Thanks to Robert Baker from outsidepursuits.com for this article
The best hiking routes around Newberry
The village of Newberry sits just 26 miles south of Lake Superior surrounded by thousands of acres of national and state forests, lakes, streams, and wetlands. This enviable position makes it the perfect base for a hiking, fishing, or kayaking vacation in Michigan. If you enjoy beautiful scenery, an abundance of wildlife, and interesting hiking trails, you’ll love Newberry.
Newberry is well known as one of the two gateways into Tahquamenon Falls State Park to the northeast, but there are other great areas to explore that are just as close, such as Seney National Wildlife Refuge to the west, Newberry State Forest Area to the northeast, and Muskallonge Lake State Park to the north. Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore to the northwest, Hiawatha National Forest to the east and west, and Sault Ste. Marie State Forest Area to the east are also in relatively close proximity.
Tahquamenon Falls State Park
Many enthusiastic hikers come to Newberry to access Tahquamenon Falls State Park and its two fantastic waterfalls. You can reach the park by taking the M-123 27½ miles northeast from Newberry. The road access to the park is close to the Lower Falls. There are many trails cutting through the park of differing lengths and levels of difficulty.
The Upper and Lower Tahquamenon Falls Trail is an 11-mile out and back trail that follows the course of the river and enables you to visit both of the famous waterfalls. The Upper Falls is the more impressive of the two waterfalls, but the Lower Falls is popular for swimming during the summer months. In spring, take bug spray for the mosquitos! Watch out for exposed roots that may trip your feet and washed-out bridges. This popular trail usually takes between 5 and 6 hours, allowing for rest breaks and sightseeing.
If you want to explore deeper into the forest, try the Lower Falls to Old Stove section of the North Country Trail. This 5.2-mile point-to-point trail leads you through the forest from the Lower Falls to Old Stove via a picturesque lake. It can get muddy, but the wildlife and peaceful surroundings make it worth the journey.
Seney National Wildlife Refuge
If you’re looking for a short, family hike that you and your whole family can enjoy, head for Seney National Wildlife Refuge. This refuge was created to provide a viable habitat for birds, moose, black bears, wolves, otters, and beavers. Keen bird spotters will be impressed to hear that 211 bird species live in the refuge, including common loons, sandhill cranes, osprey, trumpeter swans, ducks, and bald eagles.
The refuge features many canals, ditches, and artificial ponds originally created in a failed attempt to drain the Great Manistique Swamp. The western side of the refuge contains Strangmoor Bog, which is considered the best example of a sub-arctic patterned bog in the lower 48.
To access this fascinating refuge, take the M77 south from Seney and watch out for the distinctive buildings of the Wigwams Rest Area on the right. Built in 1937, this historic shelter consists of two conical structures that resemble wigwams joined by a 30-foot roof.
From the rest area, you can enjoy the short S Show Pool Loop Trail around the S Show Pool or follow the Wigwam Connector Trail west until you arrive at I Pool, around which you can follow the 1½-mile Pine Ridge Nature Trail (I Loop Trail).
Newberry State Forest Area
North of Newberry, you’ll find the Newberry State Forest Area. You can reach the park on the same road as Tahquamenon State Park, but it’s only 9½ miles from the village center. This is a picturesque area comprising of forest, waterfalls, ample wildlife, and a fishing lake.
To the north of the forest area is the Tahquamenon Logging Museum dedicated to the history of lumberjacks in this region. As well as historic buildings and interesting exhibitions, the museum features a peaceful nature trail suitable for the whole family. This nature trail takes you through part of the Tahquamenon Forest and along the banks of the Tahquamenon River. Watch out for ducks, blue herons, and other birds and wildlife.
Muskallonge Lake State Park
The forested area between Muskallonge Lake and Lake Superior is a popular spot for locals to commune with nature. The North Country Trail from New York to North Dakota crosses through the park and is linked to its many campsites by short feeder trails. In winter, this park is also popular for cross-country skiing and snowmobiling.
Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
This scenic area is a little further from Newberry than the other trails, but the picturesque cliffs are worth the 50½-mile drive to the northwest. The multicolored cliffs here are spectacular, and there are also unique sandstone formations, like Chapel Rock and Miners Castle. Twelvemile Beach Trail takes you through a beautiful birch forest.
You can explore this breathtaking area by following the hiking trails along the top of the cliffs or by kayaking along the shore to gain a different perspective. The best way to explore this area is with an inflatable kayak that you can carry in your backpack. This enables you to hike to the best viewpoints to admire the cliffs from land and also to kayak out onto the lake for a better view when you get there.
Hiawatha National Forest
Hiawatha National Forest covers much of the Upper Peninsula and is divided into the Eastside and the Westside. There are many hiking trails within the forest, some close to Newberry. For example, the trailhead for the Grand Island Loop near Munising is reached via the Grand Island Ferry 64 miles west of Newberry.
Grand Island is a National Recreation Area in Lake Superior with a unique ecology determined by its position within the lake and its sandstone geology. The Grand Island Loop is a challenging 21.2-mile loop trail exploring the island’s glacier-cut shoreline and a picturesque lake.
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