North Country Trail Association

Marquette Area Chapter


Long Lake west of Craig Lake State Park to Rock River Road in Alger County

The Marquette Area Chapter, the first chartered Chapter of the NCTA, is located in the central upper peninsula (UP) of Michigan. Marquette, an official NCTA Trail Town and largest city in the UP, serves as the Chapter’s base. For hikers heading west, Marquette is the last town the Trail travels through for about 200 miles, making it an essential stopping point for resupply. Our Chapter holds three general membership meetings per year with varied topics of interest to our members. Other activities include periodic hikes and snowshoes, along with events celebrating National Trails Day in June and the North Country National Scenic Trail Day / National Public Lands Day in September. Throughout the hiking season, our Trail Crew and Trail Adopters schedule multiple days to maintain the Trail each week. We welcome one and all to attend and participate in our Chapter activities! Connect with us and learn more about our upcoming events.

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Warning: As of 2023, Craig Lake State Park backcountry campsites will be by reservation only. Camping season runs from May 20 through November 1. Reservations for next year will become available in late November. All overnight backpackers will be required to make a backcountry reservation for a specific campsite. Dispersed camping is not allowed. Long distance NCNST hikers can call the Van Riper State Park Campground Office at 906-339-4461 prior to their hike to inform the DNR that they are traveling through, and DNR staff can check them in. Hikers will be allowed to print reservation papers and have them available should a backcountry ranger ask to see them.

Chapter Trail Section

The Marquette Area Chapter begins at the Long Lake Outlet 1.1 miles west of Craig Lake State Park in eastern Baraga County, travels across Marquette County - the largest county in the state - and ends at Rock River Road in western Alger County for a total distance of 120 miles. Along the way are some great attractions, some requiring the hiker to use a spur trail to access: Rock River Falls, Laughing Whitefish Falls, Lakenenland Junkyard Sculpture Park, Lake LaVasseur, the Lake Superior Shoreline, the City of Marquette, the Dead River Storage Basin, Hogback Mountain, Sugarloaf Mountain, more Lake Superior shoreline at Wetmore Landing and Little Presque Isle Recreation areas, the Elliott Donnelley Wilderness, the Little Garlic Falls, unnamed falls on the Little Garlic River, unnamed falls on the Dead River, the McCormick Wilderness, and Craig Lake State Park, Michigan’s most remote state park. Much of our trail is remote and rugged so if you are searching for solitude: Head southeast of Mangum Road and hike east, or head west of County Road 510 and hike west. If you prefer more traveled trail, hike between those two locations.

Trail Town: Marquette

Marquette is a historic city nestled on the shore of Lake Superior, one of the world’s largest freshwater lakes. The community has an outdoor adventure vibe, with many breweries, coffee shops, and restaurants for recharging after hiking the North Country Trail. The city of Marquette is pleased to be named an NCTA Trail Town and the moniker is certainly appropriate. In addition to the North Country Trail, the city includes access points to the Iron Ore Heritage Trail, the Noquemanon Trail Network, the Hiawatha Water Trail, as well as the City of Marquette’s Multi-Use Pathway.

Connect and Get Involved

Join the Chapter


Use the Report Trail Condition form to alert NCTA and the Chapter to poor trail conditions. Visit the Trail Alerts page while planning your adventure.

Suggested Hikes

The Chapter has divided its NCNST section into 32 segments, most of which can be accessed on both ends via high-clearance vehicles. View all segments in more detail here. The "Read Me First" file should be read for instructions on how to use the maps in the segment guides. Some favorites include:

Segment 4, Rumely Road to Laughing Whitefish Falls Spur Trail: 2 miles on the NCNST and 2.3 miles on spur trail. Moderate with several waterfalls. Parking at Rumely Road or at Laughing Whitefish Falls State Park on Sundell Road.

Segment 8, Railroad Grade near Sand River Road to Kawbawgam Pocket Park: 4 miles. Railroad grade is 3 miles west of Sand River Road. Gently rolling sand hills follow Lake LaVasseur for approximately 1 mile. Lake LaVasseur has hosted an eagle’s nest in years past and always hosts a variety of waterfowl and wetlands plant species.

Segment 10, Welcome Center to Hawley Street: 6 miles, easy. Flat-grade walking all along the shore of Lake Superior and through downtown Marquette. Fully accessible trail on Marquette’s Multi-Use Pathway.

Segment 16, Wetmore Landing to Little Presque Isle Point: 1.6 miles, easy to moderate. Beautiful Lake Superior shoreline, sometimes along the beach and at other places high above on cliffs overlooking the lake. Two sets of steps lead to the cliff portion. This was featured in Ron Strickland’s The North Country Trail: The Best Walks, Hikes, and Backpacking Trips on America’s Longest National Scenic Trail.

Segment 17, Little Presque Isle Point to Echo Lake Road: 3 miles. Sandy trail with a large portion through tall red pines along the Lake Superior shoreline. Eventually turns away from the shore and heads west through mixed hardwoods. Segments 15 and 16 together were featured in Ron Strickland’s The North Country Trail: The Best Walks, Hikes, and Backpacking Trips on America’s Longest National Scenic Trail.

Segment 27, East of McCormick to Peshekee River: 6.8 miles, rugged. This segment is not for the faint of heart. As a national Wilderness Area, there are no blazes through the McCormick but if you enjoy remote, rugged landscapes, this is the segment to hike. Unique flora can be found here so keep your eyes open for Rock Tripe, Lungwort Lichen and more. Rock Tripe and Lungwort Lichen are sensitive to air pollution so when found you know the air is healthy.

Chapter Maps and Guidance

View our section of the Trail on the interactive online map
Trail Segment Guide, Updated 2023 (The "Read Me First" file should be read for instructions on how to use the maps in the segment guides.)

Additional Local Resources

Michigan DNR Camping and Lodging
Travel Marquette
Upper Peninsula Travel and Recreation Association