Hi there!

 

If you are looking for the best hikes in the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, the Escarpment Trail is one of the best!

 

Escarpment Trail - Best hikes in Porcupine Mountains, Porkies, Upper Peninsula. UP Michigan travel blog

 

It can start from the popular Lake of the Clouds overlook

 

Escarpment Trail from Lake of the Clouds overlook - Best hikes in Porcupine Mountains, Upper Peninsula. UP Michigan travel blog

 

And then you can continue hiking to see different viewpoints of the Lake of the Clouds along the way!

 

Escarpment Trail to see Lake of the Clouds - Best hikes in Porcupine Mountains, Upper Peninsula. UP Michigan travel blog

Escarpment Trail to see Lake of the Clouds - Best hikes in Porcupine Mountains, Upper Peninsula. UP Michigan travel blog

Escarpment Trail to see Lake of the Clouds - Best hikes in Porcupine Mountains, Upper Peninsula. UP Michigan travel blog

Escarpment Trail to see Lake of the Clouds - Best hikes in Porcupine Mountains, Upper Peninsula. UP Michigan travel blog

Escarpment Trail to see Lake of the Clouds - Best hikes in Porcupine Mountains, Upper Peninsula. UP Michigan travel blog

Escarpment Trail to see Lake of the Clouds - Best hikes in Porcupine Mountains, Upper Peninsula. UP Michigan travel blog

Escarpment Trail to see Lake of the Clouds - Best hikes in Porcupine Mountains, Upper Peninsula. UP Michigan travel blog

Escarpment Trail to see Lake of the Clouds - Best hikes in Porcupine Mountains, Upper Peninsula. UP Michigan travel blog

Escarpment Trail to see Lake of the Clouds - Best hikes in Porcupine Mountains, Upper Peninsula. UP Michigan travel blog

 

 

This is an out-and-back trail, so you’ll return to where you started from. A little more on your options for starting the trail in a bit.

One way is around 4 miles, so this makes it around an 8 mile round trip hike. (Add on a little more distance for wandering around at the Lake of the Clouds overlook.)

 

 

Backcountry camping

Escarpment Trail, backcountry camping, backpacking the porcupine mountains, porkies. UP Michigan travel blog

 

If you’re interested in backpacking the Porcupine Mountains, you can find a backcountry campsite along the Escarpment Trail.

 

Escarpment Trail, backcountry camping, backpacking the porcupine mountains, porkies. UP Michigan travel blog

Escarpment Trail, backcountry camping, backpacking the porcupine mountains, porkies. UP Michigan travel blog

 

 

Starting the Escarpment Trail

This is an out-and-back trail, and you can start it from either end of the trail.

So you would either hike the Escarpment Trail:

  • From the Lake of the Clouds overlook and back
  • From the Government Peak trailhead and back

You’ll take the same road to get to both of them.

 

As you’re driving to get to the start of the trailhead, no matter which spot you start at, first you’ll first pass by Lake Superior’s Union Bay! (There is the Union Bay campground on this side of the state park.)

 

Getting to the Escarpment Trail - driving in the Porcupine Mountains. UP Michigan travel blog

 

Then you’ll pass the Government Peak Trailhead where you’ll find a parking area and right nearby is the trailhead that will take you to the Escarpment Trail and the Lake of the Clouds overlook.

 

Getting to the Escarpment Trail - starting from government peak trailhead. Porcupine Mountains. UP Michigan travel blog

Getting to the Escarpment Trail - starting from government peak trailhead. Porcupine Mountains. UP Michigan travel blog

Getting to the Escarpment Trail - starting from government peak trailhead. Porcupine Mountains. UP Michigan travel blog

Getting to the Escarpment Trail - starting from government peak trailhead. Porcupine Mountains. UP Michigan travel blog

Getting to the Escarpment Trail - starting from government peak trailhead. Porcupine Mountains. UP Michigan travel blog

Getting to the Escarpment Trail - starting from government peak trailhead. Porcupine Mountains. UP Michigan travel blog

 

Or you can keep driving to the end of the road where you’ll find the Lake of the Clouds parking lot. (Dead end.) Then you will follow the signs to the Lake of the Clouds overlook.

 

Getting to the Escarpment Trail - starting from lake of the clouds trailhead. Porcupine Mountains. UP Michigan travel blog

Getting to the Escarpment Trail - starting from lake of the clouds trailhead. Porcupine Mountains. UP Michigan travel blog

 

 

BUGS (and an alternate way back)

I found the bugs to be REALLY annoying on the Escarpment Trail!

