Escarpment Trail is a 8.2 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Ontonagon, Michigan that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, nature trips, and bird watching and is best used from March until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length8.2 miElevation gain1,689 ftRoute typeOut & back
Dogs on leashHikingNature tripsBird watchingForestLakeRiverViewsWildflowersWildlifeBugs
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Getting There

SEASONAL CLOSURE: During the winter months, the trailhead may be closed. There are alternate parking options 2 miles before the trailhead on 107th memorial highway. The Escarpment Trail can be directly accessed via 3 trailheads, and makes up a portion of Porcupine Mountains State Park's very robust trail and backpacking system. Several of the other trails can be accessed via Escarpment Trail. The westernmost 2 miles of this trail follows the ridgeline to the north of Lake of the Clouds, which is easily the most scenic - and visited - place in Porcupine Mountain State Park. If you're planning to visit this portion of the park be prepared for large crowds as Lake of the Clouds offers some incredible photo opportunities. The other two trailheads are located just off of the road (M-107) approximately two and four miles east of the Lake of the Clouds parking area.

There is parking available at each of the three trailheads.

Porcupine Mountains State Park 33303 Headquarters Rd, Ontonagon, MI 49953 (906) 885-5275

Escarpment Trail can be accessed by following M-107 west out of Union Bay/Silver City. It's located 18 miles west of Ontonagon, MI on M-64.

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Reviews (280)
Photos (467)
Activities (200)
Completed (578)
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Scott Vanderpoel
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Trailhead closed which adds 0.8 miles one way and a ton of extra elevation. Has to be one of the best hikes in the Midwest. Just a note, I didn't hike the whole trail, but you can't see Lake Superior from here as an FYI

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Will Stark
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HikingGreat!

Great trail! Would definitely recommend starting at government peak trailhead rather than the lake of the clouds trailhead. Gives you something to look forward to as well as not having to hike back up the trail when there is really nothing at the bottom.

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Diana Odin
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HikingGreat!

Not as hot and dry as you'd expect in August. Pretty busy compared to most trails in the Porkies. Never ending views!

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Laurie R
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SnowshoeingSnow

Road closed at Whitetail cabin (2.1 miles from the government trail head). From there it was all fresh powder with an extra foot or two in some areas - we were so glad to have our snow shoes! Areas on the ridge had deep fluffy snow and great views of lake of the clouds. We turned around one mile or so from the overlook at the end of the trail because of timing as we were breaking trail with two feet of snow. Saw a couple skiers on our way back that last pled like they were enjoying the new layer of snow. Overall, Love this trail and great views well worth the hike!

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S K
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HikingSnow

CLOSED ROAD ACCESS during winter. The roads are closed about a 50 min walk before the trail head. Once we got there we enjoyed beautiful views.

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Rachel Lavelle
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Hiking

Such a beautiful trail! Hikes through the woods combined with unreal panoramic views of the river.

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Clarence Worley
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HikingGreat!
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Dan Weldon
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HikingGreat!

beautiful hike with great views of the lake. not too difficult terrain wise but is long and requires some endurance. highly recommend it!

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Tracy Thompson
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Hiking

wonderful trail. great view of the lake and colors were great for being later in october. (12-16)

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Blake Antos
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Backpacking
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Scott Lindblom
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HikingGreat!

Wonderful trail. Great views south of Lake of the Clouds & the outflow, though no great views of Lake Superior to the North. Today offered 1-2" of new snow, on top of leaves, with temps in the low 30s, which made it quite slippery but still quite do-able. No real steeps. Did the round trip in 3 hours but that was pushing it.

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Adam Blumstein
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Hiking

Tons of amazing views from this hike! It was a bit snowy and slippery at times during the hike, but the snow made the forest look even more beautiful.

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Kichul Ko
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HikingGreat!

