Popular Michigan Trail is Now One of the Newest National Parks

Popular Michigan Trail is Now One of the Newest National Parks

Black River Suspension Bridge NCT

The North Country Trail is one of the longest trails in the United States, passing through eight states as it covers 4,800 miles. Close to 1150 miles of the trail passes through Michigan, spanning the entire Upper Peninsula then crossing the Mackinac Bridge and continuing through the Lower Peninsula to the Ohio border. We’ve enjoyed exploring segments of the North Country Trail for years so it was great news to hear that the trail has now achieved National Park status! Three trails (North Country, Ice Age, New England) were announced asĀ newest national parksĀ and today we’ll take a look at what this new designation means for one of the most popular trails in Michigan.

St. Ignace Boardwalk North Country Trail

The North Country Trail has been around since 1980 and passes through North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, and Vermont. Before this recent update it had National Scenic Trail designation and most of the work on the trail (and funding) came from the North Country Trail Association and its member organizations. The new national park should open up many doors for increased funding and project support in the coming years. While many miles of the trail (somewhere around 3,200) are complete there are still sections of the trail that follow roadways or need a better route to avoid private property. The upgrade to national park status is a huge win for this trail and as a result, a huge win for Michigan residents that enjoy using it.

Pictured Rocks Day Hikes Michigan

The North Country Trail Association headquarters can be found in downtown Lowell, Michigan. Lowell is one of the many Michigan towns designated as a “trail town.” Other Michigan “trail towns” include Middleville, Marquette, Grand Marais, White Cloud, Kalkaska, Albion, Marshall, Battle Creek, Augusta, Litchfield, Fife Lake, Petoskey, Mackinaw City, and St. Ignace. The North Country Trail goes through all three national forests in Michigan and also passes through many of our state parks.

Michigan Photos 2020 Okundekun Falls Reflection

Some of our favorite segments of the North Country Trail are Tahquamenon Falls State Park, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, the Fred Meijer White Pine Trail, the Black River Scenic Byway, Lowell, O-kun-de-kun Falls, and Marquette. The NCTA introduced the Hike 100 Challenge in 2016 to encourage everyone to get out and hike 100 miles on the trail throughout the year and we have used this as an added reason to get out and explore new segments of the trail in Michigan. We couldn’t be more excited about Michigan’s newest national park!