Grand Island Loop is a 21.2 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Munising, Michigan that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from May until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

21.2 miles
1,026 feet

dogs on leash





mountain biking

nature trips










The island has a number of trails and designated camping zones but you can camp just about anywhere.

1 month ago

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.

trail running
2 months ago

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

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).

3 months ago

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.

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.

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!

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.

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.

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!

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!

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.

Saturday, July 08, 2017

Amazing views of Pictured Rocks! Has a fairly steep climb on the west side. Not much to see on the east side compared to the west side though. There are only a couple bears on the island. I was able to see some tracks on North Beach.

Sunday, June 04, 2017

Check out our trip video on YouTube

...This is a 2 day, 1 night backpacking loop (but can be done in more or less time) in Grand Island National Recreational Area off the coast of Lake Superior in Munising Michigan. The loop is 20.4 miles in total (.2 mi from Williams landing dock to West Rim Trailhead + 20 mi loop + .2 mi from trailhead back to Williams Landing dock) but offers many side trip opportunities. Our trip started the Saturday before Memorial Day 2017 by taking the ferry to Williams Landing at 9AM (also runs at 12 and; 3:30). We were apart of the first group of 6 to go across at 9 and arrived at Williams landing in a minute or so. Backcountry sites are reservable from Memorial Day through the busy season, but before then its "first come first served" .

Day 1 consisted of hiking the West Rim of the Island to Preservation Point Campsite. We were worried about site availability given the holiday weekend & "first come first served" sites, so we took few breaks in the first 9 miles to the site. Luckily, Preservation Point was vacant when we arrived and surprised us with how close it was to lake views. This site even has its own scenic lookout spot with two extra benches. After setting up camp, we did a day trip to North Light Creek beach to get water and do some fishing. The water access was great, but the was little fish to speak of. We did some more exploring and then headed back to our site. Later in the afternoon we allowed some late arriving hikers to share our site since most were already taken. Preservation point only allows 2 tents but the site is big enough for more.

On day 2 we planned to spend the night on a Trout Bay site, but our early arrival on trout bay and heavy rain, convinced us to catch the 12pm ferry off the island as opposed to spending the entire day hanging out in our tent (the ferry will make multiple trips to get everyone across). This was a great trip, even with the rain. The bugs were present on our trip but seemed worse on the East Rim. The West Rim had fewer bugs and was by far the more scenic part of the island (Trout Bay excluded). I would recommend spraying your gear and clothes with Permethrin the day before to keep the bugs at bay (this really helped us). I would also add that the hike is pretty tame, not too many up and downs (seems like this route should be rated "Moderate" instead of "Hard").

mountain biking
Saturday, May 13, 2017

Bring bug spray. Those misquotes are crazy.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

great trip. as others have said be sure to have plenty of water. northern campsites do not have water access.

Monday, October 03, 2016

beautiful area - Already planning to go back for more time!

Monday, September 05, 2016

Few campsites. I do recommend reserving your spot online before going. I had to find my own spot. The hike itself is fairly easy. Not a lot of uphills (which is great). Good hike over all. I rate the hike somewhere in between easy/medium difficulty.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Actually, my girlfriend and I hiked this trail and we ended up putting in 37.8 miles this is the most beautiful hike I've done so far it was absolutely perfect!

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Northern point campsites are absolutely stunning. Great rangers with great information as well.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Beautiful hike if your able to hike for a long distance. The whole loop is just over 20 miles long not 10. However we did the historical loop which was a little over 12 miles and had very beautiful views of the beaches and cliffs. Make sure to bring lots of water the drinking spots are all located in a close area and as you get further into the island there isn't any drinking water

Saturday, May 07, 2016

Gorgeous! Michigan is anything but boring.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Beautiful Island...especially North Beach if you can make the jaunt (we biked/camped).

Sunday, March 06, 2016

As someone else has mentioned the trail is around 22 miles long not 10. The trail is well marked and the loop takes you through a very nice hardwood forest. The northern part of the trail brings you into sand uphill terrain which makes it fairly hard to hike but the view of the northern beach is well worth it.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

This article says 10.9 miles, but the full loop (around the rim of the island) is more like 21 miles. Some slight incline and decline, pretty well maintained trails and stunning views of Lake Superior along with the island's sandstone cliffs. On clear days, can see Pictured Rocks from northeastern cliffs. Depending on the time of year, could be very buggy. Be sure to fill your water vessels while on the south end of the island.

Saturday, August 02, 2014

very cool island. if you don't have a watercraft there is a ferry you can take to get out there for $15 round trip. easy mountain biking trails criss cross the whole island. I saw 6 black bears while I was there too.

Saturday, April 06, 2013

Great Trail for beginners and those who want to see some excellent rock formations. We headed here after finding out that Pictured Rocks was all booked up. What a pleasant surprise...

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