Awesome trail with one of the most beautiful places to see fall colours. Definitely moderate to difficult. I would start from the Government peak trail head as others have suggested. This way your trip is more climactic rather than anticlimactic. Also you don’t run into the crowd or have to wait to park. Start mid to late morning at the latest as you would still have the sun behind you when you get the mouth of the Lake of the Clouds where you can take beautiful pictures for your Instagram. Otherwise, if you are too late, you would be facing the sun which may make the picture-taking a bit more difficult. I have to say, especially during the pandemic, the actual lake scenic area with a parking lot wasn’t that impressive after spending time at a few view points (more beautiful) in the middle of this trail. The large crowd wasn’t helping either. We just used the bathroom quickly and started to head back.

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Jacqueline Scholz
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HikingGreat!Rocky

We started at the Lake of the Clouds overlooked and hiked for an hour and a half to about the middle and turned back. Making it an overall 4 mile out and back hike. We had gorgeous views but this is definitely a hard trail, lots of up and down and rocks to navigate around. Worth it for the views but definitely be prepared with the right equipment, hiking shoes and trekking poles. Saw lots of people in sneakers which would make it much more techerous. A beautiful hike!

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Thomas Fournier
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Hiking

I was supposed to have a larger hike in total, but due to some changes in the weather and planning the trip a little late in the year, I was only able to get in Escarpment. It was definitely worth getting soaked by the rain and chilled by the wind though. Ill be back to finish what I started.

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Chuck Beauchamp
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HikingGreat!

Excellent hike with the best views of the lake! I combined it with other trails (Government Peak, Correction Line and Big Carp River) to make it an all day loop. Best hike in years!

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Jack Fischer
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Hiking
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Larry Tsoumas
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Hiking

Amazing trail to view the fall colors. Was crowded on a Sunday. Overall was a beautiful hike - medium as far as level of difficulty. Need to watch out for tree roots. We took our dog with and he loved it. Many great view points along the trail. Was a little windy today. Happy Trails

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Tyler Meshigaud
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Hiking
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Catherine Booher
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Hiking

My husband, 67 and I, 61 did this trail yesterday and enjoyed it very much but certainly found it in the “hard” category. I envisioned “escarpment” as a climb up and then a hike along the ridge followed by a hike back down - this is definitely not the case. We started at Govt. Peak trailhead as many reviewers suggested, but honestly, don’t know what the difference would be doing it from the Lake of the Clouds trailhead. The entire trail is a series of ups and downs with very little time spent moseying along a flat ridge. The vast majority of the trail is rocky with many trip hazard tree roots. We’ve hiked all over the country —-> Glacier, Zion, Arches, Tetons, Rockies, Death Valley, etc. and found the Escarpment Trail to be comparable to hikes we’ve done “out west.” That said, the trail was well marked & maintained with many beautiful views, especially in peak fall color as is the case here in yooper land this week. We took our time, had lunch & took our rest breaks & enjoyed ourselves. The 20 somethings were breezing through it - so no worries to you guys - just like to give the senior perspective to those in need.

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Chelsea Clements
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Hiking
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Morgan Taylor
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HikingGreat!

Absolutely stunning views. I would rate it as moderate, but I’m 33, love to hike and pretty active. Had we started our day earlier we would have loved to do the big loop (about 15 miles round trip), but the out and back offers beautiful scenery and views both ways.

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Adam Sheinhaus
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HikingGreat!

Started at the observaron deck and made it about 2/3 of the way to the end due to time constraints. It’s absolutely fantastic—view after view, you hike through forest, rocky sections, flat parts, steep areas, and the trail wasn’t super crowded, either. Best fall foliage hike I’ve been on.

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Mariela Cabaleiro
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HikingGreat!

Great hike with beautiful views of the lake. I’d rate this more of a moderate than a hard and I’m 63 and my husband is 64.

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Ryan Vetter
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HikingGreat!
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Nick Derus
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BackpackingRocky

We have taken this trail many times. Great views, alot like hiking out west. Best if you have a ride back down if you are hiking up.

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Travis Smith
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Backpacking
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Kyle Ariss
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Hiking
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Travis Smith
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Backpacking
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