Day Hikes at Pictured Rocks

Hiker in Beaver Basin
Summer hiking in the Beaver Basin

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A few people enjoying a sunny day at Miners Beach
Miners Beach is a very scenic place to walk. It's nearly a mile from one end to the other.

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Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore offers 100 miles of hiking trails leading to waterfalls, beaches, forest wilderness, cultural sites, and breathtaking cliff-top views of Lake Superior. Whether you have only a few minutes, hours, or days to see a portion of the lakeshore, one of these hikes may be for you.

Check at a visitor center for current trail conditions. Where allowed, pets must be on a leash no longer than 6 feet. Bicycles are prohibited on all park trails.

Walks Of One Mile Or Less

Sand Point Marsh Trail - Length: 0.5 mile loop. Located across from Sand Point Beach, this boardwalk trail takes you through one of the park's most beautiful wetlands. Old beach ridges, a cattail marsh, small ponds, and white cedar and black spruce swamp communities dominate the scene. The best times for wildlife activity are early or late in the day. This trail is wheelchair-accessible. Pets not allowed.

Munising Falls - Length: 800 feet one way. Walk this paved trail up the cool, shaded sandstone canyon along Munising Creek to the main viewing platform to see the 50-foot waterfall. (This is also a lovely trail in winter.) Two sets of stairs lead to elevated platforms that offer different views of the water as it drops over a sandstone cliff. Please stay on the paved trail. Going into or behind the falls is dangerous and is prohibited. The central viewing platform is wheelchair-accessible. Leashed pets allowed on trail and platforms.

Miners Castle Overlook - Length varies: 200 to 1300 feet one way. This is the most popular spot in the park. Miners Castle can be viewed from 3 different viewing platforms. The two upper viewing areas are wheelchair-accessible and are a short distance from the parking lot. The walk to the lower platform includes stairs and steep inclines. Leashed pets are allowed on paved (not dirt) trails, at viewing platforms, and in the picnic area.

Superior Overlook - Length: 50 feet roundtrip. Offers a beautiful view of Lake Superior and stairway access to a beach. The overlook is wheelchair-accessible. Leashed pets allowed.

Log Slide Overlook Trail - Length: 0.25 mile roundtrip. This short trail leads through mature hardwoods to the western edge of the Grand Sable Dunes where logs once slid down to the lake in a wooden chute. The popular overlook platform was destroyed in a winter storm several years ago but the path to the platform location is still there. You'll be rewarded with breathtaking views of Lake Superior, the Grand Sable Dunes, and Au Sable Lighthouse in the distance. Pets not allowed.

Grand Sable Dunes Trail - Length: 0.6 mile roundtrip. This is the main access point into the Grand Sable Dunes. The trail starts at the Sable Falls parking area near the top of the falls, continues past an old field, and crosses a bridge over Sable Creek. It then winds through a jack pine forest gradually uphill into an open dune environment. Requires some uphill climbing in sand. Pets not allowed.

Sable Falls Trail - Length: 0.5 mile roundtrip. From the Sable Falls parking lot, this trail starts with 168 steps down to the base of the falls and and continues past the falls along Sable Creek to a rock/sand beach on Lake Superior. The first landing on the stairs provides a view of Sable Falls, although the best view is from the bottom. Leashed pets are allowed on stairs and trail out to the beach.

Little Beaver Nature Trail - Length 1.0 mile loop. This trail begins at the Little Beaver Lake Campground. Please park at the day use lot just uphill from the campground. The trail includes a stand of 250-300 year old white pines. On a warm summer day, enjoy the cool moist microclimate of this area. Pets not allowed.
 
A group of backpackers on the North Country Trail standing on trail in forest
Backpackers on a section of the North Country Trail in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.

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Longer Hikes

Miners Falls Trail - Length: 1.2 miles roundtrip. This easy trail takes you through the forest to Miners River, where the park's most powerful waterfall cascades 50 feet over a sandstone cliff. Take another 64 steps down to a lower platform. Leashed pets allowed.

Miners Castle to Miners Beach - Length: 2 miles roundtrip. Take the trail from Miners Castle downhill to Miners Beach, crossing the Miners River along the way. Enjoy the beach and then hike back up - or shorten the walk by having a friend pick you up in the Miners Beach west end parking lot. No pets allowed on the trail. (However pets are allowed at Miners Castle and at Miners Beach - just not on the trail between the two.)

