North Country Trail Association


Michigan hosts the most North Country National Scenic Trail miles of all eight states: 1,180. It crosses both peninsulas and the Mackinac Bridge.

Find a unique adventure each day on Michigan’s stretch of North Country Trail, where you can experience a pleasant blend of both urban and rural areas. Trek along the shoreline of colossal Lake Superior. Make your way across quaint farmlands and crunch down tree-lined country roads. Have lunch in a quiet Trail Town, and wander through county parks and state forests. Backpack into remote wilderness. Hike up rolling hills to take in a vista or soak up a sunset, then tramp back down into glacial valleys. Join the crowd during the annual Mackinac Bridge Walk on Labor Day: the only day you can cross the bridge on foot and officially log that five miles of North Country Trail.

The trail traverses a variety of notable land units and features in Michigan, including the Porcupine Mountains; Ottawa, Hiawatha, and Manistee National Forests; Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore; Craig Lake, Tahquamenon Falls, and Straits State Parks; Lake Superior State Forest; the Mackinac Bridge; the Jordan River Valley; and Yankee Springs and Fort Custer Recreation Areas.

Michigan’s North Country Trail is maintained predominantly by volunteers of 12 NCTA Chapters:

The state also hosts 15 official NCTA Trail Towns: Marquette, Grand Marais, St. Ignace, Mackinaw City, Petoskey, Kalkaska, Fife Lake, White Cloud, Lowell, Middleville, Augusta, Battle Creek, Marshall, Albion, and Litchfield.


Additional Information

  • A Recreation Passport is required for entrance into Michigan State Parks and Recreation Areas, as well as state boat launches, state forest campgrounds and state trail parking lots. This does not include federal, local, county, municipal or metropolitan parks or recreation areas. A resident Recreation Passport cannot be purchased online.
  • Michigan state park reservations can be made through
  • There are very long, remote stretches of trail within the Ottawa National Forest. Navigation and terrain can be challenging. Limited restocking opportunities are nearby, so plan accordingly. Backcountry camping permits are required within the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park. In-person check-ins can be completed at designated check-in stations.
  • All drive-in and backcountry permits are required in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore and can only be purchased online at
  • The Eastern Upper Peninsula also hosts remote stretches of trail with limited restocking opportunities. Dispersed camping is allowed in Hiawatha National Forest and Lake Superior State Forest, but please follow the rules and regulations. Designated camping is only available within Tahquamenon Falls State Park.
  • The Mackinac Bridge can only be crossed on foot during the annual Labor Day Bridge Walk. Contact the Bridge Authority if you are in need of vehicle transport across.
  • Dispersed camping is allowed on State Forest land unless posted no camping or if you are within one mile of a designated campground. Michigan DNR camp registration cards are required at campsites.
  • Dispersed primitive camping is allowed in the Manistee National Forest without a permit unless posted as closed or no camping. No camping is allowed within 200 feet of a body of water, except at designated sites.
  • Dogs are not permitted within Fort Custer National Cemetery.

Header photo by Trent Rosenbloom