Pretty decent backpacking loop for a weekend. Stretch it into a Saturday afternoon/Sunday night in September. Good time of year to go, as it sounds like the ticks are a nightmare. Overall the location is pretty remote and quite the drive for me (Kalamazoo area) took around 3 1/2 to 4 hours. I enjoyed the remoteness of Hoist Lakes. I began at the eastern trailhead accessible from MI-65/72. Parking is $5.00 per day which is deposited in a self-service tube. I began the large trail loop south and made my way past north and south hoist lakes. These lakes were more or less ponds, but they were nice to look at. After making my way up a couple hills I made my way down to Bryan lake. During the duration of the hike I may have seen a handful of day hikers, however when getting to the Bryan lake their were plenty of hikers who appeared to have snagged the best spots. I found a nice site on the east side of the lake overlooking the largest lake in the hoist lakes area. After a pretty chilly night, I made my way north completing the trail in a couple hours. After completion I had a couple thoughts, the north side was more difficult, in which I would recommend on day 1. There wasn't too many sights on the north side however. The lakes were just okay, nothing spectacular. The trails are marked very well! The numbered poles with maps and nails showing your location made the hike enjoyable. Additionally marking the difficulty per post was helpful to gauge how hard each section would be.
I would try this trail in another year or so.
I'm not sure how this is listed as 1.3 miles considering the signage clearly shows it is nearly 8 miles total distance (one way out and back) if accessed from M-72. There is a sign at the trailhead, although it can be accessed at other points. Some down trees In had to climb over, but that is more of a small detail rather than a gripe. Follows the Au Sable for a nice stretch and there are some decent looks at the river. I half hiked half ran these trails. I'd go back for sure.
Ran this trail from Iargo Springs to Lumber Mans Monument. Total distance from Iargo to Lumber Mans is only 3.6 Miles. Not sure how these are mapped out since I keep reading conflicting distances. Even the trail head map put up by the forest service was wrong distance wise. Otherwise a great trail and good for a quick 5k or 10k (turn around at Lumber Mans and head back to Iargo)
I hike this trail in every season as it is a favorite. Iargo Springs is a great place to get a cardio workout on the stairs and cool off in the shade, them off to the canoers memorial and lumberman's monument. The view along the AuSable is gorgeous!
Christine B. on Hoist Lakes Foot Travel Area
Had this trip in mind for a couple weeks, just waiting for the perfect timing for fall colors. Went up mid week and was not disappointed. Beautiful colors and had the trails and campsites all to myself. Junction 5 was poorly marked and ended up going back to junction 11 when I wanted to go to 4, but oh well. I'll know for next time.