Backpacking is similar to hiking, but the duration of backpacking trips are typically multiple days rather than a single day outing. During a trip an individual carries their gear in a backpack that is roughly around 40-70L. The basic gear packed for these trips include shelter, sleeping equipment, food supplies for the duration of the trip, and cookware.

Each year in the spring we have a Learn to Backpack weekend  where those new to backpacking can learn from experienced members in the club.

Need gear? Check out what we have for rent in the gear room.

Popular backpacking loops in Michigan include:

Manistee River Trail : ~23 mile loop
This backpacking trail begins on the 11 mile Manistee River Trail then crosses a suspension bridge and continues down the other side of the river on the North Country Trail.

Jordan River Pathway: ~18.8 miles
The JRP is one of the more difficult routes in lower Michigan. Hike this trail in autumn and you’ll see vast forest overlooks with spectacular fall colors.

North Manitou Island:  16 mile loop
The larger of the pair of islands, this hike covers beautiful beaches, apple orchards, and abandoned homes from the 1800s. It is the most remote area in Michigan’s lower peninsula.

South Manitou Island: 10 mile loop
The south island is smaller and less remote than its sister island. It is home to a variety of wildflowers and some of the largest cedar trees in the world. The island also has a historic lighthouse and a large shipwreck visible from the shoreline.

Waterloo-Pinckney Trail: 36 miles
This route is the closest multi-day hiking trail to the Metro-Detroit area. It is also good tester trip for those new to backpacking.

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore Trail: 42 miles
One of the best scenic trails in Michigan, it is also a portion of the Corth Country Trail. The route follows the shores of Lake Superior from Grand Marais to Munising.

North Country Trail Michigan Section  ~1,100 miles total
An easy weekend trip for those looking to try out backpacking. Popular attractions near the route include Hell, MI and Pictured Rocks.

Extra Resources:


Backpacking Blogs: