Trap Hills loop day hike

Why go there? This loop hike features outstanding views, old-growth forest, and high cliffs.

Hike highlights:

  • Spectacular views
  • Some old growth forest
  • Small, pretty stream

Flora / fauna of the area: The forests include northern hardwoods, hemlock, spruce, and fir on sites with average soil moisture.  Dry sites are characterized by thin or no topsoil over rock, and typical trees there are northern red oak and cherry, with a scattering of shrubs such a juniper, with lichens on bare rock. The fauna of the Trap Hills is typical of much of the U.P.  Deer are often abundant, sometimes overly abundant, and usually migrate from the ridges toward Lake Superior in mid-winter.  Other common mammals are coyote, striped skunk, black bear, raccoon, red fox, red squirrel, bobcat, eastern and least chipmunks, fisher, and pine marten.  The remoteness of the area favors a modest concentration of timber wolf, but you will be lucky to see one, or even hear one.  Keep an eye out for tracks, though.  A great diversity of bird life can be found in the Trap Hills in summer.  Warblers are particularly diverse.  In winter, few species remain.

Geology of the area: The geologic history of the Trap hills begins about 1.1 billion years ago, as a great rift opened in the area now home to the Lake Superior basin.  Molten lava flowed from the rift and across the landscape, and streams from surrounding highlands carried sediments into the rift basin.  When the lava cooled and the sediments of sand and cobbles were cemented into rock, they formed layers of basalt, sandstone, and conglomerate, respectively. That the Trap Hills are here today is due largely to the hard, erosion-resistant nature of the basalt and conglomerate, which cap most of the ridges, and are also well-exposed where the ridges are cut by streams to form falls and gorges.

Land ownership: Ottawa National Forest and some private.

Directions to and GPS Coordinates for trailheads:

  • Forest Rd. 326 trailhead: From Bergland, head north on M-64 and then take a right on old M-64 and then another right on FR-326.  The trailhead will be on the right.  GPS Coordinates:  N 46.65422 & W 89.521122.

General route description: Starting at the Forest Road 326 Trailhead, walk east for 1.1 miles on FR 326 to end of road.  Take white-blazed trail south for 1-mileto NCT.  At junction, hike east (optional) along bluff (off-trail) for 200′to former peregrine falcon hacking site and spectacular view.  Take NCT southwest for 2.2 miles and then north back 1.5 miles to the hike’s starting point at FR326.

Trail map: Map: NCTA Map  MI-14

Camping information: There are no developed sites for backcountry tent camping on the NCT; however, there are several sites where hikers have camped along the trail.  Please follow Leave No Trace principles.

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