Backpackers on the Minong Ridge Trail at Isle Royale National Park. // Photograph courtesy of Jim West / Alamy Stock Photo
I like to hike. Apparently, so do a lot of other people. In the past two years, we have discovered that a walk in the woods is the best path to safety and solace during this pandemic we’re in.
Despite being closed for two months in 2020, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore still set an attendance record for the year with more than 1,718,000 visitors. Last year, the park broke that record again when 1,723,000 people showed up.
“People are taking advantage of trails during the pandemic to get out of the house and enjoy nature,” says Kerry Kelly of Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes, whose volunteers serve as trail ambassadors. “I think the more people experience trails, the more they will build that into their lifestyle, and trail use will continue to be high.”
But where to go if you need to get out?
You have quite a choice. Michigan is home to more than 13,000 miles of state-designated trails, including 4,020 miles of footpaths. More mileage lies in our three national forests, five national parks, and countless county parks and nature preserves.
Here are my choices for the top trails in Michigan, no matter what kind of footpath you’re looking for. You might say I’ve been down that trail.
Take a walk on top of a sand dune in Silver Lake State Park in Mears, near Ludington. // Photograph courtesy of Marek Kasula / Alamy Stock Photo
Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, Ontonagon and Gogebic counties, Upper Peninsula