The variation in Michigan scenery makes for a unique hiking experience in which to explore unchartered territory. Many hikers choose Michigan due to the opportunity to experience something new with every step. Water, sand, rocks and forest make up the significant foundation for hiking in Michigan.
There are numerous types of hiking trails in Michigan, and some that combine features of the others. The most popular is the wooded terrain that is found throughout the state; its bed is composed of dirt, wood chips and small rocks. Wetland trails are also popular in Michigan, winding through and around small river beds and swampy and marshy areas, as well as over logs and large rocks. Seashore trails are the most prevalent in the state, and consist of grassy, sandy, winding trails that follow the shoreline.. Rock trails are common in Michigan, and most provide breathtaking scenery of the Great Lakes, as well as the dense forests of the Upper Peninsula.
Wild birds, moose, black bear, deer and wolves are prevalent in most areas in northern Michigan; while hiking, one can experience firsthand these animals in their natural habitat. The changing of the leaves in the fall brings splashes of red, orange and burgundy to the trees of the state; in the spring, brightly colored blossoms adorn the trails and the green landscape.
The variation in Michigan's terrain and landscape has allowed for the formation of so many of its winding trails. Michigan is unique in being formed by two peninsulas, the upper and lower, which are connected by the 5-mile Mackinac Bridge. The Mackinac area (as well as the bridge itself) is a popular hiking destination. Michigan is surrounded by the Great Lakes--except for the southern portion of the lower peninsula--which allows for thousands of miles of rivers and tributaries to flow into the landscape, making it a hiker's oasis. Deep pine forests are common; most prevalent in the upper peninsula, they afford perfect hiking trips any time of the year. The small-hilled, almost mountainous terrain made up of limestone and sandstone makes for challenging hiking trails throughout portions of upper Michigan. The erosion caused by wind, rain and ice has chipped away at much of the rock-defining small cliffs and rocky terrain that are sought after by hikers who visit the upper peninsula--particularly the Porcupine Mountains.
When hiking in Michigan, use proper hiking gear--including backpacks and boots--and take food and first-aid supplies. Michigan's weather is unpredictable, and can vary from frigid to humid temperatures very quickly. Proper hiking attire should be able to withstand the drastic climate changes.