Hiawatha National Forest
Hiawatha offers many great hiking opportunities. The Bay de Noc-Grand Island Trail connects Lake Michigan and Superior. The route was traditionally used by the Noquet Indians traveling north to trade furs on Grand Island. This 40-mile trail has also become popular with dog sledders in winter. The North Country Trail is a National Scenic Trail which, when completed, will extend 3,200 miles through seven U.S. states from New York to North Dakota and will be the longest continuous foot path in the United States. If you want a quiet, unstructured amble through the last stand of the original forest, Squaw Creek Old Growth Area stands as a testament to magnificence of the ancient forest.
The Bay de Noc-Grand Island Trail: 40 miles. Follows an old Chippewa portage route. Great views across the Whitefish River valley.
Au Train Songbird Hiking Trail: Special interpretative trail to learn birds through their songs.
Bruno's Run Hiking Trail: 7.25 miles (11.7-km). Winds past a host of small lakes etched in a relatively new glacial plain.
North Country Trail (Munising Segment): 9 miles. Part of the National Scenic Trail that will go from New York State to North Dakota. Scenic ridgetop views, open meadows, and woodland ponds.
Pine Marten Run Trail: 26-mile system. Five loop trails passing through several vegetative communities as trails meander past lakes and streams, gently rolling hills, bogs, and wildlife openings.
Scott's Marsh Trail: 1.5 miles. Delicate wetlands with lots of wildlife.
Bay de Noc-Grand Island Trail
The Bay de Noc-Grand Island Trail begins from a point 2 1/4 miles east of the town of Rapid River and one mile north of U.S. Highway 2 and extends northward for approximately 40 miles terminating at its intersection with State Highway 94 at Ackerman Lake. The three main trail heads are:
Access A: Two miles east of Rapid River on U.S. 2. Turn left onto County Road 509 and travel 1.5 miles north. Parking lot is on west side of road. Trail goes north 22 miles to Access B.
Access B: Two miles east of Rapid River on U.S. 2. Turn left onto County Road 509 and travel 16 miles north. Parking lot is on east side of road. Trail goes north 18 miles to Access C.
Access C: Ten miles southwest of Munising on M-94. Parking lot is on north side of road opposite Ackerman Lake.
The Bay de Noc-Grand Island Trail parallels the Whitefish River, staying from 1/2 to 2 miles east of the river. The trail follows the approximate location of an ancient Chippewa Indian portage route used to carry canoes and supplies between Lake Superior and Lake Michigan. Following the river bluff for a considerable distance, it offers the hiker many extended views to the west across the Whitefish River valley.
The southern 1/4 of the trail winds along through jack pine, red pine, and aspen timber, interspersed with grassy openings. The terrain is fairly level, broken only by an occasional stream crossing. As the trail stretches northward through the maple, paper birch, and beech forest, the hiker encounters the typical glacial terrain characterized by short rounded hills scattered in random fashion. These hilly stretches are occasionally separated by one to five mile stretches of flat land supporting pine and aspen timber.
Other associated recreation facilities include numerous primitive access roads leading from County Road 509 to the trail. There are also three large assembly areas for horses and hikers that consist of a parking lot, tethering area, water well, and vault toilets. One such area is located at the south trailhead, one at the Alger-Delta County line, and one along the north side of Highway 94. These areas are also suitable for camping. The middle assembly area is better suited for camping than the others because of its large space and quiet location off of County Road 509. While water is available at the parking areas, it is suggested that you carry a drinking water supply with you. In order to be safe, all drinking water should be boiled or disinfected with Halazone.
Au Train Songbird Hiking Trail
The Au Train Songbird Trail Offers a new way to identify birds. There are all sorts of guides out there for telling one bird from another, but now you can learn them by their songs. It seems like the birds are talking to you when you walk the trail.
The best time to hear the woodland concert is in the morning when the birds are most active, but you can walk the trail any time of the day. You can rent a kit that contains a guidebook, a tape and tape player, and binoculars. Play the tape and you will be guided through the trail while listening to the 20 birds it features. Many of the birds will even sing along. The kits can be picked up at the A & L Grocery, the Au Train Grocery, or the Friends & Food Restaurant right in Au Train. From atop the new observation platform (located near the trailhead) overlooking Buck Bay, you can see ducks, shorebirds, and perhaps even an eagle or osprey.
