The Midwest isn’t well known for its adventure scene, but maybe it should be. The North Country Trail winds through several states, Kentucky’s Red River Gorge offers both climbing and hiking, and the Great Lakes Region is home to world-class sea kayaking destinations.
I grew up here, and have been lucky enough to hike every trail I could, and kayak in some of the best spots on Lake Superior. I’ve sea kayak guided for a whole summer in the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, and driven up Minnesota’s North Shore to hunt waterfalls.
Adventuring here is easy and deeply rewarding, if you know where to look. The Great Lakes Region is one of my favorite places to hike and paddle, and I am more than happy to share my favorite spots with you!
humble opinion, these are the ten best trails you can hike in the Mitten State. The Manistee River Trail has sentimental value, meanwhile Empire Bluffs has mass appeal. The Grass River Natural Area offers the chance to support a smaller, local nature reserve, while the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is brimming with trails that “wow”.
I’ve rated by difficulty, included pictures and a brief description of each trail. Good luck!
The Red River Gorge is known for climbing, but here are six great hiking trails. Because some of us (uh, me!) are afraid of heights.
The Pictured Rocks area is one of my favorite in Michigan, for the hiking and sea kayaking both. I’ve included here what you should do depending on the time you have, where you can stay, and difficulty ratings of activities and trails!
I spent a whole summer sea kayak guiding here, and I would do it again in a second. The people in and around Bayfield are friendly and welcoming, and you can’t skip the smoked whitefish. There’s beaches, waterfalls, hiking, and of course sea caves and 21 Islands for you to explore!
Magical sunsets from Overlook 9, beaches that rival the Caribbean, incredible fall colors, and that is just the beginning of the fun in Sleeping Bear!
Sandwiched between Traverse City and Mackinaw, the Chain of Lakes is often overlooked when it comes to vacationers, but the area offers boating and trails, breweries and skiing in the winter.
The Great Lakes are great for kayaking! Learn how to do that safety here!!!
Northern Wisconsin isn’t the place I used to think of when I thought about waterfalls, but after a summer in the Northwoods I changed my mind. There are less known falls like Potato River Falls, and well known areas with multiple sets of waterfalls and fairly accessible trails like Copper Falls State Park.