Hiawatha Shore-to-Shore Chapter

About the Chapter:

Volunteers enjoying a winter group hike.

Our chapter enjoys being out on the trail – working AND hiking. We offer sections of trail for adoption, have a roving crew to take care of the big maintenance and small construction tasks, and hold work weeks and weekends as needed for projects.

We hold monthly hikes to help invite and introduce people to the trail as well as to allow us to enjoy the fruits of our labors on the trail. We hold monthly planning and organizational meetings (usually with a pizza buffet) to help prioritize our projects and share our Trail Tales.

We have volunteers from all over Michigan that help out in many ways – some with trail building tools and others with cameras and computer keyboards. You have never worked so FUN if you have never worked with us. We have a tool that fits your hand. Connect with us using the links below to learn more about upcoming events and how you can get involved.

Connect:

Please contact us to find out about upcoming events and volunteer opportunities:

Maps:

Events:

Click on an event to see more details.

St. Ignace – Trail Town

Mackinac-Bridge-with-kayaker1

Trail Town St. Ignace, your Home Port for exploring the Eastern Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  Your North Country Trail Adventure begins at the St. Ignace Welcome Center as soon you come north over the majestic Mackinac “Mighty Mac” Bridge.

Learn more about the Trail Town of St. Ignace here.

Trail Overview:

The Hiawatha Shore-to-Shore Chapter’s (HSS) portion of the North Country Trail (NCT) begins at the south end of the Mackinac Bridge and encompasses Straits State Park, Saint Ignace (our Trail Town), the Hiawatha National Forest and north to Whitefish Bay. It passes through Tahquamenon Falls State Park before it turns north again to Lake Superior and the mouth of the Two Hearted River.

This portion of the NCT is uniquely composed almost entirely of true foot trail through remote forests free of commercial establishments. You must hike over 80 miles from Saint Ignace before you reach the first restaurant (the Silver Creek Grill and Pub) near Whitefish Bay. The next businesses are 20 and 25 miles up the trail; a summer camp-store at the Lower Tahquamenon Falls, and finally a brewery (Tahquamenon Falls Brewery & Pub) at the Upper Tahquamenon Falls.

winter view of Tahquamenon Falls from the NCT

This Upper Peninsula section of trail features a low population density, few paved road crossings, and several rustic campgrounds. 122 miles of varied topography can be experienced including lakes, streams, ridges, bogs, an outcropping of the Niagara Escarpment, several fixed sand dunes, and more as you cross the Eastern Upper Peninsula. Careful logistical planning is required for longer hikes. There are many access points for day hikes. M123 is your main access highway.

Area Links:

Suggested Hikes:

Show Suggested Hikes

Tahqua Trail Hike

Length: Up to 5 miles

Difficulty: Easy

Why Hike this section: I particularly enjoy the Tahqua Trail area west of the Snug Harbor subdivision.  The Tahquamenon River sparkles in the summer sun, in fall the maples dapple the opposite river bank, and winter often finds ice on the river with patches of open water.  It is always a joy to “discover” the old steel boat.  It provides for wonderful goofy photos to remember your NCT Adventure.
Submitted by Kay Kujawa

Driving Directions: (to get to the trailhead, starting location, etc) There is a trail head and parking lot about 5 miles off M-123 on Tahqua Trail Road. Tahqua Trail Road is the first road (dirt) to the west north of the mouth of the Tahquamenon River near Paradise, Michigan.

Hiking Directions: From the parking lot hike east to follow the NCT along the banks of the Tahquamenon River. The trail loops back to Tahqua Trail Road several times in 5 miles as you hike toward the river mouth and Whitefish Bay.

Niagara Escarpment to Trout Brook Pond

Length: 5 to 6 miles

Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Why Hike this section: The Niagara Escarpment is an interesting geologic site.  A short walk farther up the trail to the east brings the hiker to a glacial debris field.  Turn around and enjoy the Escarpment once more before heading toward H-40.  You will cross East Lake Road twice.  Once back on the east side of East Lake Road you will discover an interesting beaver dam on a short side trail.  The beaver “stacked” large sticks of similar sizes all along the down stream side of the dam.  Farther in the trail crosses the Little Bear River on a forest road and then meanders along the river and continues on the H-40.  You continue on and soon are walking the banks of the Trout Brook Pond.  There is a good camp site as you near the dam.
–Submitted by Stan Kujawa

Driving Directions: (to get to the trailhead, starting location, etc) H-40 runs between Rudyard, MI and Trout Lake, MI. There is a trail head off of H-40 at Trout Brook Pond with a spur trail to the NCT across the dam. The Niagara Escarpment is just south of FS3323 where there is also a parking area. FS3323 is found off East Lake Road south of H-40 and north of the East Lake community.

Hiking Directions: Hike south from the spur trail after crossing the dam at Trout Brook Pond or hike from the Escarpment north as described above.

Lone Pine Road north to Dick Road

Length: 5 miles

Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Why Hike this section: I really enjoyed seeing so many different types of habitat within a short day hike.  From mature forests to open clearings and from marsh to pines, this section has a little bit of everything.  The scenic view overlooking Betchler Lakes is a must see as well.  My absolute favorite part of my hikes through that section have been the seclusion.  While I’ve only hiked it a couple of times thus far, I’ve never seen another person on the trail.  Of course, this isn’t uncommon on many parts of the NCT in the eastern upper peninsula.  As you can see from the picture(s) my Labrador retriever, Fletcher, enjoys this section almost as much as I do.  God bless and happy hiking.

– Submitted by Jameson Olson and his four legged hiking buddy, Fletcher

Driving Directions: Dick Road (FS3139) runs between M-28 west of Soldier Lake Campground and East of Strongs south to H-40 east of Trout Lake and west of Rudyard. Lone Pine Road (FS3141) runs between Dick Road and M-123 north of Trout Lake. Park on Dick Road on the north end of this hike where the NCT crosses or park where the NCT crosses Lone Pine Road west of Dick Road near the Pine River.

Hiking Directions: Hike north from Lone Pine following the NCT to Dick Road or from north to south.

C-500 to Tahquamenon Falls

Length: About 7 miles

Difficulty: Moderate

Why Hike this section: A great wilderness hike that provides a true northern experience. Hike hemlock ridges, northern bogs and marshes, pass a huge beaver dam and view the Upper Tahquamenon Falls before getting sustenance and refreshments at the Tahquamenon Falls Brewery located just off the NCT at the Upper Falls.

Driving Directions: Drive on M-123 west past the entrance to the Upper Tahquamenon Falls to C-500 and drive north to the first crossing of the Little Two Hearted River. Parking along the roadside near the bridge.

Hiking Directions: Hike the NCT from C-500 into Tahquamenon Falls State park until reaching the Upper Tahquamenon Falls. Enjoy all the views!

Brevort Lake Road to Brevort Lake Dam

Length: 4 miles (or 8 if you do an out and back)

Difficulty: Moderate

Why Hike this section: A perfect way to get a taste of the fixed dunes and varied forests located north of Lake Michigan, this hike is a pleasant way to spend a morning or an afternoon. Wonderful views of the Brevort river are found all along this route.

Driving Directions: Take Brevort Lake Road north from US2 (10 miles west of Saint Ignace) to Dam Road, turn left and follow Dam Road to the end and park. There is also parking on the south end of this hike on the east side of Brevort Lake Road on a short dead-end Forest Service Road where the NCT crosses Brevort Lake Road.

Hiking Directions: Hike the NCT north from Brevort Lake Road to the Dam and then turn south to the Dam Road parking lot just before crossing the dam.

Hike Name: Salt Point Road to M-28

Length: 6 miles

Difficulty: Moderately easy

Why Hike this section: It is an absolutely beautiful hike through an occasional tunnel of trees.  The damp earthly smells are wonderful and lift your physical, spiritual, and mental well-being! The forest types change often as you stroll through the immature and mature growth.  Flowering plants decorate the forest floor throughout late spring, summer, and early fall.  Small meadows offer a change of scenery and plant life. There are even a couple of pot hole lakes to view along the way.

Driving Directions: The trail crosses M-28 between Raco and Strongs near Soldier Lake USFS Campground. Salt Point Road runs north out of Strongs and the trail can be accessed as it crosses Salt Point Road as well. If you are parking on the south end, park off the shoulder of the highway.

Hiking Directions: Hike north to south or south to north, both directions hike well. Follow the blue blazes!

Mackinac Bridge to M-28

Length: 68.8 miles

Difficulty: easy to moderate

Why Hike this section: From Terry Cathcart: The trail took me through a variety of forests, often canopied with ground cover of ferns and mosses.  Then there were the wetlands where I welcomed the boardwalks that I presume were built by volunteers.  The trail was easy to follow with the help of the blue blazes.  I kept thinking of Theodore Roosevelt, the President who authorized the creation of the Hiawatha National Forrest and all the forest managers and conservationists and activists over the years who have worked to save a place like this for people like me.  There is much that I could say about my five days of backpacking alone on the NCT.   Two phrases come to mind.  The first is from Psalm 42 and the words deep calls to deep.  And the second is from an essay by Ali Schultz in which she writes of a sense of isolation from an expansive sense of connection to the quiet, profound, and intimate magic of the world around us.  I experienced a profound sense of connection and emersion into this magic.

Driving Directions: Cross the Mackinac Bridge (going north) and turn right to the Michigan Welcome Center. The trail starts on the back corner of the parking lot.

Hiking Directions: Follow the blue blazes to M-28! Enjoy!