Explore the most popular hiking trails in Hiawatha National Forest with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

four wheel drive recommended

hiking
1 month ago

Not impressed with the waterfall, but a decent short hike.

Bike Ride was amazing. We clocked this at 21 miles and took us 5 hours to complete including a few stops along the way for photos. Lots of trees down from last nights wind where we had to lift our bikes. Sections of the trail is also washed out but doable, just keep watch. We went clockwise and we were glad we did, conquered the hardest section first. Id rate this as moderate to difficult.

We enjoyed most of our hike, but found the wayfinding quite challenging. The portion that goes up after the road to Maple Hill is very poorly marked.

We had a great 8 mile out and back starting at Moccasin Lake. Good trailhead location from AllTrails. Head east across across the road (NF13). That takes you to Pete’s Lake. Trail markers get a little lost but just follow the lakeshore east and look for the blue diamonds. Once your out of the campground at Pete’s the trail is very nice. Well defined and minimal elevation changes. A lot of pristine wilderness to enjoy. Have fun!

trail running
1 month ago

My very first marathon. Great event, would do it again.... despite all the rain!!

backpacking
2 months ago

Will be booking another trip here soon! I fell in love with this island. It’s not as difficult of a hike as I was expecting. I went at the beginning of September so the bugs were not bad. Trout Bay and west coast beaches were great. I brought a bug net and only used it for a mile. Only experienced awful black flies at the North East beach by Shelter Ridge. Bear poles I found slightly difficult to hang up our stuff. It took both my friend and I to try and get our bags to the top of the pole, luckily some sites have bear boxes. I would bring another strong friend or a bear canister next time. The sites are so secluded and awesome. The views are incredible. We did see bear scat and I was nervous about the bears in the night, but we never saw one. The ferry service is easy and dog friendly! It’s a great trip to do over 3 days, 2 nights, but next time I go I may increase the time there because it’s so awesome.

mountain biking
3 months ago

Very nice trail with great beach and cliff views on Lake Superior. Make sure you are prepared when you get on the ferry with a map, water bottle and BUGSPRAY. Mosquitos are no joke, even when moving at 10-15 mph.

mountain biking
3 months ago

Incredible! Starting with the extremely nice and helpful staff at the boat dock and outfitter to the amazing views to the thrilling ride overlooking cliffs. Definitely recommend going clockwise (starting on the west trail). If you like solitude start early and hit the North Beach before the pontooners roll in. Did this trail with the whole fam (age range 47-18-16-14-11). We are all novice riders and managed to finish in 3.75 hrs of ride time. Hanging at North Beach was my personal favorite.

trail running
3 months ago

Just did the 50k race on July 21st and I will say it was pretty hard but gorgeous views!

mountain biking
3 months ago

My husband and I biked the Rim Trail on July 31. It is a well used trail, although not busy on a weekday. Mostly double track with periodic elevation gains and drops as you drop down to several beaches and climb up to cliff top overlooks. Not technical, but requires a mountain or fat bike and riders need to be attentive in some sections for rocks, tree roots or sand. There is also a central road/trail option that is mostly gravel. The beach at the island’s north side features beautiful sandy lake bottom.

I clocked the round trip as 23 miles and it took us 4.5 hours including a lunch stop. Bring bug spray and water. Drinking water sources are located at the ferry dock and group camp sites and are marked on the maps provided by the Forest Service. No water on the north end unless you carry a filter to get water from the lake (at beach access).

Took the ferry and mountain biked the loop counterclockwise around the island. Challenging, but only one semi- steep slope. Beautiful views, beautiful woods. We didn't have any bug spray on. A few horse flies and mosquitos, but none compared to Wisconsin!!! We biked late July.

walking
3 months ago

This hike is very well marked in either side of the trailheads not so much in the middle. It is 12 miles all around NOT 9.1 as stated on AlllTrails or 10
as stated on the trailhead markers. It is 12.0 miles per 2 iPhones and a Fitbit. Nice walking path by several lakes and through the woods. Not many bugs late July. Be prepared for a longer walk than advertised. We averaged about 2 mph. .

Nice little hike to do with whole family.We did the trek and crossed the stream which was fun with kids and the dog. If you take the trail from the campground (road south of main trail), you avoid the closed bridge to see the waterfall.

hiking
4 months ago

Easy hike, wear sturdy shoes lots of roots and jagged rocks. If you like access to waterfalls this is a great one for that. Choose the right time of the year to go, July sucks for biting flies, June not too bad just bring mosquito spray, mid-August to September probably the best.

hiking
4 months ago

This isn’t worth the trip. The view is at the parking area. We walked the path, and I assure you it’s literally just trees, bugs, and chipmunks. You go near the lake, but the water line is at the tree line. No real vantage point....Definitely a disappointment.

it's an easy trail through the woods, very pretty. the bridge at the mid point of the trail is closed, so if you want to do the loop bring some Flip flops to walk across the steam at the falls.

backpacking
4 months ago

A fantastic three day hike on the island. The only reason I would say it is hard is because of the mosquitoes. Bring a bug suit and be prepared. The winds on the North side kept them away for the most part. Worst is near the southern shore. Amazing sandstone bluffs and natural lakes. Bear boxes, poles, and make shift outhouses are at every site. For cooking and drinking, bring plenty of water. Water available only on south to mid side. Even small lakes are in the mid area, the bluffs are too high to get to the shore for filtering your water unless you take a hike down to North Beach. Beautiful views and not many people. After the last ferry leaves the island you get an interesting feeling that you are one with nature. The views on the North Side remind me of the bluffs in Hawaii. Shh... it’s a secret unless you go check for yourself.
Happy hiking.

