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Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is famous for its Lake Superior shoreline.

And, it’s possible to see grand views of that Lake Superior shoreline by hiking in Pictured Rocks!

 

Best hikes in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore: North Country Trail in Michigan. Best Lake Superior hiking trails. best upper peninsula hiking trails. up michigan travel blog

Best hikes in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore: North Country Trail in Michigan. Best Lake Superior hiking trails. best upper peninsula hiking trails. up michigan travel blog

Best hikes in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore: North Country Trail in Michigan. Best Lake Superior hiking trails. best upper peninsula hiking trails. up michigan travel blog

Best hikes in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore: North Country Trail in Michigan. Best Lake Superior hiking trails. best upper peninsula hiking trails. up michigan travel blog

Best hikes in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore: North Country Trail in Michigan. Best Lake Superior hiking trails. best upper peninsula hiking trails. up michigan travel blog

Best hikes in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore: North Country Trail in Michigan. Best Lake Superior hiking trails. best upper peninsula hiking trails. up michigan travel blog

Best hikes in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore: North Country Trail in Michigan. Best Lake Superior hiking trails. best upper peninsula hiking trails. up michigan travel blog

Best hikes in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore: North Country Trail in Michigan. Best Lake Superior hiking trails. best upper peninsula hiking trails. up michigan travel blog

Best hikes in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore: North Country Trail in Michigan. Best Lake Superior hiking trails. best upper peninsula hiking trails. up michigan travel blog

Best day hikes in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore: North Country Trail in Michigan. Best Lake Superior hiking trails. best upper peninsula hiking trails. up michigan travel blog

 

 

The North Country Trail in Michigan’s Pictured Rocks

The North Country Trail is a hiking trail (backpacking trail) that goes for 4,700 miles from the midwest to the east coast.

And yes, this North Country Trail also goes through Michigan, and it also goes right through Pictured Rocks!

 

 

In Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, the North Country Trail runs for a large part almost directly along Lake Superior, and this makes for grand lake views as you are hiking!

In total, you can hike around 40 miles of the North Country Trail in Pictured Rocks.

 

Pictured Rocks hiking map: north country trail in michigan along lake superior. upper peninsula michigan travel blog
Explore the map.

 

You can make it an overnight hiking trip, multi-day hiking trip, or “just” a day hike along the North Country Trail! No matter which you choose, there are epic views to be seen while hiking along one of America’s national lakeshores!

 

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Best day hikes in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore: North Country Trail in michigan. lake superior hiking trails in michigan. hiking pictured rocks. upper peninsula. up michigan travel blog

Best day hikes in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore: North Country Trail in Michigan. Best Lake Superior hiking trails. best upper peninsula hiking trails. up michigan travel blog

 

The list below of best hikes in Pictured Rocks will focus on day hikes of varying distances. Many of these hikes include hiking along the North Country Trail.

 

 

Hiking the Pictured Rocks cliffs can be dangerous!

In short… stay away from the edge!

The Pictured Rocks shoreline continues to change today because of water levels, crashing waves, and erosion.

In recent years, there have been sightings of large chunks of rocks falling into the lake. (For example, news story and video.)

The Pictured Rocks cliffs most recently crumbled into Lake Superior in June 2021. This is said to have happened to the cliffs between Miners Beach and Mosquito Beach: VIDEO. This is another example of how unstable the edges of the cliffs can be… so don’t get too close to the edge when you are hiking!

 

 

You can also see evidence of eroding cliffs and dunes in places as you are hiking along the Lake Superior coastline in Pictured Rocks.

Read more about the Pictured Rocks geology (pdf) from the State of Michigan.

 

More below for where to go hiking in Pictured Rocks for the best VIEWS along Lake Superior in Michigan!

 

 

 

 

 

And now…

Best hikes in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

Hiking distances approximate!

 

1. Hike the Chapel Loop Trail to see the Pictured Rocks cliffs

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  • Chapel Mosquito trailhead to Chapel Rock to Chapel Beach: 7 miles round trip
  • Hike the Chapel Mosquito Loop Trail: 10 miles round trip

 

If you are looking for a solid day hike and you are only going to do just ONE hike in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, then the Chapel Loop Trail is THE hike you must do in Pictured Rocks!

This is THE hike to do to see the Pictured Rocks cliffs by foot!

This is also called the Chapel Mosquito Loop Trail since you’ll be hiking as a loop through the Chapel area and Mosquito area of Pictured Rocks.

Basically you’ll be hiking from the Chapel Mosquito trailhead to Chapel Beach to Mosquito Beach and then back to the trailhead.