Generally if you read about complaints about bugs on trails in the UP, it’s about biting flies. It’s said that bug spray won’t work on these types of bugs, so I hadn’t really used bug spray.

You may also see recommendations to wear long clothes (pants and/or shirt) on some trails when in the UP. On the Escarpment Trail, I was wearing shorts and my legs were not bothered. The bugs were swarming my neck and face area and I was constantly swatting away at them.

The bugs were enough to make me not want to go back on the same trail! I spent 2 weeks in different parts of the UP, and the Escarpment Trail was the absolute worst I’d experienced the biting flies! (In fact, this was really the ONLY notable terrible biting flies experience I had!)

I started the trail at Lake of the Clouds, and instead of taking the hiking trail back, I reached the main road at the Government Peak trailhead. Basically there’s a short trail at what can be considered the end of the Escarpment Trail on this end.

 

Escarpment Trail - ending at government peak trailhead. Porcupine Mountains. UP Michigan travel blog

 

Then I walked back in the direction of the Lake of the Clouds overlook trail on the main road.

 

Escarpment Trail - Walking the road in the Porcupine Mountains. UP Michigan travel blog

 

There are no shoulders on this road and cars are likely going 50+ mph, so it’s important to be careful when walking on this road.

 

 

🌳

 

 

 

Now…

PHOTOS!

When you’re starting from the Lake of the Clouds overlook, this is what it may look like!

You’ll see a sign at the Lake of the Clouds trailhead that indicates the direction to the Escarpment Trail that is straight.

But to see both of the Lake of the Clouds overlooks (that offer different viewpoints), take the trail to the Lake of the Clouds to the RIGHT. This will allow you to see both of the main overlooks without backtracking. It’s not that much distance between the 2 overlooks, but it will save you a few steps! 

 

Getting to the Escarpment Trail - starting from lake of the clouds trailhead. Porcupine Mountains. UP Michigan travel blog

Getting to the Escarpment Trail - starting from lake of the clouds trailhead. Porcupine Mountains. UP Michigan travel blog

Getting to the Escarpment Trail - starting from lake of the clouds trailhead. Porcupine Mountains. UP Michigan travel blog

Getting to the Escarpment Trail - starting from lake of the clouds trailhead. Porcupine Mountains. UP Michigan travel blog

Getting to the Escarpment Trail - starting from lake of the clouds trailhead. Porcupine Mountains. UP Michigan travel blog

Getting to the Escarpment Trail - starting from lake of the clouds trailhead. Porcupine Mountains. UP Michigan travel blog

 

So once you’ve taken in the view of the Lake of the Clouds from the official overlooks, you can get started on the Escarpment Trail to get different viewpoint of the lake!

The trail alternates between going through a forest and being out in the open on the ridge (escarpment).

 

Getting to the Escarpment Trail - starting from lake of the clouds trailhead. Porcupine Mountains. UP Michigan travel blog

Escarpment Trail, Michigan. Best hike in the porcupine mountains, porkies. UP Michigan travel blog

Escarpment Trail, Michigan. Best hike in the porcupine mountains, porkies. UP Michigan travel blog

Escarpment Trail, Michigan. Best hike in the porcupine mountains, porkies. UP Michigan travel blog

Escarpment Trail, Michigan. Best hike in the porcupine mountains, porkies. UP Michigan travel blog

Escarpment Trail, Michigan. Best hike in the porcupine mountains, porkies. UP Michigan travel blog

Escarpment Trail, Michigan. Best hike in the porcupine mountains, porkies. UP Michigan travel blog

Escarpment Trail, Michigan. Best hike in the porcupine mountains, porkies. UP Michigan travel blog

Escarpment Trail, Michigan. Best hike in the porcupine mountains, porkies. UP Michigan travel blog

Escarpment Trail, Michigan. Best hike in the porcupine mountains, porkies. UP Michigan travel blog

Escarpment Trail, Michigan. Best hike in the porcupine mountains, porkies. UP Michigan travel blog

Escarpment Trail, Michigan. Best hike in the porcupine mountains, porkies. UP Michigan travel blog

Escarpment Trail, Michigan. Best hike in the porcupine mountains, porkies. UP Michigan travel blog

Escarpment Trail, Michigan. Best hike in the porcupine mountains, porkies. UP Michigan travel blog

Escarpment Trail, Michigan. Best hike in the porcupine mountains, porkies. UP Michigan travel blog

Escarpment Trail, Michigan. Best hike in the porcupine mountains, porkies. UP Michigan travel blog

Escarpment Trail, Michigan. Best hike in the porcupine mountains, porkies. UP Michigan travel blog

