Day Hikes at Pictured Rocks

Hiker in Beaver Basin
Summer hiking in the Beaver Basin
 
A few people enjoying a sunny day at Miners Beach
People enjoying a summer day at Miners Beach.

NPS

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, dogs/pets must be on a leash no longer than 6 feet. Bicycles are prohibited on 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. Wheelchair accessible. No pets.

Munising Falls - Length: 800 feet one way. Walk this paved trail up the cool, shaded sandstone canyon along Munising Creek to the central viewing platform to view the 50-foot waterfall. 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. Pets allowed on trail and stairs. (This is a lovely trail in winter.)

Miners Castle Overlook - Length varies: 200 to 1300 feet one way. This is the most popular spot in the park. A short walk from the Miners Castle parking lot, Miners Castle can be viewed from 3 different viewing platforms. The two upper platforms are wheelchair accessible. Pets are allowed on paved (not dirt) trails in this area, and viewing platforms.

White Pine Trail - Length: 0.7 mile loop. Begins at the Little Beaver Lake 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. Watch your step - trail has some steep erosion in one place. No pets.

Superior Overlook - Length: 50 feet round trip. Offers a beautiful view of Lake Superior and easy access to a beach. The overlook is wheelchair accessible. Pets allowed.

Twelvemile Beach - Access via stairs at campground day-use parking area. Pets allowed.

Log Slide Overlook Trail - Length: 0.4 mile round trip. This short trail leads through mature hardwoods to the western edge of the Grand Sable Dunes where logs once slid down to the lake. The popular overlook platform was destroyed in a winter storm but if you make a short climb up the sand dune at the end of the trail, you'll be rewarded with breathtaking views of Lake Superior, the Grand Sable Dunes, and Au Sable Lighthouse in the distance. Pets allowed.

Grand Sable Dunes Trail - Length: 0.8 mile round trip. This is the main access point into the Grand Sable Dunes. The trail starts at the west end of the Sable Falls parking area, continues past an old apple orchard and crosses a bridge over Sable Creek. It then winds uphill through jack pines into an open dune environment. Some uphill climbing in sand. Pets allowed.

Sable Falls Trail – Length: 0.6 mile round trip. 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 beach on Lake Superior. The first landing on the stairs provides a view of Sable Falls, although the best view is from the bottom. Pets allowed on trail and stairs.
 
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.

NPS

Hikes Over One Mile

Miners Falls Trail - Length: 1.2 miles round trip. 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. Pets allowed.

Miners Castle to Miners Beach - Length: 2 miles round trip. 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 parking lot. No pets allowed on the trail.

Chapel Basin / Mosquito Area - Length: Varies, 2 to 10 miles round trip. 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. Consult a map before you hike these trails. No pets allowed on any of the trails in this area.
  • Chapel Falls - Length: 2.5 miles round trip. 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. No pets.
  • Chapel Rock & Chapel Beach - Length: 6.2 miles round trip (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. No pets.
  • Chapel Loop - Length: Full loop, including Mosquito Falls, is 10 miles. 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. No pets. Note: The portion of this loop between Chapel Beach and Mosquito Beach is the only trail section in the park where the spectacular cliffs can be seen from land. Walk carefully along this cliff edge!
  • Mosquito Falls - Length: 2 miles round trip. 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. No pets.
  • Mosquito Beach - Length: 3.9 miles round trip straight out and back; 4.5 miles via loop back past Mosquito Falls. 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. Note: This trail is often muddy. No pets.
Beaver Basin Wilderness - Length: Varies, 3.2 miles to 5.5 miles round trip. Several hikes can be made in the Beaver Lake area leaving from the trailhead parking lot at the end of Little Beaver Road. This is a beautiful area with potential for wildlife sightings near the water. No pets.
  • Lake Superior - Length: 3.2 miles round trip. Very pretty hike through a variety of wet and dry forest habitats to Lake Superior and back. No pets.
  • 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. No pets.
White Birch Trail - Length: 2.0 miles. Self-guided interpretive trail begins at the east end of Twelvemile Beach Campground and ends on the campground road, one-quarter mile east of the trailhead. The trail explores the natural history of the uplands adjacent to the lake - an environment very different from that near the campground. Pets allowed.

Au Sable Light Station - Length: 3.0 miles round trip. Leaving from Hurricane River Campground, walk on the old access road 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. Pets allowed on road and light station grounds. Reminder: No bicycles.

Grand Sable Forest Trail - Length: 2.0 miles round trip. Nice walk between the Grand Sable Visitor Center and the Sable Falls parking lot. The trail offers a stroll through a maple forest and along the edge of old farm fields. Pets allowed.

North Country Scenic Trail segments (Used to be 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 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.
 
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 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. Many areas are composed of soft rock and are undercut..
  • 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 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.
  • Drones are not permitted anywhere in the park.
  • Backcountry permits are required only if you plan to camp overnight in the backcountry.
  • Practice Leave No Trace.
  • Please use toilets where provided. Otherwise, bury waste 6-8 nches deep and cover with soil.
  • 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.
 
 

Last updated: July 14, 2019

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 40
Munising, MI 49862

Phone:

(906) 387-3700

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