Superior, Big Carp, and Escarpment Loop

HARD 6 reviews

Superior, Big Carp, and Escarpment Loop is a 17.6 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Carp Lake, 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.

DISTANCE
17.6 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1,292 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dogs on leash

backpacking

birding

camping

fishing

hiking

nature trips

walking

beach

forest

lake

river

views

waterfall

wildlife

bridge out

bugs

muddy

A scenic loop along Lake Superior and the Big Carp River. Great scenery and some fantastic camp sites along the way. Plenty of water sources. Be prepared for some elevation increases as you approach the home stretch. If you go after rainy weather, you're going to be hiking in mud. Also, be prepared to forge the river at one point in the trail. Make sure to check the Michigan State Park website for reservation and check in rules as they change. Dispersed camping is still allowed as of Oct 2017, but supposed to change soon to reserved spots.

hiking
2 months ago

Hike date May 14, 2018:

Big Carp trail and Superior trails are swampy right now do to the large amount of snow received and melted in the Porkies this year. A lot of downed trees and thick mud on the Superior trail. Escarpment trail was lovely.

I wouldn't recommend this entire loop to be honest. The Superior Trail doesn't stay on the shore completely so while the views were nice yesterday due to the leaves not being in for the year, the Superior views will be obstructed in a few weeks. You walk through a lowland swamp for most of it. Much of the Big Carp Trail is the same. It isn't particularly enjoyable to traverse downed trees in mud after 15 miles completed. Government Peak, to Mirror Lake, then North and across the Escarpment trail is a more enjoyable loop, in that order, as I have hiked just about every mile of trail in the park. Hiking North on the Pinkerton Creek trail to overnight at the Big Carp Cabin is nice as is the Presque Isle River Trail on the West end of the park. I would consider this trail again in the Autumn if not too wet. I have a feeling the mosquitoes will be heavy this year given the amount of standing water. If you want a great workout this would be ok right now but the combination of mud, swamp, bug arrival, and downed trees do not make this loop worth the effort right now. Couldn't wait for this hike to end and I'm an avid hiker. If you are only around for a day, I'd do the Escarpment Trail and the Presque Isle River trail with a stop to do the trail at the Summit Peak Scenic area which is just amazing in the Fall and early Winter when there is a some snow cover but the road isn't yet closed.

backpacking
5 months ago

This was my first backpacking trip, I left Chicago bright and early and arrived in the Porkies around 2 in the afternoon. I hiked down to Mirror Lake and camped my first night there. I enjoyed watching some loons traversing the lake as smoke from other campfires slowly crept across the water as the sun was setting. As night began to fall I heard the forest come alive with the sound of an owl that was in the area. I had a fire built up, and enjoyed a nice freeze dried meal. The site I was at that evening was equipped with a bear pole to hang my food on, and there was a pit toilet about 100 yards from the site back in the bush that I stumbled upon while harvesting firewood.
The next day I headed off down the trail to Lake Superior which was where I would set my camp up for that evening. The hiking was fantastic, I did get turned around once where I ended up on the NCT which also passes through the park, but I quickly realized my error and only had to backtrack about a half mile, if even that. That day I crossed a small creek and a river and climbed and descended many hills (calling them hills for lack of a better word) I came across other campers and hikers who were all rather friendly and even was able to strike up a conversation with a few of them. I reached the lake around 2:30 or 3:00 after about 5 hours of hiking and began to set my camp up.
Sleeping next to the lake was rather peaceful as I listened to the waves roll up on the shore, however for being Mid-June, the temperature dipped really low, and I actually woke up shivering in the middle of the night because I was so cold. But I layered up, and went back to bed.
The next day it began to rain, and I decided to just hike out that day instead of having to deal with the rain. I should have stayed because the last night there I was planning on staying on top of one of the ridges that overlooked carp river, and it was a beautiful sight to see. I would recommend this hike to anyone, and am planning to return back there this summer (2018).

backpacking
9 months ago

This is a great loop. Walking along the lake give awesome opportunities for photos and rest spots where you can dip your feet in the water.

hiking
2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

9 months ago