Michigan is better known for its water features, but there are a few mountains worth climbing in the Mitten State. They aren’t as high or majestic as the snow-covered peaks of the Great Smoky Mountains or the Rocky Mountains, but they do offer outdoor enthusiasts majestic view upon reaching the top.
Where should you go?
Most of Michigan’s mountains are located in the U.P., and that’s where you’ll find Mount Arvon, the highest point in the state at nearly 2,000 feet. A mountain, by definition, is any peak with a local relief higher than 1,000 feet. Located in Baraga County in the Upper Peninsula, it is part of the Huron Mountains. From the top, you can see sparkling Lake Superior. Reaching the area to begin your climb is relatively easy now (not so a few years ago!) but the road is steep and rocky in places. The summit is on a fairly level trail winding about half a mile to the top. Make sure to take a picture next to the blue marker noting that you’ve reached the highest point in Michigan. Mount Curwood, Summit Peak, Grove Hill, Alligator Eye, and Mount Baldhead (all stairs) are also popular choices for hikers. They vary by height and level of challenge so make sure to check all your resources before embarking on a hike, particularly if where you want to go is accessible in the winter.
What should you bring?
Bring along a light backpack to carry some essential items, including a water bottle, snacks, small first aid kit, knife or multi-tool, a compass or GPS, a whistle, flashlight or headlamp, bug repellent, and a map of the area. Don’t depend on your phone to work well in more remote locations, or in the event of it breaking or getting wet. Wear breathable layers so that you can add or remove as needed. Trekking poles can offer additional support. Wear reliable, comfortable hiking shoes that offer ankle support. Be prepared for the weather and check the forecast before you leave; if it’s questionable, save the expedition for another day. Check out additional tips for hiking with kids.
What else can you do to be safe?
Tell someone your plans and leave directions as to where you’re going. It doesn’t need to be someone back at the campsite. It can be a family member in another state. Leave a note with the same information in your RV should the need arise (hopefully not!). Check with the local DNR as to whether there are any safety concerns or things to be aware of in the area you’re heading. For instance, the U.P. has black bears and wolves. Do you know what to do if you encounter one?