Grand Sable Forest Trail - Length: 2.0 miles roundtrip. Pretty walk between the Grand Sable Visitor Center and the Sable Falls parking lot. The trail offers a stroll through a mature maple forest, along Sable Creek, and through an old farm field. Also intersects the Grand Sable Dunes Trail. Pets not allowed.

Au Sable Light Station - Length: 3.0 miles roundtrip. Leaving from Hurricane River Campground, walk on the old access road (part of the North Country Scenic Trail) back in time to an isolated Lake Superior lighthouse. Exposed shipwreck remains dot the shoreline, and the quiet light station gives you a feeling of yesteryear where families lived and worked from 1874 to 1958. Guided tours of the lighthouse are provided in summer. Leashed pets allowed on road and light station grounds. Bicycles are NOT allowed on this road.

White Birch Trail - Length: 2.0 miles. Self-guided interpretive trail at Twelvemile Beach Campground explores the natural history of the uplands adjacent to the lake - an environment very different from that near the campground. Non-campers park at the day-use area and walk through the campground to Site 6, where trail begins. The trail will end on the campground road, one-quarter mile east of the trailhead. Leashed pets allowed.


Chapel Basin / Mosquito Area - A number of different trails and hikes are available here. All hikes begin at the Chapel/Mosquito trailhead parking lot, at the end of Chapel Road. View and download this map before you hike these trails. NO PETS allowed on any of the trails or beaches in this area. Note: Primitive road to trailhead parking with deep pot holes and washouts. LIMITED PARKING AT TRAILHEAD - plan to arrive early in the day.

  • Mosquito Falls - Length: 2 miles roundtrip. From the Chapel parking lot, head towards Mosquito Beach. At 0.3 miles take a side trail that leads 0.7 miles to Mosquito Falls. The Mosquito River cascades in short falls over three rock shelves, the highest being 8 feet. Pets not allowed.

  • Chapel Falls - Length: 2.5 miles roundtrip. Leaving from the Chapel parking lot, this easy hike runs along an old roadbed through upland maple forest to stunning, 60-foot high Chapel Falls. Pets not allowed.

  • Mosquito Beach - Length: 3.9 miles roundtrip straight out and back; 4.5 miles via loop back past Mosquito Falls. Trail is usually very muddy and rough. Follow the trail from the Chapel parking lot through lowland hemlock and mixed forest to Mosquito Beach. This beautiful beach is bordered by stunning rock cliffs and sandstone terraces. Return on same trail or continue on loop and return past Mosquito Falls. Pets not allowed.

  • Chapel Rock & Chapel Beach - Length: 6.2 miles roundtrip (from parking lot). Trail passes Chapel Falls and continues to Chapel Rock and Chapel Beach. Take pictures, but keep off Chapel Rock. Return the way you came or make a loop by taking the forest trail back along the north/west side of Chapel Lake. Pets not allowed.

  • Chapel Loop - Length: Full loop, including Mosquito Falls, is 10 miles from the parking lot (longer from the road). This popular loop begins at the Chapel parking lot, passes Chapel Falls, Chapel Rock, Chapel Beach and continues along the Pictured Rocks cliffs to Mosquito River and Beach, and back to the parking lot on the outer loop trail past Mosquito Falls. Pets not allowed. Note: Walk carefully along this cliff edge!

Beaver Basin Wilderness - Several hikes can be made in the Beaver Lake area leaving from the trailhead parking lot at the end of Little Beaver Road. Pets not allowed.

  • Beaver Basin Wilderness Loop - Length: 5.5 mile loop. Enjoy this scenic and diverse hike through several forest types, around the north side of Beaver Lake, along Beaver Creek, and back along Lake Superior. Pets not allowed.


North Country Scenic Trail segments (formerly called the Lakeshore Trail) - Length: Up to 42 miles (through the park). In addition to some of the trails listed above, there are many other North Country Scenic Trail segments in the park, like Miners Castle to Sand Point, or Log Slide to Au Sable Light Station. Check at a visitor center for more information. No pets allowed on this trail except in areas mentioned above.
 

