Backpack at Grand Island



21.2 miles

Elevation Gain

1000 ft

Route Type


Added by Matt Johnson

While Pictured Rocks gets a lot of attention in Munising, stop by Grand Island to adventure similar coastal features in a quiet, secluded setting.

Located in Munising, MI, Grand Island National Recreation Area is a part of the Hiawatha National Forest. While this section of the Upper Peninsula is known for Pictured Rocks National Park, many people fail to see or check out Grand Island. Secluded by ferry access, the island features 12 backpacking sites and two group sites along a 20-ish mile loop, along with six other sites on the eastern side of the island. The terrain is well marked and well maintained, the island is home to some residences, so some parts of roadways are used frequently. Leaving the ferry landing, the hike hops in and out the forest away from the shoreline, and eventually begins to climb and follow a more drastic cliff-side to the island. The hike can be done clockwise, or counterclockwise, depending on preference of hikers. There are rustic cabins and buildings along the hike, but many are not in use anymore. 

From our hike, I'd definitely recommend Preservation Point as an overnight campsite, easily the best site on the island. The views are amazing, and it's a good midpoint in the loop. Also, bring bug spray. The northern beach is a great spot to stop for lunch or a swim to cool off. The Upper Peninsula can be notorious for bugs and mosquitoes, and this is no different. Many of the sites on the southern end have pit toilets and clean water sources, but bring water filtration for further sites. 

When you're finished with your trip, make sure to check out Taco Primo for lunch before leaving town.

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We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on.

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