North Country Trail Association

Superior Shoreline Chapter

Section

Rock River Road in Alger County to the mouth of the Two Hearted River

This geographic region of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan is sparsely populated. With the exception of the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, our trail section sees a paucity of hikers and backpackers. More than 50% of our membership resides more than 200 miles distant. Our emphasis is not, therefore, on monthly meetings, large group work sessions or get-togethers and fundraisers. Rather, our emphasis is on maintaining, through a small group of dedicated trail workers, access to the beauty and power of the big lake, Lake Superior, via a trail on which one’s mind, body and spirit meld with nature, not on a computer screen or by cell phone. This is a trail and experience that one makes personal.

kety DataKey Data

Chapter Trail Section

Munising and West:
One of the most popular sections across the entire NCT is Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Learn more about this National Park and plan your visit at nps.gov/piro. Another very pretty hike can be found starting at Valley Spur within the Hiawatha National Forest.

Drive 4 miles south and west from Munising on M-94 to the Valley Spur Trailhead where ample parking is provided. Go back across M-94. The Trail soon goes downhill and across two plank bridges. It then traverses a series of climbs through beautiful mixed forest, the large fir trees and Canadian Yew being a wonderful part of this section. The Trail passes The Ponds where a campsite with a fire pit can be found. Less than 50 yards beyond the campsite and between the two ponds for which the site is named, there is a critter crossing between the two bodies of water. Time spent here especially in the evening may result in animal sightings. Turtles are often seen on the logs in the pond on the north side of the Trail.

The Trail undulates thereafter for its entire length. Roughly 2.5 miles west of The Ponds after crossing Forest Road 2274, one arrives at the site of a WWII POW camp, Camp AuTrain. There are many remnants of the camp. Continuing on, a section of large deciduous trees with minimal undergrowth can be found, then back into a deeper, beautiful forest including lovely rest areas under large fir trees. At Buck Bay Creek there is a short path along the east side of the creek leading to a beautiful unimproved campsite on the bank of the creek. This campsite is preceded by another approximately 200 yards east that overlooks the creek and this campsite. The next road access is H03 (approximately 4.25 miles), offers another end-point. From H03 to H01 is a pleasant up-and-down trail through mostly deciduous forest with a distance of approximately 4.4 miles. The town of Chatham is a few miles south on H01 and offers an ice cream stand during the summer months. North on H01 is beautiful Lake Superior.

Grand Marais and East:
The west end of our section is approximately 35 miles in length, commencing in northern Luce County and extending to the very wonderful and hiker friendly community of Grand Marais in eastern Alger County. Numerous road crossings make convenient Trail access points. However, it is recommended that one utilize local maps that show road names and numbers.

Starting from Two Hearted River State Forest Campground, the Trail crosses the river by means of a suspension bridge. From this point west to Grand Marais the Trail is relatively flat and generally follows along the bluff overlooking Lake Superior. The first 3 miles west is an interesting hike where Mother Nature in her fury can be witnessed. This area was hit by the 2012 Duck Lake Fire. The hottest point in the fire may be found in these 3 miles. It is in the process of regrowth. The Two Hearted Campground is a nice, no-frills place to spend a few days. Even though the large trees that once populated the Trail are now gone, hiking along the cliff over Lake Superior is awesome. The panoramic views of the Big Lake, as referred to by locals, are showstoppers. Many places exist along the Trail with ready access to the lake. It is an area populated by bears, wolves and the occasional moose. Approximately 17 miles west of the Two Hearted River mouth brings one to Muskallonge State Park, a very hiker friendly park, where the Trail leads directly through the campground before resuming its course along the bluff overlooking the lake. The winter months in this region are often brutal with snow remaining on the Trail into May.

Continuing west to Grand Marais, an additional [approximate] 17 miles, the views of the lake remain unspoiled. Currently, approximately 7 miles west of Muskallonge State Park one fords the Blind Sucker River before continuing on to Grand Marais. The river has a solid bottom and is just over knee-deep. In high water times it can be swift.

The entire shoreline from the Two Hearted to Grand Marais is known as a rock hunter’s paradise with a large display kiosk at the road entrance to Muskallonge State Park. Other than in the immediate area of the Two Hearted River mouth, Muskallonge State Park and where the Trail crosses or is adjacent to the roadway, one is not likely to see another hiker. This area adjacent to the shore is also classified as Critical Dunes where construction activity is strictly limited and regulated. Logging operations are prevalent in several areas along the Trail, all with prior notice by the Michigan DNR to NCTA after both parties weigh the benefits of the proposed operation. The logging is beneficial to the health of the forest.

Trail Town: Grand Marais

Grand Marais is a beautiful, quaint village located on the south shore of Lake Superior at the eastern end of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. It has become a four-season destination for hikers, campers, fishermen, winter sports enthusiasts and those who are looking for an outdoor adventure in a peaceful setting. It is also an official NCTA Trail Town.

Connect and Get Involved

Donate and join the Chapter
Read Chapter newsletters
ssc@northcountrytrail.org
Facebook

Resources

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

Grand Marais: Mouth of the Two Hearted River through Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
Grand Marais sections with chiefs
Grand Marais sections and mileage chart
Munising: Munising Falls to Rock River Road
Munising sections
Munising waypoints
Munising segment brochure
Munising segment coordinates

Chapter Maps and Guidance

View our section of the Trail on the interactive online map
Muskallonge Lake State Park to Tahquamenon Falls brochure map
Munising segment information
Grand Marais segment information

Volunteers

Emergency card

Additional Local Resources

Trail Spotters of Michigan
Upper Peninsula Outfitters
Grand Marais Outfitters
Alger County Transit
Alger County Chamber of Commerce
Grand Marais Chamber of Commerce
Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
State of Michigan topographic maps, Alger County
Munising Visitor Bureau
Munising camping

Local Events.