Open Transcript

Transcript

Excuse me sir, can I ask you a question? What are those!? Have you ever seen one of these things at the beginning of a trail when you go for a hike? Do you walk right past it? Or do you use it? Do you see it but not use it because you don't know how or why it's even there? It's called a boot brush, but i like to call it "The Invasion Annihilation Station". Invasion Annihilation Station!? Yes! The seeds and eggs from invasive species can hide in the dirt on your shoes, and this brush helps stop them from getting into the park. These invasive species are plants or animals from other places that do not belong in the area that you're visiting and cause harm to the environment. Like garlic mustard, forget-me-nots, or spotted knapweed. Here, in the Great Lakes region invasive species like the gypsy moth and emerald ash borer wreak havoc on our forests. Together, they've killed millions of trees across the U.S. and caused billions of dollars in damage. Think about what trees provide for humans. Is that worth losing? Invasive species take over and hurt not only the forests but the lakes, rivers, animals, and humans too! Imagine there's someone who eats all your food, messes up your house, and takes away your heat or air conditioning all the time. That's what these invasive species are doing to the native plants and animals in nature. To help stop the spread of invasive species use a boot brush like this, whenever they're available or bring your own. But what if there isn't a boot brush at the beginning or end of a trail? Consider using these techniques, stomp your feet in the parking lot, clap your shoes together, and brush yourself off after a hike.

Use the boot brush before and after hiking to be sure you aren't bringing unwanted hitchhikers with you. If you use a walking stick clean that too. If you're camping, shake out your tent and clean the dirt off the stakes. If you have a pet with you, comb their fur free of seeds before leaving an area. By using these methods, you can help stop the spread of invasive species and give the native plants and animals a better chance at survival. Otherwise these beautiful places won't stay as pretty and instead of saying "look what the cat dragged in" the plants and animals will say "Ugh, look what the humans dragged in!"

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Duration:
2 minutes, 46 seconds

What are invasive species and why are they harmful? What’s a boot brush and why should you use it? Find out in this funny video with Ranger Kristina. Great for all ages and anyone who wants to learn more about the importance of leaving no trace.

 

Things To Know

BE SAFE! BE PREPARED! No matter what length, any hike is more fun if you are properly prepared.

  • If you plan to be out an extended time, let someone know where you are going and your expected time of return.
  • Bring enough food and water.
  • Have a map (consider taking a picture of a map posted at some trailheads), compass, or GPS, and know how to use them.
  • Be careful on the cliffs and stay back from edges. Watch for loose soil, tripping hazards and undercut rock. Do not leave established trails to walk out to cliff edges!! Recent rock falls are a reminder that cliff edges can be unstable.
  • Please stay off Miners Castle and Chapel Rock. No jumping off cliffs.
  • Lake Superior affects the local weather - be prepared for fast changes, including cool conditions and rain.
  • Insects such as black flies, mosquitoes, and biting stable flies may be a nuisance between late May and September. Stable flies can be relentless and aggressive along the shore on hot, humid summer days with a south wind. Insect repellent does NOT work on them and they can make your hike a misery. They target hiker legs and ankles, so put some long, loose-fitting pants and thick socks in your day pack in case you need them.
  • Pets are permitted only in specific areas. Please check the pets page before you plan your hike.
  • Bicycles are not permitted on any trails.
  • Visitors may not launch, land, or operate drones within park boundaries.
  • Backcountry permits are required only if you plan to camp overnight in the backcountry.
  • Practice Leave No Trace principles.
  • Please use toilets where provided. There are few toilets available on long hikes in the backcountry. Bring a small hand trowel, bury waste 6-8 nches deep and cover with soil. Pack out used toilet paper.
  • Bring a bag and carry out your trash - including all food items like orange peels and sunflower seeds.
  • Wear bright colors when hiking in hunting season.
 
More Information:

Find trails on the Park Map (web page)
Waterfalls (web page)

Information on Backcountry Camping (web page)
Leave No Trace (web page)
Invasive Species (web page)

Last updated: November 29, 2022

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 40
Munising , MI 49862

Phone:

906-387-3700
Munising Falls Visitor Center

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