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Close to 42 miles of Lake Superior coast and 200-foot sandstone cliffs.


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Map Key

43.3

Miles

69.7

KM

Point to Point

915' 279 m

High

602' 184 m

Low

3,522' 1,074 m

Up

3,629' 1,106 m

Down

3%

Avg Grade (2°)

37%

Max Grade (20°)

Dogs No Dogs

Features Fall Colors · Geological Significance · Lake · River/Creek · Swimming · Views · Waterfall

Overview

A self supported adventure which, if you're runnign it, will draw looks and awe from backpackers that complete this trail over several days.

Need to Know

Recommend parking at the Munising Falls visitor center at the west end of the park then taking the earliest Altran shuttle to the Grand Sable Visitor Center at the east end of the park. Take the earliest shuttle possible otherwise a bad day on the trail will have you running in the dark. Water and bathrooms are available at the campgrounds and Miners Castle Overlook. DEET spray may be necessary for mosquitos and black flies.

Description

This section of the North Country Trail (NCT) can be done in either direction but taking the shuttle from the Munising Falls visitor center at the west end to the Grand Sable visitor center on the east end of the park sets you up for a spectacular second half of the hike. This hike requires a full commitment once stepping off the shuttle requiring close to 42 miles of trail running or hiking with very little road access in between.

Starting at the Grand Sable visitor center, a short 2-mile out-and-back northeast to Sable Falls can be added. Otherwise start heading west towards Grand Sable Lake. This first 5+ mile section is heavily wooded and reasonably flat after which you reach the Log Slide, a 500-foot dune above Lake Superior. Be careful if you head down, the climb back up is steep, luckily the NCT stays on the top. This is the first time you'll see the great lake.

At mile 8 is the Au Sable lighthouse with an available bathroom. The next 13 miles are relatively flat with water and bathrooms available at Hurricane River CG and Twelve Mile Beach CG. At mile 10 the trail crosses road H-58 then drops back to the lakeshore 1.5 miles later at the campground. Starting at mile 21 you'll cross Beaver Creek and the trail goes up along the 200-foot sandstone cliffs that Pictured Rocks is know for. Watch for bald eagles over Lake Superior.

Spray Falls is at mile 24 and Chapel Rock, beach and falls are at mile 26. Enjoy the views as the trail heads northwest to Grand Portal Point after which the trail slowly descends down to Mosquito Beach. An optional 4 mile wooded loop heading inland leads to Mosquito Falls otherwise stay on the NCT. Mile 33 is the start of Miners Beach and some civilization again. At the west end of the beach, the trail gets a little confusing but once you hit Miners River, head inland until the trail crosses a bridge over the river. A steep climb puts you at Miners Castle Overlook. Water and bathrooms are available here.

West of Miners castle the trail heads into the woods and can become quite muddy and flooded. The NPS has been adding boardwalk sections through the worse parts of the trail but the up and down onto these walks can be a strain on tired legs. At mile 38.5 stay on the NCT, do not go right down to Sand Point. The last two miles head inland away from the lake but eventually you'll drop down to Munising Falls visitor center.

Contacts

Shared By:

Joel Nemes

Trail Ratings

  5.0 from 1 vote

#2254

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Photos

Big Star Cove
May 21, 2024 near Munising, MI
Chapel Rock is equally if not more beautiful in the winter.
Mar 10, 2017 near Munising, MI
Grand Portal Point, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
Jul 20, 2016 near Munising, MI
Mosquito Beach looking north.
Sep 14, 2022 near Munising, MI
Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Munising - Hike into this location and cleared the tree line to to see this glorious view.
Apr 7, 2020 near Munising, MI
Pictured Rocks
Jul 20, 2016 near Munising, MI

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