Little and Big Carp River Trails

Ontonagon, Michigan 49953

Little and Big Carp River Trails

Little and Big Carp River Trails Professional Review and Guide

"These are hikes along two of Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park's rivers, between uplands and shore. From the trail’s junction with the Lake Superior Trail, hikers will lose elevation as they make the trek to the bed of the Little Carp River. This will be the first of many ups and downs along this trail; the route gains nearly 1,000 feet in elevation from trailhead to trailhead.

Within the next 2 miles hikers will make a number of stream crossings, all without the aid of bridges.About 0.5 mile later, the first of two waterfalls, Explorer Falls, comes into view. The next,Trapper Falls, comes several hundred yards farther down the trail. From the falls, the trail is fairly easy to negotiate and follows the trace of the river. It begins to get a bit steeper as it makes a turn northwest, heading for its terminus at Mirror Lake. Special attractions: Waterfalls, streams, Lake Superior shore. These trails are ideal segments of larger trail loops from shore to uplands, or vice versa."

Little and Big Carp River Trails Reviews

4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars
icon4 Total
The Little Carp River Trail follows its namesake all the way from the South Boundary Road to the shores of Gitchigumi, otherwise called Lake Superior, but this is no lake . . . it's a sea. The trail is demanding on the feet, as there are many roots and, as you get closer to the shore, more rocks, but aside from a few scrambles up steep slopes, not too demanding. The bugs, always a concern during the summer in the UP, were minimal. We encountered a few worn out mosquitoes and deer flies but none of the swarms or biting black flies that can make this trek downright awful. Lots of day hikers and some backpackers making their way toward shore, but none of the camp sites along the trail were taken, so we had our pick of the lot. If you go for the cabins, choose the one at Section 17. It's much more private than the one at Greenstone Falls. Arriving at Gitchigumi we were surprised to find few people. Most of the group camps are just east of the mouth of the Little Carp River at its empties into the Sea of Superior, as I sometimes call it. Overall, a great short backpack (about 7 miles from the trailhead to the shore) along a pristine river with many waterfalls and great wading. Enjoy.
We enjoyed this area, but we surprised at how slow the traveling was. We did the segment from the South Boundry Rd. parking lot to our cabin just past Greenstone Falls and back several times and found it beautful, and fairly quick. The segment from Greenstone Falls to Trappers Falls seemed very long. Lots of steep, but quite short climbs, where your grabbing trees, or sliding down on your butt. Thank goodnes we had trekking poles, they really helped. Also many fallen trees across the trail to climb over. The scenery, the Little Carp River was just beautiful, and when we made it to Trappers falls, we had fun in the river. We saw just a few people along the way, but as the weekend neared, we saw more. The section 17 cabin we stay in was very cool, and far enough from the trail to keep peepers away.

Little and Big Carp River Trails Photos

Help others discover amazing sights!

Trail Information

Nearby City
1,000 feet
Elevation Gain
Trail Type
Easy to Moderate
Skill Level
Best in Fall
Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park
Local Contacts
USGS Thomaston, White Pine, and Carp River quads;
Local Maps