Why You Should Hike The North Country Trail

The North Country Trail (NCT) is one of the top destination trails in the United States. Similar in prestige to the Appalachian or Continental Divide, the North Country Trail is one of those bucket list hikes. It is the longest continuous hiking trail in the United States spanning 4,800 miles and covers 8 states from North Dakota to Vermont. Almost a 1/4 of the trail is found in Michigan alone spanning over 1,000 miles from the most western tip of the Upper Peninsula to the Michigan/Ohio border. The trail offers hikers an immersive experience in Michigan’s diverse landscapes, making it a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts. Below are just some of the awesome scenery you’ll find on the North Country Trail in Michigan and our reasons why you should hike it!

Trail Highlights in Michigan:

  1. Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore: One of the most famous sections of the NCT in Michigan is the stretch through Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Hikers are treated to breathtaking views of towering sandstone cliffs, pristine beaches, and the crystal-clear waters of Lake Superior. This section is a photographer’s dream, with every turn revealing a new, awe-inspiring vista.
  2. Manistee National Forest: As the trail winds through the Manistee National Forest, hikers encounter dense woodlands, meandering rivers, and serene lakes. This section is a haven for wildlife, and lucky hikers might catch a glimpse of deer, eagles, or even black bears.
  3. Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park: The NCT leads adventurers through the rugged beauty of the Porcupine Mountains, Michigan’s largest state park. Waterfalls, old-growth forests, and panoramic views of Lake Superior reward hikers who conquer the challenging terrain.

Why You Should Hike It:

  1. Scenic Variety: From lakeshores to dense forests, the NCT in Michigan offers a diverse range of landscapes, ensuring that every step brings a new and captivating view.
  2. Wildlife Encounters: Michigan’s wilderness is home to a rich array of wildlife, and the NCT provides ample opportunities for hikers to observe and appreciate the natural inhabitants of the region.
  3. Well-Maintained Trails: The North Country Trail Association, along with various local organizations and volunteers, works tirelessly to maintain and improve the trail. Well-marked paths, reliable shelters, and water sources make for a comfortable and safe hiking experience.
  4. Community Engagement: The North Country Trail fosters a sense of community among hikers. Events, guided hikes, and educational programs contribute to a vibrant trail culture, attracting both novice and experienced hikers alike.

For those seeking a true immersion into the natural beauty of Michigan, the North Country Trail is a quintessential destination. Whether you’re an avid hiker, nature enthusiast, or someone looking for a peaceful escape, this trail offers an unforgettable journey through some of the most stunning landscapes the Great Lakes State has to offer. You don’t have to have the goal of hiking the whole thing to enjoy the NCT! If you live in West Michigan, chances are you aren’t too far from a section on the trail. Even spending a few hours enjoying the beauty to be found on this trail is well worth it. There’s a reason it is one of the premier hiking trails in the country! Make sure you add it to your list of trails to hike!

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