Consider the Chapel Loop Trail to be a loaded hike with tons of views! You’ll see waterfalls, a rock with a tree growing on it, small waterfalls flowing into Lake Superior, and then lots of Lake Superior views along with the famous Pictured Rocks cliffs!

 

 

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👆 Hike to Chapel Falls

 

Pictured Rocks hiking to chapel rock. chapel loop trail. Lake Superior michigan hiking trails, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. upper peninsula michigan travel blog

Pictured Rocks hiking to chapel rock. chapel loop trail. Lake Superior michigan hiking trails, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. upper peninsula michigan travel blog
👆 Hike to Chapel Rock

 

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👆 Hike to Chapel Beach

 

Pictured Rocks hiking to grand portal point. chapel loop trail. Lake Superior michigan hiking trails, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. upper peninsula michigan travel blog

Pictured Rocks hiking to grand portal point. chapel loop trail. Lake Superior michigan hiking trails, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. upper peninsula michigan travel blog
👆 Hike to Grand Portal Point

 

Pictured Rocks hiking to mosquito beach. chapel loop trail. Lake Superior michigan hiking trails, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. upper peninsula michigan travel blog
👆 Hike to Mosquito Beach

 

The full Chapel Mosquito Loop Trail is around 10 miles long round trip. You can also shorten it up a bit by “only” going to one of the other scenic landmarks along the way.

 

MAP

Pictured Rocks hiking map: chapel loop trail, north country trail in michigan along lake superior. upper peninsula michigan travel blog
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See more for planning your Pictured Rocks hiking trip: Getting to Chapel Mosquito trailhead parking lot

 

 

2. Hike from Log Slide Dunes along North Country Trail

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  • Log Slide Dunes to Au Sable Point Lighthouse: 4.5 miles round trip

 

The Log Slide overlook is where you must go if you want to see grand views of the Grand Sable Dunes!

 

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It’s a 5-10 minute walk from the parking lot to get to the Log Slide overlook.

From the overlook, you can hike further along the North Country Trail for a hike with views of Lake Superior! You can also opt to hike to the Pictured Rocks lighthouse.

 

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Hiking from the Log Slide overlook, you can make the Au Sable Point Lighthouse your destination.

 

MAP

Pictured Rocks hiking map: au sable lighthouse hiking trail, north country trail in michigan along lake superior. hiking from log slide dunes. upper peninsula michigan travel blog
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See more about hiking in Pictured Rocks: Hiking near Log Slide sand dunes

 

 

3. Hike from Miners Castle Point to Miners Beach to Elliott Falls

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  • Miners Castle to Miners Beach: 3.5 miles round trip
  • West end of Miners Beach to Elliott Falls: 1.5 miles round trip

 

The Miners Castle Overlook is where to go if you want a quick visit to see some unique Pictured Rocks rock formations.

From the overlook, you can hike further to Miners Beach. (It is also possible to drive directly to Miners Beach.)

Once at Miners Beach, you’ll arrive at the west end of the beach, and you can hike along the beach to the east end get to Elliott Falls, which are some small waterfalls that flow into Lake Superior.

 

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Instead of walking directly on the beach, you can also hike along the North Country Trail that runs on top of a small bluff parallel to the beach and comes with views of Lake Superior.

 

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MAP

Pictured Rocks hiking map: miners castle hiking trail to miners beach, lake superior. upper peninsula michigan travel blog
Explore the map.

 

See more about planning your Pictured Rocks hiking trip:

 

 

4. Hike to Au Sable Point Lighthouse to Log Slide dunes

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  • Hurricane River to Au Sable Point Lighthouse: 3 miles round trip
  • Hurricane River to Au Sable Point Lighthouse to Log Slide Dunes: 7.5 miles round trip

 

The Au Sable Point Lighthouse is THE lighthouse in Pictured Rocks.

The only way to get to the Au Sable Point Lighthouse is to hike to it.

The main Au Sable Lighthouse Trail starts from Hurricane River.

 

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You’ll look for the trailhead at Hurricane River, and then you will be hiking on the North Country Trail to get to the lighthouse.

You’ll be close to the Lake Superior shoreline and you’ll see signs for “shipwreck” as you’re hiking along. (Although I am not quite sure if these are visible from shore, or if they are only visible from underwater – snorkeling and scuba diving is a thing in Pictured Rocks!)

