Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

MODERATE 88 reviews

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is a 35.6 mile moderately trafficked point-to-point trail located near Grand Marais, Michigan that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from May until October.

DISTANCE
35.6 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1,725 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Point to Point

backpacking

birding

camping

hiking

nature trips

walking

beach

forest

lake

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

bugs

old growth

over grown

rocky

no dogs

Sand dunes, cliffs, wooded areas, rivers, mud, uphill, and downhill. This area is good anytime from early spring to late fall. It is recommended to not go in early June, as that is when the flies are in the area and they are bad, almost intolerable at times. Go early May or wait until July when the flies have moved further south.

7 days ago

It’s pictured rocks...it rocks!

1 month ago

Greatest hike I have ever done and the absolute best in the Midwest.

backpacking
1 month ago

Greatest hike I have done to date!! Went from Grand Sable Visitor Center back to Munising falls. If you use the shuttle service call Altram, 25 per person. Miles are much more than what they claim here, that was the only draw back to the whole experience.

hiking
2 months ago

Diverse hiking along cliffs, beaches, dunes, and forests. Exceptional sandstone outcroppings along Lake Superior, and noteworthy outcroppings in inland forests. Trails can be muddy in spring, and there is usually a cool lake breeze.

2 months ago

What else can you say aside from this being perfect.

backpacking
2 months ago

I will be undertaking this trail for the third year in a row because it's simply the best out there. Can be done in 3 nights, but 4 nights out there allows for you to really enjoy the campsites and the views. Beaver Creek is the best campsite on the trail. If you're planning on doing this trek, be sure to make your reservations months ahead of time. I will be doing this trail again in August and made my reservations in April to be sure I was able to get the campsites we wanted. Can't recommend this trail enough.

backpacking
4 months ago

Premium hiking. Pack water!!

hiking
4 months ago

This is a great scenic trip to take. We hiked in mid October and it was perfect. We hiked from Munising to Grand Marais in 3 nights. The scenery was absolutely breathtaking and I took a ton of pics. Their is not much elevation climbs but the views were amazing. It is a must hike if you haven't yet.

4 months ago

best period.

9 months ago

gorgeous! definitely plan a few days here to really see as much as you can.

hiking
11 months ago

Easy hike with awesome views of the cliffs and a *great* lake.

11 months ago

Amazing hike!!!

11 months ago

Awesome trail just don't go after a heavy rain fall!

Friday, August 11, 2017

Great trail with great views. Hiked the whole thing; took three days but we also had to hike 20 miles in a day (so plan ahead we just showed up). Slow start but once you get to twelve mile things get interesting. After miners castle it sucked. stayed at cliffs the last night and the last seven miles aren't maintained very well. I get mud. But this place was a disaster, maybe they should charge entry to do a little trail maintenance. Also it would keep some of the polluting day hikers out. (out of all the national parks I've been to this had the most garbage lying around) Still I give it four stars for the Superior views.

backpacking
Monday, July 31, 2017

Hiked this trail (40+ miles) in mid May of 2016 and it was the best trail I've ever done. The views were stunning, water was easily accessible, and the campsites were well maintained.
This was my boyfriend's first hiking trip and though the elevation changed quickly and the climbs could be quite steep he did very well. The campsites were nice and most provided a simple "box toilet" pushed back into the woods a bit. (Very nice for novice hikers)

trail running
Monday, July 03, 2017

I trail ran 24 miles of it - from Sullivans landing trailhead to Minors Castle. Can get really muddy and wet. Some parts in sand. So ... love it!

hiking
Sunday, June 18, 2017

This segment was my favorite hike of Pictured rocks.

If you're not doing this as part of the backpacking trail, but just doing a day hike out and back, start at the North Country Trailhead instead of the Miners Beach trailhead, and you can avoid the kayak rental/tours crowd. Then, just skip the Mosquito Beach part on the other side, and turn around before the descent to the river.

The only "moderate" part of the trail is the climb from the beach to the top of the cliffs on either end. Once you get to the top, you've got 6 miles or so of essentially flat hiking.

Also, pay close attention to the little offshoot trails. Aside from those going to the backpackers campground, they all lead to a cool view or feature.

The marshy forest to the south/southeast of the trail is fairly interesting too. There were some nice fern forests, and some fairly open forests of maple and birch. Not the best examples in Pictured Rocks but still a cool, biologically-diverse area.

For those backpacking through the area, the campground, which I think was called Potato, or something like that, was ok, there were three or four campsites up there, and the usual pit toilet. Unfortunately, the camping sites are all directly next to or surrounded by marsh, which meant lots of mosquitoes. If you're in the off season it might be a great campsite, in the summer, I'd avoid staying still too long. On the plus side, if you read below, there's a nice place to rinse off nearby.

**Spoiler alert**
Coming from west to east, one of the first offshoots you reach takes you to a fairly spectacular vernal (I think) waterfall, which you can hike under. While we were there, there was a smaller (very little water) fall about 10 feet away that was light enough we could stick our heads in it. The main falls were far too powerful to risk that, but were a lot of fun to watch from behind them (and you're still up a fairly steep descent to where you would not want to lose your footing).

