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The Best Backpacking in Michigan

Looking for the best backpacking in Michigan? We've got you covered with the top trails, trips, hiking, backpacking, camping and more around Michigan. The detailed guides, photos, and reviews are all submitted by the Outbound community.

Top backpacking spots in and near Michigan

  • Mesick, Michigan

    Backpack the Manistee River Trail

    4.0
    17.6 mi
    Starting at the Red Bridge River Access Area just off North Coates Hwy (about 8 miles east of Brethren, Michigan) there is a small parking lot opposite of the trailhead where you can leave your car. The trail is part of the North Country Trail (NCT) so it is well marked with signs leading the way...
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  • Free Soil, Michigan

    Camp in the Nordhouse Dunes Wilderness

    4.6
    The Nordhouse Dunes Wilderness Area is located south of Manistee along an extremely isolated shoreline. Most hikers prefer to camp two nights along the shores of Lake Michigan, but some choose to call the dunes home for weeks at a time. This is an area of backwoods camping, where sites can be est...
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  • Munising, Michigan

    Backpack Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

    5.0
    43 mi / 500 ft gain
    The time of the year is one of the most important factors of this trip. DO NOT under any circumstances plan this trip for a time during mid June - mid August. The black flies at this time of the year are more than a nuisance. They are seemingly resistant to even 100% DEET, and can bite through cl...
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  • Eagle Harbor Township, Michigan

    Backpack Isle Royale NP's Greenstone Ridge Trail

    5.0
    41.12 mi / 3235 ft gain
    Isle Royale National Park consists of Isle Royale, a fifty mile long and nine mile wide island in Lake Superior, and about 45 smaller islands around (and within) it. Remote and undeveloped, the shores can be visited by watercraft, but the only way to see the interior is to walk across it. Because...
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  • Ludington, Michigan

    Hike to Big Sable Point Lighthouse

    4.7
    3.6 mi
    Big Sable Point Lighthouse is perhaps one of the most scenic locations in Michigan. A 3.6 mile round trip hike along the Lake Michigan shoreline will bring you to the destination, which is nestled among sprawling sand dunes. Each evening, it offers a stunning sunset along the sandy beaches.A shor...
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  • Leland, Michigan

    Camp on South Manitou Island

    5.0
    South Manitou Island is situated off of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in Lake Michigan. The island is only accessible by a two-hour ferry ride, which leaves once a day from Leeland.Upon arriving at the island boat dock, you'll soon realize this isn't an ordinary experience. South Man...
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  • Pinckney, Michigan

    Blind Lake Loop

    10.56 mi / 860 ft gain
    Finding a quiet, relatively secluded place to backpack can be difficult in Southeastern Michigan. However, backpacking at Blind Lake in the Pinckney State Park is a fantastic option for those searching. Blind Lake is accessible by a 7 mile hike in from Silver Lake, but can be approached from seve...
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  • Honor, Michigan

    Camp at White Pine Campground

    4 mi / 200 ft gain
    This is one of the cheapest ways to stay near Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore overnight. You'll have access to the beach right near your campsite. It's remote enough to be quiet, and it's not a very long hike.There are only 6 campsites available, and they come on a first come, first serve ...
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  • Munising, Michigan

    Miners Castle to Au Sable Lighthouse

    3.0
    27.32 mi / 2323 ft gain
    This trip works best with two cars where the first is dropped off at the Twelvemile Beach Parking Lot, and carpooled over to the Miner's Castle Parking Lot. Both lots can be easily found in the Pictured Rocks National Seashore Map, or on Google Maps. Start your day at Miner's Castle by checking ...
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  • Shingleton, Michigan

    Chapel Basin to Beaver Creek Loop

    20.52 mi / 2244 ft gain
    This two day (easily extended if you want more time to explore) hike offers some of the best views in all 40 miles of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. The days are split up into a 8.8 mile day and a 12.6 mile day and can be done in either direction but since I did the 8.8 mile day first I will ...
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  • Mesick, Michigan

    Manistee River Trail Loop

    21.69 mi / 2615 ft gain
    Day 1:  Arrive at Seaton Creek Campground and pay for parking for the number of nights you plan on hiking the loop. For this particular trip, I hiked the loop in 2.5 days and 2 nights.  Hike 1.4 miles from Seaton Creak Campground to a suspension footbridge on the banks of the Manistee River. At...
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  • Houghton Township, Michigan

    Backpack 5 Nights on the East Side of Isle Royale

    5.0
    58 mi
    The trip starts with a ferry trip to Rock Harbor. Depending on where you are coming from there are a few options. The ferries generally run from May through September and they are weather dependent. Other options include chartering a plane or private scow.Ferries come from Copper Harbor, MI, Houg...
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  • Houghton, Michigan

    Backpack to Moskey Basin

    5.0
    24 mi / 1200 ft gain
    While it is only accessible by boat or plane, Isle Royale National Park is well worth the added travel arrangements. We took the Ranger III Ferry out of Houghton, MI, but there are a few other options depending on where you depart from (www.nps.gov). Upon arrival at Rock Harbor, the first day is ...
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  • Oscoda Township, Michigan

    Hike Lumberman’s Monument

    5.0
    5.6 mi
    Lumberman’s Monument is truly a hidden gem. Most people don’t realize there are towering sand dunes in the Oscoda area. While the majority of visitors stay at the overlook, there is a breathtaking trail for the more adventurous. The main parking for this trail is at the Lumberman’s Monument parki...
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  • Mesick, Michigan

    Hike the North Country Trail: Manistee River Section

    5.0
    19.8 mi / 2739 ft gain
    This trail is perfect for backpacking, hiking, trail running, snow shoeing, or cross country skiing! The North Country Trail in the Manistee River section is 19.8 miles long, out and back. Depending on the distances you plan to cover, the trail ranges from beginner - advanced use. Given the eleva...
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  • Ontonagon, Michigan

    Mirror Lake Cabins Loop

    6.24 mi / 584 ft gain
    The trip to Mirror Lake begins at the Summit Peak Scenic Area. To extend your hike, start at the Lily Pond trail-head farther south on Summit Peak Road (5.3 miles to cabin). The initial trail towards the lake is the Beaver Creek trail (1.2 miles). The trail climbs down the peak slope into some lo...
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