Porcupine Mountain Trails
Lake Superior looking at the Porcupine Mountains

Porcupine Mountains

With 19 different trails with a length of over 90 miles crisscross the park allowing people many different hiking experiences, from short scenic hikes to very challenging long treks over difficult terrain. Many of the trails intersect one another, so it is possible to go from one trail to another.  The map above is divided into East, Middle, and West to help hikers better plan their hiking adventures and to allow for careful planning of your camping experience.  Please note on the maps that all campgrounds are also marked but it is not necessary to camp at the designated campgrounds as long as you follow the 1/4 mile rule.

Porcupine Mountains Trails and Campgrounds

LAKE SUPERIOR TRAIL

This trail, longest in the park, follows the rocky shore of Lake Superior and affords many outstanding views. Rugged and remote this trail is among the park's most challenging.

Presque Isle River to Speakers Creek:................2 miles

Speakers Creek to mouth of Little Carp River:....4 miles

Hiking Trail in the Porcupine Mountains

Little Carp River mouth to mouth of Big Carp River.. 1mile

Big Carp River mouth to LoneRock:......................5 miles

Lone Rock to M-107:  5.5 miles

Total trail length...................................................16 miles

Pinkerton Trail

The Pinkerton Trail leads through impressive stands of virgin hemlock to the mouths of the Big and Little Carp Rivers.

South Boundary Road to mouth of Little Carp River.......3 miles

Little Carp River Trail

Canoeing on Lake of the Clouds

The Little Carp River Trail is among the most scenic in the park. The turbulent rapids and inspiring waterfalls of the Little Carp River, and the serene beauty of magnificent timber makes this a trip to remember. Brook trout fishing is found along the length of the Little Carp River.

Mirror Lake to Lily Pond....................................................2.5miles

Lily Pond to Cross Trail Junction........................3 miles

Cross Trail Junction to Little Carp River mouth...5.5 miles

Total trail length.................................................11 miles

Cross Trail and Correction Line Trail

These two trails give backpackers access to explore additional sections of the park.

Cross Trail (total length)..........................................................5 miles

Correction Line Trail (total length).........................................3 miles

Bridge over Presque Isle River

Lily Pond Trail

Lily Pond is a small trout lake which can be fished successfully from a boat or other floating device, but is not safe for wading because of a soft bottom. A find stand of virgin pine is near Lily Pond.

Summit Peak Road to Lily Pond.............................3 miles

South Mirror Lake Trail

This is the most direct route to Mirror lake and fine brook trout fishing. The side trip to Summit Peak is one mile long.

Trailhead Parking Lot on Summit Peak Rd to Mirror Lake......2.5 miles

 Summit Peak Tower Trail

This trail provides an opportunity to visit Summit Peak, at1,958 feet, the highest point in the park. A 40-ft. observation tower provides an outstanding view of the park as well as surrounding area. Wisconsin, Minnesota, the Apostle Islands, and Copper Peak are a few of the sights that can be seen on a clear day. A viewing deck on the way up to the summit provides a panorama of the Summit Peak parking area to Summit Peak Tower.

Summit Peak parking area to Summit Peak Tower.........1/2 mile

Cabin on Lake of the Clouds

Beaver Creek Trail

Descending from the Summit Peak parking area and trail head, the Beaver Creek Trail joins the Little Carp River Trail 1.3 miles south of Mirror Lake. Bridging and boardwalk allows the hiker to view and investigate wetlands adjacent to the Little Carp River as it winds through beaver meadows and alder thickets. This trail is great for birdwatchers and other naturalists.

Beaver Creek Trail to Lily Pond Trail........................... 1 mile

Big Carp River Trail

The variety of scenery on this trail beckons hikers. The first two miles parallel the escarpment with many outstanding views. The trail then descends into the Big Carp River Valley following below the slopes of Miscowabic peak and passing by the old Lafayette Mine. Shining Cloud Falls, highest in the park, are about one mile upstream from the mouth. The river offers many turbulent rapids and brook trout fishing.

Highway M-107 to Correction Line Trail..................................5 miles

Correction Line Trail to Cross Trail.......................................3.5 miles

Cross Trail to Big Carp River mouth......................................1/2 mile

Total trail length.........................................................................9 miles 

Sunset over Lake of the Clouds

North Mirror Lake Trail(Middle Map)

This trail crosses the heart of the Park and ends at Mirror Lake. Surrounded by rugged bluffs and magnificent pines, at 1,532 feet, it is the highest lake in the park. Hikers should be in good physical condition to test this trail as most of the southbound route is uphill.