About (I'm guessing here) halfway, there's a nice sand beach, except at the edge of the sand there's a 80-120 (also guessing this height, I didn't have a altimeter) foot drop before the water. This area is not at all safe and no one should go out on it. We really enjoyed sun bathing for a while, laying in the sand and peering over the edge. There were no black flies up that high, so it was the only place we were really able to enjoy a beach feel. However, there was a good bit of poison ivy, so be careful before getting down to just your bikini.

backpacking
Wednesday, May 31, 2017

3 day backpacking trip, 40+ miles. Amazing hiking trails and scenery. Trails are well marked and camping sites along the trail are good. Never really too far from a water source. Make sure it's been dry for a while. Trail can get very sloppy.

hiking
Monday, February 27, 2017

This was an incredible trip. Went the week before Thanksgiving, met one person on the trail and the weather was around 30-40 degrees. Did a 10 mile hike to the coast then along the coast and back. The scenery was beautiful.

backpacking
Sunday, January 22, 2017

Hiked Pictured Rocks 2 times now. Both times Grand Marais to Munising. Hiked beginning or May and mid September. Both hikes were amazing and wonderful. If you are going to hike Pictured Rocks you have to do the whole time, don't start at beaver creek or the chapel region. That is not due justice to this amazing and natural beauty. Almost all the campsites I've stayed at were great (au sable, coves, beaver creek, mosquito, chapel, pine bluff, seven mile creek) with the exception of cliffs (pretty lame and no clean water). The eastern half is sandy, dunes, hardwood forest and mostly uneventful from Michigan landscape. when you reach 12 mile beach you start to enjoy Lake Superior and may even take a swim, both times I went (May and September) I froze! The sites with creeks or streams are excellent. Once you get to coves (25ish miles into trip) you start really getting into the heart of pictured rocks. The views are astounding and chapel/mosquito areas are amazing. The side hikes in the area don't disappoint, although they can be muddy after a spring thaw. The trail after miners castle isn't very pleasant either with no access to water and swampy conditions that almost require a boardwalk for roughly the 8 miles back to Munising. The trail gets confusing in the cross-country skiing area after standpoint.

Overall one of my favorite hikes. I usually take 5 days to enjoy the sights and nature. Can be done in 3 if you are quick. Only downside of chapel/mosquito area is no campfires, the pit toilets are a reward though!

Monday, November 28, 2016

Closer to an easier moderate trail. Love the views and the squeaky sand. Just be careful of the black flies during the summer.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Not physically demanding. Amazing views (like everywhere up there)!

backpacking
Monday, October 10, 2016

Did this trail Memorial Day 2015. Simply amazing! Not physically difficult. Definitely plan your trip. Book early so you can select the sites you want. Took a shuttle from Munising to Grand Marais. Super nice people. Started at Grand Marais with mostly wooded hike. Sable Dunes is spectacular. Stayed first night at Sable East. Awesome views. Easy access to water. Tough 12+ mile hike second day. Hike along the water is very beautiful. Interior hike was a bit blah following the water and cliff views. Second night was at Beaver Creek. More awesome views and cool sites. Bear boxes at both sites. Hike day three from Beaver Creek to Chapel Beach was amazing yet again. Had to depart early due to lightning approaching so hiked out to parking lot near Chapel parking lot. BEWARE: ZERO CELL COVERAGE! Hitched a ride to main road and shuttle picked up at corner store. Overall an incredible experience! We apparently did the ugliest part first. If that section was less desirable, can't imagine the rest!

Me: 40s, 5'11, 185lbs in moderately good physical condition. Carried 85L pack

Girlfriend: 40s, 5'3", 115lbs in moderately good condition. Carried 65L pack

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Completed Miners Castle to beach. Amazing water, very clean. Great places to cliff jump!

hiking
Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Did this hike in segments, nice place

backpacking
Saturday, June 04, 2016

Great trail, wicked views and nice campgrounds along the way. Make sure you stop in for pizza and beer at the local brewery in Grand Marais after the trail, well worth it!

hiking
Monday, September 21, 2015

beautiful area with sweeping views of Lake Superior and the Pictured Rocks. We really enjoyed our time here (except when it rained). I would recommend spending more time on the western half of the trail, as that is the most picturesque. Do you research on campsites!

camping
Monday, September 07, 2015

One of the most breathtaking places I have ever been to. This trail made me fall in love with hiking. I will definitely be making another 10 hr trip back here in the next couple years.

hiking
Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Beautiful! Words can't describe the beauty!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Parked at Little Beaver Lake w first night at Coves Group site. Hiked wo packs to Chapel Rock then collected our packs to hike to 7 Mile beach group site for a night. Fabulous beach on Lk Superior! Next day hiked to Lowney group site with a fabulous beach on Beaver Lake. 4th day hiked out to parking lot at Little Beaver campground. Great trip of about 30 miles.

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