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Backpack the Union Spring and Lost Lake Trails in the Porkies

Ontonagon, Michigan



8.1 miles

Elevation Gain

600 ft

Route Type



Added by Matt Johnson

With features like a spring lake and a waterfall, this eastern point-to-point hike in the Porcupine Mountains offers moderate terrain for all levels of hikers looking to overnight backpack

The hike begins at the Union Spring trailhead, roughly two miles south of the Park Headquarters on Boundary Road. This area of the park is also the winter cross country and snowshoeing section of the park, so many of the trails are marked for winter travel. To make sure you stay on the summer route, follow the "ungroomed section" of the Union Spring trail. Continuing the trail, you should reach a river crossing right before an intersection with the Government Peak trail. Here, hikers can camp at GP-1 or GP-2 for the day, or continue towards Lost Lake. If hikers continue south on the Government Peak trail, it leads to Trap Falls, a small waterfall off trail. The falls has a small pool about waist deep, if you feel inclined to cool down. 

In addition to this hike, if you're looking for a challenge, you can extend the hike by traveling 2.0 miles up the Government Peak trail to reach the peak, the highest point in the Porkies (1850 ft) next to sites GP-4 and GP-5. Unfortunately, the old tower that was present there has been torn down, so there's not really a reward at the end of the trip, just campsites. Continuing on the Lost Lake Trail, the trail dips between small hills and valleys, and leads towards to backcountry site. LL-1 is very large and has access to Lost Lake, however, the mud-lake is difficult to gather good water from, so make sure to fill from the neighboring stream about .025 miles before camp.

The remaining stretch of the hike leads to Lost Creek, a combination of two streams leading from the lake, and by the neighboring Lost Creek Yurt that can be used in both the winter or summer months (see Snowshoe to the Lost Creek Yurt in the Porkies). If hiking this trail using the point-to-point method, the trail ends at the Lost Creek trailhead about seven miles from the Union Spring trailhead on Boundary Road. Hitchhiking is legal in Michigan, but fairly unsuccessful in this region, so bring a leave vehicle. 

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