I’ve traveled this segment many times. This is the North Country Trail. The NCT S2S group rerouted a portion of this trail a few years ago when the beaver ponds rendered the trail impassable. A little ways east and south of Maple Hill ( there used to be a fire tower there) the trail follows some amazing limestone bluffs. One of my favorite portions of the NCT in the UP! There are Geocaches along this trail for those who do this sort of thing.

mountain biking
5 months ago

hiking
7 months ago

This was a great, secluded trail back to the waterfall. You will follow a two track for the first half, then it drops down the hill to a lower area, which was wet and swampy. The waterfall was well worth the hike in even being swarmed by all the mosquitos. The only difficulty is the drive to the trailhead due to the bumpy, narrow dirt road.

8 months ago

Great view of Lake Superior and Spectacle Lake. Multiple trails up and down the hill, but not marked. Just follow the worn footpath. Great for dogs. A lot of traffic from sightseers on the summer weekends.

backpacking
Saturday, November 04, 2017

Backpacked the beautiful Grand Island in the early summer, just before memorial weekend. It was a tough hike, as it is an uphill hike the whole way. We started clockwise and stayed at a campsite which was equipped with a bear pole and a fire ring. It was tough to find fire wood as it was mostly wet from the rain that had happened the day before. Not as much water around as we thought, which was tough. Bugs were TERRIBLE! Wear a net and bring tons and tons of spray.

The second night was pretty memorable as we ended up hiking double of what we anticipated. Water supplies was about a mile and a half away. Found the beach and decided to leave our stuff to stay there. Ran into a park patrolman and had a terrible expericence. He was not helpful, we needed reservations, which the site did not explain and we didn't have service. He said "well I have service" and left us stranded. We ended up taking the chance to hike back another mile and a half, with a sprained ankle (which we told him and he didn't seem to care) and grabbed our packs to head to the beach, again. With not much service and battery left, we called to get a credit card to reserve a spot. In the end, it was a great trip but be prepared to have a site reserved, have bug spray, and high hiking boots oh and tons and tons of water! Otherwise this can be done in two days with 7-14 miles a day. Beautiful hike!

hiking
Saturday, September 23, 2017

This is a great hike! You are able to walk right along the cliff and have great views of the lake, beaches (some places with access) and the rocky shoreline. It's not a strenuous hike by any means with the exception of its length. We walked the island clockwise, and in retrospect, might have done counter clockwise due to campsite locations and splitting up your two day hike.

backpacking
Sunday, September 10, 2017

Completed this loop in two days, September 8th and 9th. Took the Grand Island Ferry over at 2pm on Friday, and the service there is great and very dog friendly. Cost $15 and this includes your fee for Hiawatha.
The trail itself is easy and there are many great lookouts. My dog and I reserved and stayed at preservation point where we had a great view of the sunset however there were plenty of good places we saw along the way that you could disperse camp for free.
Despite going in September the mosquitos were still out, but not so bad that you needed a bug net but do bring bug spray and reapply often.

backpacking
Tuesday, September 05, 2017

We did this hike on the 12th and 13th of August. The 21 miles was doable in 2 days, but if we go again we will spend 3 so that we have more time to explore and enjoy the views, which are spectacular!

on Grand Island Loop

backpacking
Monday, September 04, 2017

Due to a late start on Friday, we did the loop in 3 days, but it could be done in 2.

Dispersed camping is allowed, but we had trouble finding much flat ground 100 ft from the trail/other campsites. I recommend reserving one of the few available sites.

There are a few beach sites on the east side near the thumb and tombolo that are beautiful.

The thumb is not well marked, but they do a great job marking the rest.

Great weekend, despite getting a bit lost on the thumb!

Monday, August 21, 2017

1st time biking a trail in the woods.
awesome trail.
not for the faint of heart or will.
recommend for more experienced bikers but I enjoyed it.

backpacking
Sunday, August 06, 2017

Rightly or wrongly we picked this track as our first ever family overnight hike. Our kids are now old enough to carry their own packs so we wanted to do something decent for our first trek.
We had a great weekend on the island. The 10 mile trek each day wasn't too bad for the family and there was a lot of flora and fauna to look at along the way.
The North beach was a lovely place to stop and eat dinner and have a swim and then we camped at the Shelter Ridge campsite.
Unfortunately for us, we were in the height of the mosquito breeding season and there are places on the island with lots of standing water which meant we were swarmed at times. They didn't seem too fazed by the tropical strength DEET repellant either!!!
Still, we had a great hike.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Loved this trail! There is an area where you come out the the road and in order to get to the rest of the trail you have to lift your bike over the guard rail-it's not clearly marked. We got lucky and met a couple runners that knew where it was and they guided us in the right direction. Otherwise this ride would have been 5 stars.

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