Traffic jams, honking horns, ringing cellphones – there is plenty of chaos to keep us busy throughout the days, and with it comes the stress. All those deadlines you have to meet, all those soccer practices you need to attend, and all those household chores that never seem to end may have your head spinning most of the time, but there is something that can still bring you peace – nature.
Nothing like the chirping birds and the gentle breeze on your face to calm those nerves and help you unwind. And, thankfully, we are blessed with some beautiful walking and hiking trails in our very own Michigan!
Though our state is well-known for its Great Lakes and all the awesome water activities you can think of, it would be a total shame to overlook the incredible hiking options available right in our backyards. In fact, Michigan holds the largest number of local and federal forests in the nation! Surprised? Well, now you know that whether you want to hike to an isolated beach, catch a float plane to Isle Royale, or be amazed by a backcountry waterfall, our state has a lot to offer and you will never leave disappointed.
So, if you are looking for your next hiking adventure, look no further. You can strap on that backpack and hit some of our Michigan trails for a couple hours or even days! And since our team of experts at Kalamazoo Podiatry also love to be active, we decided to highlight some of the most scenic trails you should definitely consider.
Don’t worry, we also have some great tips on how to enjoy your hike with happy and healthy feet, too! (We are a podiatry office, after all.)
Warren Woods – Three Oaks, MI
Length: 1.6 miles
Dogs: Allowed with leash
If you are looking for a short nature walk, then Warren Woods State Park is a great option.
The park is home to a variety of beautiful trees – as a National Natural Landmark, the state park has protected and preserved unique trees like beech, sugar maple, and tulip poplar trees since 1967. In some places, these awesome trees have grown up to 100 feet tall and 5 feet in diameter. So you will be sure to enjoy this scenic route as you hike along the Galien River.
Make sure to pack some bug spray with you and, of course, wear shoes that are appropriate for the activity and that provide the cushion and support you need. Keep in mind that the trail is a bit muddy near the river as it passes through a flood plain, so be mindful of your stride along those areas.
Tahquamenon Falls Route – Munising, MI
Length: 5.8 miles
Dogs: Allowed with leash
At 50 feet high and 200 feet wide, the Upper Falls of the Tahquamenon is one of the largest waterfalls east of the Mississippi. You can admire the beautiful waterfalls from the platform, or you can hike to the Lower Falls or along the river to take a closer look at how wonderous nature can be.
As you hike along, you can stop at several observation points, including a descent of 116 steps to a platform that looks back over the Upper Falls. This amazing trail also offers camping options, and fishing and canoeing for those of you looking for some extra adventure. You may even be able to spot some of the vast wildlife while you’re at it – from moose and black bears to beavers and porcupines, keep an eye out and be prepared.
The trail can be muddy and slippery in places, especially if it has rained recently. Use a walking stick whenever you can to help steady your stride and prevent any tripping or falling.
Porcupine Mountain Wilderness Loop – Houghton, MI
Length: 21.2 miles
Dogs: Allowed with leash
Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park is Michigan’s largest state park. Home to nearly 60,000 acres of impressive old-growth, 90 miles of shoreline trails along Lake Superior, and many streams and rivers, this hiking experience will surely be one of your best.
The park offers an 18-hole disc golf course and several overnight options, including campgrounds, cabins, yurts and a lodge. So you can enjoy the beautiful waterfalls throughout the trails, and return to the comfort of a warm, comfortable bed to recharge your energies at night.
Black bears are frequently spotted in the park, so make sure to take appropriate precautions when hiking and camping. You should also stretch every morning before you start your hiking venture, as well as after you have completed your journey. This will help improve blood flow to the muscles, make ligaments more flexible and prepare your feet for the strain.
Chapel Loop – Marquette, MI
Length: 10.6 miles
Dogs: No dogs allowed
Cliffs, waterfalls, coves, sandy beaches, awesome views overlooking the beautiful waters of Lake Superior – this and much more is what you will find at the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. This is a hiking experience you are sure not to forget!
You can choose to explore the area by foot on the many miles of trail or rent a kayak or canoe to continue your adventure on the water. On your way through the pristine forest, you will have spectacular views of the colorful sandstone cliffs and several waterfalls.
Again, pack some bug spray, as well as sunscreen and water. And keep in mind that the area is home to some larger animals (including bears), so take appropriate precautions if you are planning a long trek or overnight camping. Also be sure to address “hot spots” on your feet immediately – if you notice your skin is becoming sore or irritated, cover it with a tape or bandage right away to help prevent it from becoming a blister.
Greenstone Ridge Trail – Isle Royale, MI
Length: 45 miles
Dogs: No dogs allowed
Yes, we know – this hiking trip is taking us a little further than we expected. But if you are looking for a more challenging adventure, one that can feel as remote and isolated as the forests in Peru but right in your “backyard,” then Green Stone Ridge trail is where you need to go.
The effort of actually getting there will pay off tenfold once you step off the ferry – or even float plane! Isle Royale sits 45 miles long and 8.5 miles across, boasting over 160 miles of hiking trails. The Greenstone Ridge Trail splits the island in two, providing views of the sweeping landscape, traversing through dense pine forest, exposed bedrock, and blueberry bushes. Indeed, this multiday trip is one for your bucket list.
And, of course, you should prepare accordingly – remember that this is a remote area. Make sure to take enough food supplies, insulated shelter, and plenty of socks to change into whenever needed. Also be more aware of your steps and stride to help prevent any foot or ankle injuries like sprains. Take shorter, tighter strides when hiking through challenging areas. This will improve your recovery chances should you take a mis-step.
We Are Here to Help You No Matter Where the Trails Take You
Whether you are an avid hiker or if you prefer short walks around your neighborhood, our team of experts at Kalamazoo Podiatry is here to help you keep your feet and ankles as healthy and as comfortable as possible so that you can walk many more miles now and in the future.
But if foot problems are holding you back, or if – knock on wood – you experience a foot or ankle injury while hiking, don’t hesitate to call our office at (269) 373-1019 to schedule an appointment today. Or take advantage of our handy request form online and one of our trained staff members will reach out to you.