Escarpment Trail, Michigan. Best hike in the porcupine mountains, porkies. UP Michigan travel blog

Escarpment Trail, Michigan. Best hike in the porcupine mountains, porkies. UP Michigan travel blog

Escarpment Trail, Michigan. Best hike in the porcupine mountains, porkies. UP Michigan travel blog

Escarpment Trail, Michigan. Best hike in the porcupine mountains, porkies. UP Michigan travel blog

Escarpment Trail, Michigan. Best hike in the porcupine mountains, porkies. UP Michigan travel blog

Escarpment Trail, Michigan. Best hike in the porcupine mountains, porkies. UP Michigan travel blog

Escarpment Trail, Michigan. Best hike in the porcupine mountains, porkies. UP Michigan travel blog

Escarpment Trail, Michigan. Best hike in the porcupine mountains, porkies. UP Michigan travel blog

Escarpment Trail, Michigan. Best hike in the porcupine mountains, porkies. UP Michigan travel blog

Escarpment Trail, Michigan. Best hike in the porcupine mountains, porkies. UP Michigan travel blog

Escarpment Trail, Michigan. Best hike in the porcupine mountains, porkies. UP Michigan travel blog

Escarpment Trail, Michigan. Best hike in the porcupine mountains, porkies. UP Michigan travel blog

Escarpment Trail, Michigan. Best hike in the porcupine mountains, porkies. UP Michigan travel blog

Escarpment Trail, Michigan. Best hike in the porcupine mountains, porkies. UP Michigan travel blog

Escarpment Trail, Michigan. Best hike in the porcupine mountains, porkies. UP Michigan travel blog

Escarpment Trail, Michigan. Best hike in the porcupine mountains, porkies. UP Michigan travel blog

Escarpment Trail, Michigan. Best hike in the porcupine mountains, porkies. UP Michigan travel blog

Escarpment Trail, Michigan. Best hike in the porcupine mountains, porkies. UP Michigan travel blog

Escarpment Trail, Michigan. Best hike in the porcupine mountains, porkies. UP Michigan travel blog

Escarpment Trail, Michigan. Best hike in the porcupine mountains, porkies. UP Michigan travel blog

Escarpment Trail, Michigan. Best hike in the porcupine mountains, porkies. UP Michigan travel blog

Escarpment Trail, Michigan. Best hike in the porcupine mountains, porkies. UP Michigan travel blog

Escarpment Trail, Michigan. Best hike in the porcupine mountains, porkies. UP Michigan travel blog

Escarpment Trail, Michigan. Best hike in the porcupine mountains, porkies. UP Michigan travel blog

Escarpment Trail, Michigan. Best hike in the porcupine mountains, porkies. UP Michigan travel blog

Escarpment Trail, Michigan. Best hike in the porcupine mountains, porkies. UP Michigan travel blog

Escarpment Trail, Michigan. Best hike in the porcupine mountains, porkies. UP Michigan travel blog

Escarpment Trail, Michigan. Best hike in the porcupine mountains, porkies. UP Michigan travel blog

Escarpment Trail, Michigan. Best hike in the porcupine mountains, porkies. UP Michigan travel blog

Escarpment Trail, Michigan. Best hike in the porcupine mountains, porkies. UP Michigan travel blog

Escarpment Trail, Michigan. Best hike in the porcupine mountains, porkies. UP Michigan travel blog

Escarpment Trail, Michigan. Best hike in the porcupine mountains, porkies. UP Michigan travel blog

Escarpment Trail, Michigan. Best hike in the porcupine mountains, porkies. UP Michigan travel blog

Escarpment Trail, Michigan. Best hike in the porcupine mountains, porkies. UP Michigan travel blog

Escarpment Trail, Michigan. Best hike in the porcupine mountains, porkies. UP Michigan travel blog

Escarpment Trail, Michigan. Best hike in the porcupine mountains, porkies. UP Michigan travel blog

Escarpment Trail, Michigan. Best hike in the porcupine mountains, porkies. UP Michigan travel blog

 

 

And that’s a bit about what you can see on the Escarpment Trail!

 

See more great ways to spend your time in the Porcupine Mountains!

The list of camping spots in the Porcupine Mountains.

 

And more ideas for the U.P.

 

Plus, the best of Michigan’s national lakeshores.

 

HAPPY HIKING THE ESCARPMENT TRAIL IN THE PORCUPINE MOUNTAINS!

 

Escarpment Trail - Best hikes in Porcupine Mountains, Porkies, Upper Peninsula. UP Michigan travel blog

 

 

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