Lake of the Clouds Escarpment to Government Peak Trail....3 miles

Government Peak Trail to Mirror lake Cabins...........................1 mile

Total trail length.............................................................................4 miles

Government Peak Trail

(Middle and East Maps)

The Government Peak Trail is popular with overnight hikers. The trail follows the Carp River inlet for two miles to Trap Falls and then west to Government Peak through fine stands of hardwood and hemlock. At 1,850 feet, Government Peak is the second highest point in the park.

Highway M-107 to the north end of Overlook Trail............1/2 mile

North end of the Overlook trail to Union Spring Trail.......1.5 miles

Union Spring Trail to Lost Lake Trail.....................................1 mile

Lost lake Trail to North Mirror Lake Trail...........................4.5 miles

Total trail length....................................................................7.5 miles

Escarpment Trail

The Escarpment trail may offer the most beautiful scenery in the park. The hiker follows the impressive escarpment skirts over Cloud Peak and Cuyahoga Peak, and descends to the north end of Government Peak Trail. Sheer cliffs and vista of the Lake of the Clouds far below will not be soon forgotten.

Lake of the Clouds to Government Peak Trail & M-107.......4 miles

Mists of Lake of the Clouds

Overlook Trail

This trail offers outstanding virgin timber and many scenic views; a popular side trip from the Government Peak Trail.

Total length (round trip to/from Government Peak Trail).....3 miles

East and West River Trails

These two trails follow the Presque Isle River, the largest and most beautiful of the rivers in the Porcupines. Boardwalk and viewing platforms allow breathtaking views of this river. Spectacular waterfalls, cascades and rapids are but a short walk from the parking area. For your safety, no swimming or wading is permitted in the Presque Isle River. Be very careful when exploring this area. Take children by the hand and do not permit them to hike the area without adult supervision.

South Boundary Rd to Presque Isle River mouth (each way)...1 mile

Lost Lake Trail

Lost Lake is a small beautiful wilderness lake. The trail joins Government Peak Trail for a shortcut from the South Boundary Road to Highway M-107.

South Boundary Road to Lost Lake.........................................2 miles

Lost lake to Government Peak Trail.....................................2.5 miles

Total trail length......................................................................4.5 miles

Big Carp River

Union Spring Trail

The Union Spring is the second largest natural spring in Michigan. From the floating dock, view over 700 gallons of clear water bubble out the ground each minute, a subtle yet fascinating sight.

South Boundary Road to Impoundment..................1.5 miles

Impoundment to Union Spring.................................1/2 mile

Union Spring to Government Peak Trail.................2 miles

Total trail length........................................................................4 miles

Union Mine Trail

The Union Mine Trail is an interesting short hike. it features the Little Union Gorge and history of the Union Mine. Points of interest are marked by interpretive signs.

Total trail length is 4 miles.

Hiking trail at Porcupine Mountains

Visitor Center Nature Trail

(East Map)

The Visitor Center Natural Trail is a loop trail designed to orient new visitors, through interpretive stations, to natural features commonly found in the park.

Total trail length approximately one mile.

Whitetail Path

Whitetail Path is an access trail allowing campers at the Union Bay Campground an opportunity to stretch their legs with a short hike to the Visitor Center.

Consider When Hiking the Porcupine Mountains

Remember when camping out that you take great care of Black Bear in the Porcupine Mountain State Park and secure your backpacks at night to discourage any interested bear from feeding on your food.  Park officials encourage that when camping, hang all food and valuable items on a rope between two trees at least 25-30 ft. above the ground and at least 100 ft. away from your camp.  Do not feed the bears and do not cook food inside your tent.

 It is important in planning your trip to consider at what campgrounds you will wish to camp, how far it will be between campgrounds, the difficulty of the trails that you will need to hike, and just how long you plan on being in the park. Water sources are always a challenge whenever you move away from Lake Superior. You will need a way to purify the water, either boiling the water or using water filters. The better the water filter the easier getting water will be.  Make sure you examine several water filters before you buy one and make sure you understand how to work them.  It will save lots of frustration on the trail.  This is one item you do not want to skimp on.