiting the Porcupine Mountains and Ontonagon County. Some businesses and facilities may have modified hours or procedures; please contact them directly for information. See Michigan’s latest coronavirus orders here.
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