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Shingle Mill Pathway is a 11.7 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Vanderbilt, Michigan that features a lake. The trail is rated as moderate and primarily used for hiking, trail running, and backpacking. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length 11.7 mi Elevation gain 570 ft Route type Loop

Dogs on leash

Kid friendly

Backpacking

Hiking

Running

Forest

Lake

Description
Waypoints (2)

The heart of Michigan's Elk country, Pigeon River Country State Forest is also home to the Shingle Mill Pathway with loops divided into almost any length. The Shingle Mill Pathway also shares some of its trail with the 70 mile High Country Pathway (HCP) a popular bike-packing loop. This trip is a good choice for viewing the elk herds, avoiding large crowds, and accessing some good dispersed camping sites. Pigeon Bridge Campground is located across Sturgeon Valley Rd. Trailhead for late arrivers, however Pigeon River State Forest Campground is just a few miles up the trail and offers more secluded sites (some river-side). For those that arrive early, Section 4 Lake & Grass Lake have a few sites worth checking out. However, Section 4 does not allow camping within 600 feet and campsites along Grass Lake are limited and dispersed.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (53)
Photos (115)
Recordings (31)
Completed (62)
Emily Hartley
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 13, 2020
Hiking

Great trails! Well maintained. I hiked the 6 mile loop. Beautiful forests, river and lake views! Bugs not bad at all, path mostly dry with little mud pits. Very enjoyable hike

Vincent Blum
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 2, 2020
Hiking
View Vincent's Recording
Jim Francis
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 21, 2020
Hiking

Beautiful woods, streams and lakes. Trail behind at end of campground across road from trail parking.

View Jim's Recording
Joy McMillan
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 7, 2020
HikingBugs

This was a fabulous trail to hike. We spent the first night up at section 10/11 and then came back down to section 4 lake (which is STUNNING). It was not busy at all, was well maintained, and the spring-fed lake was a beautiful respite from a hot, muggy, buggy hike.

Iain Jones
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 4, 2020
HikingBugs

Hiked this in early June. Gorgeous hike, can’t say enough good things about the beauty of the area. Truly has a wilderness feel to it. Mosquitos were heavy at times but tolerable with a head net and spray. After finishing the hike I found at least FIFTEEN ticks on my boots and socks. Please take caution and spray all your clothes and shoes with permethrin and deet before and do a thorough tick check afterward. Happy trails

Aaron Gettinger
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 14, 2020
BackpackingBugs

Lovely trail, and smooth. Went over a lot of sand and downed pine needles, which, combined with the flatness, allowed us to make excellent time, 18-minute miles. Campsites at Section Four Lake and the west side of Grass Lake are really nice. Cool boardwalk for about a third of a mile near the western trailhead.

View Aaron's Recording
Ian Rosenwasser
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 13, 2020
BackpackingBugs

Great trail! We did this trail in 2 days and camped by Grass Lake. There were tons of ticks, but otherwise it was a nice trip

Reagan Swartz
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HikingMuddySnow

Beautiful day and the trail was so well maintained for the time of year.

View Reagan's Recording
Jon Sluis
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJanuary 20, 2020
HikingSnow

We did the 10 mile loop as part of a winter backpacking group. Hiked out to the dispersed campsite south of the lake the first night and then finished the loop the following day. Great trail. First part is along the river, then in woods, followed by a nice loop around the lake. Fresh snow made it a bit tiring to snowshoe, but the sunshine and peacefulness made it all worth it.

Stephanie Lambert
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJanuary 2, 2020
HikingSnow
View Stephanie's Recording
Cintya Escalona
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarNovember 29, 2019
Hiking

My Husband and hiked Shingle trail back in November 2019, even though this trail is rated moderate I'd say it was easy. Ratings are also based on your physical condition too, this was our first hiking ever and rule of thumb start the trail early. We started the trail around 1pm/ 7 miles in and we got lost, not because the trail was not marked but one of the marking post was down and we walked past it. Long story short.. we made it out 40 mins before getting dark. it was great definitely an experience and our dog loved it! I would love to come back during fall when the colors change... its so peaceful. Bring enough water and appropriate shoes since there were some areas with mud. other than that.. GReat place to visit for day of hiking!

Daniel Barry
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarOctober 20, 2019
Hiking

Great trail conditions. Leaves were slightly past peak but absolutely beautiful.