Once you reach the lighthouse, you can then head back the same way you came, or you can continue onwards on the North Country Trail for more great views. You’ll get more Lake Superior views, and it will also take you to the Log Slide overlook. Then, you can head back the way you came. (You can also hike this in the opposite direction, starting from the Log Slide overlook and make your way to the Au Sable Lighthouse and then further to Hurricane River.)

 

MAP

Pictured Rocks hiking map: au sable lighthouse hiking trail, north country trail in michigan along lake superior. hiking from hurricane river campground. upper peninsula michigan travel blog
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See more about planning your Pictured Rocks hiking trip:

 

 

5. Hike to Sable Falls and Sable Beach

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  • Sable Falls trailhead to Sable Beach: 1 mile round trip

 

The Sable Falls Trail will first take you to a couple of overlooks where you can see Sable Falls, one of the many Pictured Rocks waterfalls.

Then you can continue hiking and this will take you to the Lake Superior shoreline and Sable Beach, one of the many Lake Superior beaches along the Pictured Rocks shoreline.

Sable Beach is where you can find a ton of really colorful Lake Superior rocks in Pictured Rocks. (You might find some in less abundance around the Hurricane River beach too.)

Only look and don’t take, though! As a national lakeshore park, the natural resources that are a part of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore are protected by the National Park Service.

Also nearby the Sable Falls Trail is the Grand Sable Dunes loop trail which is about a half mile trail where you can see sand dunes.

 

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You’ll see signs for the Grand Sable Dunes loop trail when you’re hiking the Sable Falls Trail.

 

MAP

Pictured Rocks hiking map: sable falls hiking trail. upper peninsula michigan travel blog
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See more about hiking in Pictured Rocks:

 

 

6. Hike to Big Star Cove

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Pictured Rocks hiking to coves: North Country Trail to Big Star Cove. Lake Superior michigan hiking trails, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. upper peninsula michigan travel blog

  • Little Beaver Lake campground to Big Star Cove: 3.5 miles round trip
  • Little Beaver Lake campground to Spray Falls overlook: 8 miles round trip

 

The only way to get to the Big Star Cove is to hike to it. You can access it from the Little Beaver campground, the smallest and quietest of the drive-in Pictured Rocks campgrounds. There’s a small parking area near the trailhead if you’re not camping here.

You’ll first hike to the Lake Superior shoreline (where you’ll find a sandy beach), and this is about 1.5 miles away. Then you’ll continue hiking to the left as you’re facing the lake, which is now the North Country Trail, and you’ll come across Big Star Cove shortly after that. This is a spot in Pictured Rocks where you can basically see the impact of the crumbling cliffs.

If you want to make it a longer hike, you can continue to hike further along the shoreline.

If you do keep going, you can hike to the spot where you can you see Spray Falls from a distance. This would be around an 8 mile round trip hike. You can also hike to Spray Falls from the other side, which would go past Chapel Beach. That would be around 10 miles round trip.

 

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Out of all the hikes on this list, hiking to the Pictured Rocks coves is the most likely to have the least amount of people.

 

MAP

Pictured Rocks hiking map: big star cove hiking trail, north country trail in michigan along lake superior. hiking from little beaver lake campground. upper peninsula michigan travel blog
Explore the map.

 

See more about planning your Pictured Rocks hiking trip: Things to do near Little Beaver Lake campground

 

 

And finally…

What to pack for hiking in Pictured Rocks

Most importantly, be sure to bring WATER and SNACKS when you go hiking in Pictured Rocks! It can also be a good idea to have a gallon jug of water or 2 in your car so you can always have easy access to re-fill your water bottles!

If you’re looking for new shoes, then hiking sandals or trail running shoes can be perfect for hiking in Pictured Rocks in the summer!

 

And that’s a bit about hiking in Pictured Rocks!

 

There are more short hikes to do in Pictured Rocks too: Waterfall hikes in Pictured Rocks

Plus see the big list of things to do in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore!

 

See more about hiking in Michigan:

 

More about planning your road trip to Pictured Rocks and beyond:

 

HAPPY HIKING IN PICTURED ROCKS!

 

Best day hikes in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore: North Country Trail in Michigan. Best Lake Superior hiking trails. best upper peninsula hiking trails. up michigan travel blog

 

 

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Things to pack for your Michigan vacation!

The ultimate beach towel for travel?!
Turkish towels are considered to be more lightweight than your average beach towel while still being absorbent. Be sure to check out turkish towels like these!
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Instead of using plastic silverware, try out bamboo silverware like this set!
The cheapo way to waterproof your phone
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Packing cubes can make it so you're spending less time on your vacation looking for things! They are basically a form of drawers in your suitcase. Take a look at these packing cubes.