To find the trail, head south on H-03 (Forest Lake Rd.) from M-28. Travel through the village of Au Train for 4.5 miles and turn east onto FR 2276. You will see a Hiawatha National Forest Recreation Area sign at this intersection. Go 0.5 mile to the next sign and turn left (stay on the pavement) until you enter the campground. Take the first campground loop to the right and you will find the trailhead near campsite #11.
Bruno's Run Hiking Trail
The Bruno's Run Trail offers a 7.25 mile (11.7-km) loop ideal for hiking in spring, summer, and fall and for snowshoeing in winter. Although the trail is not groomed in winter for cross-country skiing, it does offer a suitable course for experienced skiers who prefer to break their own way. Located about 11 miles south of M-28 and the community of Wetmore, the trail may be reached from the north or the south via Forest Highway 13.
Bruno's Run Trail may be accessed form both the Widewaters and Pete's Lake campgrounds as well as from Forest Highway 13 at Moccasin lake and Forest Road 2173 at Grassy Lake. Limited parking is available at each site. Winding its way past a host of small lakes etched in this relatively new glacial plain, the trail takes hikers, snowshoers, and skiers over gently rolling country. Farther along, the trail runs over foothills, along overlooks, and through valleys.
The many lakes and streams in the area and its variety of trees and other plants make it likely that those traveling the trail will spot wildlife or signs of their comings and goings. If you are alert, you are sure to have an enjoyable outing. Permits are not required for camping along the trail or for campfires.
The Trail Segments:
Moccasin Lake to Pete's Lake Campground: 1.36 miles/2.2 km. Beginning at a scenic point overlooking Moccasin Lake, the trail moves east from Forest Highway 13 to the campground north of Pete's Lake.
Pete's Lake to McKeever Lake: 1.35 miles/2.2 km. The trail winds between Pete's Lake and Grassy Lake, generally following a route parallel to Forest Road.
McKeever Lake to Forest Road 2258: 2.06 miles/3.28 km. A small bridge allows crossing of a stream south of McKeever Lake. Rolling hills on the western part of this segment provide some of the most scenic terrain on the trail. Dipper Lake and Wedge Lake may be viewed from overlooks along the way.
Forest Road 2258 to Widewaters Campground: 1.41 miles/2.3 km. After crossing Forest Highway 13 and the Indian River, the trail runs northwest to Fish Lake, where a bridge provides a stream crossing near the campground.
Widewaters Campground to Moccasin Lake: 1.12 miles/1.7 km. This short segment includes rolling country that travels over an old logging grade and through a dense stand of mature hemlock called the "Hemlock Cathedral." The round-trip ends at the trail access point at Moccasin Lake.
North Country Trail - Munising Segment
The North Country Trail is a National Scenic Trail, which, when completed, will extend from New York State to North Dakota. Approximately nine miles of completed trail lies in the Munising District of the Hiawatha National Forest and leads you through a cross-section of vast northern hardwoods and coniferous forests, scenic rivers and rocky hilltops, old homesteads, and mining sites. Along the way, you'll see a delightful variety of wildlife.
This segment of the trail connects with the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore section of the North Country Trail. The route winds through the city of Munising. Leaving the roadway, the trail enters the Hiawatha National Forest. Leading through hardwood and mixed forests, this rolling trail offers scenic ridgetop views, open meadows, and woodland ponds.
The 90 miles of trail within the Hiawatha National Forest Trail completion across our district is expected in the near future. A proposed route would lead through scenic Rock River Canyon Wilderness Area. Presently a connector trail hooks in just to Buck Bay Creek area. The connection leads south three miles to Bay de Noc-Grand Island trailhead at Ackerman Lake. This trail stretches 40 miles south to Rapid River, offering an interesting hiking option.
Washington St. to M-94: 5 miles. This segment follows existing roads through the community of Munising. The Pictured Rock section ends at Munising Fall Interpretive Center.
M-94 to Valley Spur Trailhead: miles. Climbing into a northern hardwood forest, this section levels to gently sloping terrain. A cross-country ski trail network bisects the main trail, so close attention to North Country signs is necessary. The trail runs parallel to Valley Spur Creek and offers excellent trout fishing in the pond. Pine marten and white-tailed deer can be seen by an observant hiker.