Matt Barringer
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarOctober 7, 2019
Hiking

Went on a weekend backpacking trip with three of my buddies and this trail did not disappoint. Being the first week in October, the first night was a bit chilly but the second day and night were beautiful. The colors were just starting to show and the trail was pretty quiet. We ended up getting there late Friday so we just set up camp at the Pigeon Bridge Campground which was perfect and pretty quiet this time of year. We hiked the next day up the eastern side of the loop and did some fishing along the way on the stream and at Section Four Lake, where we caught two 10” brown trout. The lake has beautiful turquoise water and is lined with trees. We camped our second night on the southwest corner of Grass Lake, where there were two dispersed sites that were right on the lake. The first is nice, but the second (walking from north to south) is much roomier and has a nice fire pit and everything. Our last day we hiked the rest of the loop back to the parking lot across from the Pigeon Bridge Campground, which took us about 2 hours. Overall the trail was pretty easy, even with packs and had some nice views along the lakes. Some spots got mucky and hiking on the boardwalks after rain on Saturday night was slick, but overall great. No elk this time, so we will be back to try again!

Angie M.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 29, 2019
HikingBlowdown

Nice 11 mile hike, some blowdown area but easy to navigate. The leaves were starting to turn. Took 4 hours with a small lunch break at grass creek.

View Angie's Recording
Jim Archer
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJune 1, 2019
HikingBugs

We hiked the 10-mile loop, starting at the Pigeon Bridge State Forest Campground (parking lot across the street), but ended up at about 11.5 miles after having to hunt for a campsite and taking a closer look at some of the lakes. Section 4 Lake is beautiful and shouldn't be missed. Grass Lake is also nice. The Discovery Center and Pigeon River Headquarters exhibits are really nice. We enjoyed spending some time with the packs off there, about 2.2 miles into the hike. We had wanted to hike about five miles and camp at the "dispersed campsites" that a popular trail map shows as being located on the south and north sides of Grass Lake. We walked right past the campsite on the south side because the view was just okay and the mosquitoes fierce. We walked to the north side and found four or five drive-in campsites right on the lake and accessible . We took the last one that was open because it didn't look like there were better options. The other campers were out fishing, running a generators, and making a lot of noise past 10pm, so it wasn't the best experience. When we resumed the hike on day 2, we walked past two awesome hike-in sites on the west side of Grass Lake. I have not seen those marked on any map, but that is where you want to camp. They're right on the lake, and the second one has a lot of privacy. They're not signed sites, but people camp there and have campfires. If we go back, we'll camp there for sure. We did pick up several ticks on the hike. The mosquitoes were pretty bad from start to finish, glad we brought head nets! We heard loons several times at Grass Lake, saw a beaver swimming, and spotted redwing blackbirds, woodpeckers, and a humming bird. Sadly we didn't see any elk, but were told at the Discovery Center that people see them all the time. This is a great beginning backpack overnighter.

Gerald Coppock
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMay 26, 2019
HikingBugs

We did the 6 mile loop, which is more like 8 miles. Boardwalk through Cedars are pretty awesome! I would highly recommend this trail for beginner backpackers!

View Gerald's Recording
Shane R.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMay 15, 2019
Hiking

This trail is marked well and nicely maintained. I did this trail with a group as an overnight backpacking trip. We combined the 10 mile loop with the new 3.8 Towermans Watch Loop staying one night at Grass Lake. This time of year the trail doesn’t seem to get a lot of use. This can also easily be done as a day hike.

Matt Howard
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 12, 2019
HikingBugs
Emily Vogelgesang
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 1, 2019
Hiking

Love this trail! Several mileage loops to take and usually pretty clear.

Emily Manship
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarApril 21, 2019
Hiking

Easy. Waterfront.

Shawn Williams
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarApril 21, 2019
HikingMuddySnow
View Shawn's Recording
Josh Crandle
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJanuary 14, 2019

I just did this trail counter clockwise, camped north of ford lake with 8.9 miles competed the first day. 2.8 miles back out to the trailhead today. At the trail head it lists a 10 and an 11mile loop. I followed the 10miler and it ended up being the 11.7. Not sure if I took the wrong path or what. Nice easy trail that was well marked. I was the only person enjoying the trail this winter weekend.

Matt Ogden
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJune 20, 2018
Backpacking

Hiked the whole loop and camped on Section 4 lake. Very nice trail, well labeled, and best of all low trafficked. Lots of cut offs to make for shorter loops as well.

Gordie Hahn
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarApril 10, 2018

I laid this trail out back in about 1975 while working for the MiDNR Forest Mgt Division. It was designed by Area Forester Ned Caveney as both a hiking and Cross Country trail but gets very little skiing. It is a bit testy at the north end. On a few of my many return trips I have observed increased mountain biking on the trail.

Brad Wells
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarNovember 3, 2017
Backpacking
First to Review

Check out my trip video of this loop here: https://youtu.be/cq7K-yc7m_g Did an overnight on this loop camping on the east side of Grass Lake.

Michael C.
Gray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarAugust 13, 2020
Hiking
View Michael's Recording
Tom Crites
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 12, 2020
Mountain biking
Dan Harry
Gray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarAugust 8, 2020
Hiking
View Dan's Recording
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