Nature January 06, 2018
The 9 Best State Parks In Michigan For All-Season Hiking
Who says hiking is reserved only for the summer months? Michigan is overflowing with gorgeous natural places to explore, and many of these locales include beautiful trails that lend themselves perfectly to outdoor adventures. When you’re ready to head outside, here are nine state parks in Michigan that offer hiking opportunities 365 days per year.
During these uncertain times, please keep safety in mind and consider adding destinations to your bucket list to visit at a later date.
1. Tahquamenon Falls State Park (Paradise)
Tahquamenon Falls is one of Michigan’s most breathtaking natural destinations, no matter what the season. When you arrive at this park, you’ll enjoy a short but stunning journey from the parking area to the falls themselves, which come to life with color during autumn and glimmer with snowy sparkles during the winter months. This is the perfect spot to reconnect with the great outdoors.
2. Hartwick Pines State Park (Grayling)
Located in Grayling, this gorgeous state park contains 10,000 acres of marvelous forested wonder to explore, and you’ll find some of Michigan’s most wonderful natural sights here. Explore the visitor center, which remains open year-round, to learn about the area’s history before venturing out on a delightful hike.
3. Ludington State Park (Ludington)
Situated along the shores of Lake Michigan, Ludington State Park is especially popular during summer months, when its beach and campgrounds come to life with tourists and Michiganders alike. The park features eight separate hiking trails, which remain open year-round to provide opportunities for hiking, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing.
4. Saugatuck Dunes State Park (Saugatuck)
The trail network at Saugatuck Dunes is separated into three distinct loops, totaling approximately 14 miles of hiking paths in all. No matter what the season, you’ll enjoy overlooks of Lake Michigan, strolls along sandy bluffs, and a peaceful atmosphere. Whether it’s 70 degrees outside or 7, this park will delight you.
5. Muskegon State Park (Muskegon)
With over ten miles of trails to explore, Muskegon State Park is a fantastic locale for year-round exploration. Lace up your hiking boots, bring out those cross-country skis, or simply prepare for a leisurely stroll through the wilderness that makes this area so beautiful. In winter, spring, summer, or fall, this park delivers.
6. Van Buren Trail State Park (South Haven)
If you’re a fan of wildlife, you’ll absolutely adore Van Buren Trail State Park. This rail-trail path stretches on for 14 miles and is nothing short of stunning, particularly during the gorgeous winter months. That said, you’ll enjoy catching views of deer, birds, fox, and so much more at Van Buren throughout all four seasons.
7. Port Crescent State Park (Port Austin)
If you’re seeking a short and sweet trail that won’t completely wear you out, venture to Port Crescent State Park. The park features a nearly 2-mile loop trail that attracts visitors throughout the year. Following your hike, catch gorgeous views of Lake Huron’s Saginaw Bay and bask in the area’s peaceful surroundings.
8. Maybury State Park (Northville)
As if its series of lovely trails weren’t enough, Maybury State Park also features an on-site farm center for visitors of all ages. Slide along the slippery landscape in a pair of cross-country skis, enjoy the park on horseback or via bicycle, or simply stroll through its 944 acres of magical forest. What's not to love?
9. Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park (Ontonagon)
You’ll have to venture to the far reaches of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula to appreciate this stunning state park, but its views are so worth the journey. With all-season options for camping, hiking (over 90 miles in total!), and all sorts of sightseeing, the Porcupine Mountains are endlessly fascinating.
Tell us, Michiganders: have you visited any of these breathtaking locations in the Great Lakes State? Are there any other fantastic four-season state parks that make for amazing hiking destinations? We’d love to hear your thoughts and suggestions in the comment section.