Valley Spur Trailhead to FR 2276 trail junction: 1.5 miles. After crossing Valley Spur Creek, the trial climbs to a northern hardwood forest featuring Maple, Beech, and Cherry. Ridgeline travel offers an enjoyable view of the surrounding hills. Leaving the ridge, the trail meanders through a series of small meadows before entering a Red Pine Grove. The trail then re-enters a larger series of meadows, which offers some of the best strawberry picking in the area.
FR 2276 trail junction to FR 2274: 2.5 miles. The trail winds down to cross between two beautiful woodland ponds.
FR 2274 to FR 2482: 2.5 miles. The AuTrain Site was occupied by the CCCs from 1935-1941 and later used as a German prisoner of war camp during World War II. The trail runs through an open meadow where the camp used to exist; building foundations can still be seen. Traveling west the hiker will pass through black bear habitat that offers gently sloping terrain. Another point of interest is Buck Bay Creek, a main feeder trout stream at the end of this segment. Crossing a bridge over the creek, hiking can continue on a connector trail to AuTrain Campground two miles to the north.
Pine Marten Run Trail
Pine Marten Run is a 26-mile system of hiking and horse-back riding trails located in the Ironjaw Semi-Primitive Area approximately 30 miles northwest of Manistique in Schoolcraft County, Michigan.
Accessible from County Roads 440 and 437 and Forest Road 2258, Pine Marten Run is composed of five loop trails with interconnecting spurs. The trails pass through a wide variety of vegetative communities as they meander past lakes and streams, gently rolling hills, bogs, and wildlife openings.
Parking areas suitable for vehicles with horse trailers are available at each trailhead. And Adirondack shelters, with fire rings, have been constructed at Rim Lake, Rumble Lake, and along the Indian River. Water and toilet facilities are available at the C.R. 440 trailhead, while the others only have toilet facilities.
Camping is permitted throughout the area, however, permits are required for camping on Swan Lake, Triangle Lake, Ironjaw Lake, and Lake Nineteen. These permits may be obtained at the office of the District Ranger at Manistique, Munising, or Rapid River.
Rumble Lake: 4.3 miles long with access from FR 2258 just south of the Indian River bridge. This segment crosses through the Mike White Sharptail Grouse Management Area as it traverses rolling hills of beech, birch, and maple and loops around Dinner and Sprinkler Lakes. A short spur trail provides access to Rumble Lake. Approximately one mile of this loop is open to motorized vehicles, so users should exercise caution.
Swan Lake: 3.8 miles long with access from FR 2258 just north of the intersection with County Road 440. This segment circles Swan Lake, which is a popular permit camping lake. The terrain in this area is fairly level and is composed of pine plantations interspersed with hardwoods and hemlocks. Portions of this loop are also open to motorized vehicles.
Ironjaw Lake: 4 miles long and located in the center of the Ironjaw Area, this segment can be accessed from all the other loops except Triangle Lake. It can also be reached via FR 2733, which is the access road to the permit campsites on Ironjaw Lake and Lake Nineteen. This loop provides a scenic vista of Verdant and Ironjaw Lakes.
Spud Lake: 6.4 miles long, this loop can be accessed just north or CR 440 where it intersects with FR 2726. Traversing the central portion of the Ironjaw Semi-Primitive Area, it circles Spud Lake at the north end. This loop presents a wide variety of vegetative types, topography, plant communities, and wildlife viewing opportunities.
Triangle Lake: 7.2 miles long with access from FR 437 just south of the Indian River bridge. This is the longest segment in the system. Traversing cedar swamps and hardwood ridges, approximately one mile of this segment parallels the Indian River and active beaver communities before it forks. The south fork leads to the Triangle Lake permit camping sites. The north fork leads to the interior of the Ironjaw Semi-Primitive Area and eventually completes the loop around Triangle Lake.
Scott's Marsh Trail
The Scotts Marsh Trail offers a unique opportunity for avid naturalists. Look for blue diamonds marking the trail beginning at either of the two trailheads shown on the trail map. The trail directs users to a dike area that presents excellent wildlife habitat.The environment in this area is extremely sensitive and fragile. Please stay on the trail and tread lightly.
- Be aware of changing weather conditions and fatigue. Use the "buddy system."
- Biting and stinging insects can be unpleasant. Bring along some insect repellent.
- Please leave the trail free of litter and other evidence of human use.
- Riders must tether their horses at least 100 feet from the edge of any lake or stream.
- At campsites, temporary hitch rails must be dismantled and manure piles scattered.
- Generally, these are multiple-use trails. Be cautious of vehicles and courteous to other users.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication